Spotlight and Drive-In Films For BendFilm 2020

BendFilm Announces Spotlight, Local Focus Features and Drive-in Screenings For the 17th Annual BendFilm Festival Set To Run October 8 – 25, 2020

‘Coming Clean’ By Two-Time Sundance Award Winning Director Ondi Timoner Selected at Closing Night Film

Bend, OR – BendFilm announced 17 new films to the lineup for the 17th annual BendFilm Festival running virtually and at drive-in screenings October 8 – 25, 2020.  The films are available to browse in the BendFilm Drive-In Schedule and the Virtual Festival Cinema.  BendFilm announced previously the films in competition, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck as First Features Honorees, and an open call for a womxn BIPOC Filmmaker Grant.


Erik Jambor, BendFilm Head of Festival Programming, said, “Drive-in screenings are a perfect addition to this year’s Festival and we are thrilled to present a wide variety of crowd-pleasers, documentaries, comedies and late-night favorites to watch with your friends out under the stars.  The line up as a whole showcases a diverse set of stories that will spark conversation and provide audiences a much needed opportunity to connect, explore and escape.”  




Coming Clean (USA) | directed by Ondi Timoner 
An examination of America’s opioid crisis through the eyes of the recovering addicts and political leaders on the frontlines. Closing Night Film


CIRCA 1968: Rock and roll musician Chuck Berry does the splits as he plays his Gibson hollowbody electric guitar in circa 1968. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Celebrate the opening night of our reimagined and most unconventional festival yet live at the
BendFilm Drive-In or choose between selections in the Virtual Festival Cinema available to stream from home. Whether you watch this new rock ‘n’ roll documentary in your car at the drive-in or tune in from the couch, make plans to dance in your living room starting at 10 pm PST when DJ G Money spins up some smooth grooves at our Opening Night After Party!


Chuck Berry (USA) | directed by Jon Brewer
Central Oregon Premiere
Chuck Berry, the absolute instigator of Rock ‘n’ Roll, is truly revealed with exclusive access to his family, friends, famous fans and music icons he inspired, including John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, and Keith Richards. Opening Night Film



The film in this category was written and directed by Eliab Rice who is a Central Oregon Community College student and Prineville resident. He began filming at the age of 18 with his friends in Prineville and surrounding Central Oregon locations. 

The Younger and the Last of the Vengeants (USA) | directed by Eliab Rice
World Premiere
A group of aspiring wizards try to save their town from an inter-dimensional vampire. 



After Selma (USA) | directed by Loki Mulholland
Northwest Premiere
A dive into the history of voter suppression and the need for us to challenge it in order to preserve our democracy and equality for all.

Ahead of the Curve (USA) | directed by Jen Rainin
Oregon Premiere
A look at the power of lesbian visibility and community from the early ‘90s to the present day through the story of Franco Stevens’s founding of Curve, the best-selling lesbian magazine.

American Reject (USA) | directed by Marlo Hunter
Oregon Premiere
The most recent reject from America’s hottest singing competition, Pop Star Now!, is sent back to her hometown to move back in with her mother and the simple life she left behind. 

I Will Make You Mine (USA) | directed by Lynn Chen
Northwest Premiere
Three women wrestle with life’s difficulties while confronting their past relationships with the same man.

Never Too Late: The Doc Severinsen Story (USA) | directed by Kevin S. Bright & Jeff Consiglio
Northwest Premiere
After three decades as the colorful bandleader on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, master trumpeter Doc Severinsen defies nature with a relentless schedule of touring, teaching and performing into his nineties. 

Playing For Keeps (USA) | directed by James Redford

Northwest Premiere
An examination of the importance of play and downtime for all of us – children, adults, seniors, and animals.


Billie (USA) | directed by James Erskine

Oregon Premiere
Crafted from extraordinary unheard interviews, and restoring key performances into color for the first time, BILLIE is the story of the singer who changed the face of American music, and the journalist who died trying to tell it.


Collective (Romania) | directed by dir. Alexander Nanau

Central Oregon Premiere

A crack team of investigators at the Romanian newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor try to uncover a vast health-care fraud that enriched moguls and politicians and led to the deaths of innocent citizens.


The Donut King (USA) | directed by Alice Gu
Oregon Premiere

The rags to riches story of a refugee escaping Cambodia, arriving in America in 1975, and building an unlikely multi-million dollar empire baking America’s favorite pastry: the donut.


Chuck Berry (USA) | directed by Jon Brewer
Central Oregon Premiere
Chuck Berry, the absolute instigator of Rock ‘n’ Roll, is truly revealed with exclusive access to his family, friends, famous fans and music icons he inspired, including John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, and Keith Richards. Closing Night Film


Dead (New Zealand) | directed by Hayden J. Weal
Oregon Premiere
A critical ghost cop and a directionless stoner battle their differences while working together to solve a mystery that will save lives… and deaths.


Golden Arm (USA) | directed by Maureen Bharoocha
West Coast Premiere
A wimpy baker gets roped into the world of ladies arm wrestling by her truck-driving best friend.


Jimmy Carter: Rock ‘n’ Roll President (USA) | directed by Mary Wharton

Oregon Premiere
The mostly forgotten story of how Jimmy Carter, a lover of all types of music, forged a tight bond with musicians Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan, and others. Low on campaign funds and lacking in name recognition, Carter relied on support from these artists to give him a crucial boost in the Democratic primaries.


The Planters (USA) | directed by Alexandra Kotcheff & Hannah Leder
Oregon Premiere
Awkward telemarketer Martha Plant lives a lonely existence burying treasure and eating split pea soup. When she takes in a vagrant with multiple personalities, she discovers having three friends in one may be more than she can handle.


Some Kind of Heaven (USA) | directed by Lance Oppenheim  

Oregon Premiere
Behind the gates of a palm tree-lined fantasyland, four residents of America’s largest retirement community, The Villages, FL, strive to find solace and meaning.


The Younger and the Last of the Vengeants (USA) directed by Eliab Rice
World Premiere
In this LOCAL FOCUS feature, a group of aspiring wizards tries to save their town from an inter-dimensional vampire.



About BendFilm:
BendFilm hosts an annual independent film festival, year-round film exhibitions and programs, and is the proud owner of the Tin Pan Theater – a boutique arthouse cinema located in downtown Bend’s Tin Pan Alley. The organization is designed to support and nourish filmmakers and enrich the cultural life of Central Oregon while also providing an economic benefit to the region. Celebrating its 17th year, BendFilm is proud to bring diverse voices and visions to the Bend community. The BendFilm Festival runs every October in Bend, Oregon. Make plans to join us October 8-25, 2020 for virtual and drive-in cinema, virtual filmmaker conversations and more. Bend is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, foodies, beer lovers and stunning natural scenery. BendFilm is made possible by a dedicated crew of volunteers and generous donors, members and sponsors. For more information, call (541) 388-3378 or visit Connect with BendFilm on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Feature Films In Competition for BendFilm 2020

17th Annual BendFilm Festival Set To Run October 8 – 25, 2020

BendFilm Will Present More Than 100 Independent Films Available to Stream, Drive-In Screenings and Virtual Filmmaker Discussions  


Bend, OR – BendFilm announced 26 feature films selected to screen in competition at the 17th annual BendFilm Festival running October 8 – 25, 2020.  BendFilm will continue its filmmaker-focused efforts to award over $12,000 in prizes directly to independent filmmakers in these competition categories including $5,000 for Best Of Show. 


The films are available to browse in the BendFilm virtual Festival cinema now. Passes are on sale now and individual tickets for drive-ins and virtual screenings go on sale September 25 when the schedule is live. 


BendFilm, which has been a mainstay on Movie Maker Magazine’s Top 25 Coolest Festivals in the World and Top Festivals Worth The Entry Fee will present a reimagined format with virtual screenings, drive-in movies, remote filmmaker conversations, virtual mentor sessions, virtual happy hours and film discussions among attendees. While the Festival will look different from past years, BendFilm continues to believe strongly in the power of film to entertain, foster connection, build empathy and spark crucial conversations. 


Todd Looby, Director of BendFilm, said, “This year’s festival will focus on connection given where we are at this moment in time. While the Festival will look different this year, we will now have the opportunity to grow our community far beyond the boundaries of Central Oregon where we invite people all over the world to celebrate these films and brave filmmakers.  We look forward to growing and strengthening our community through our drive-ins and virtual platform next month.”


Erik Jambor, BendFilm Head Programmer, said, “This year’s lineup showcases insightful, entertaining and remarkable stories that are bound to surprise audiences.  I look forward to connecting this year’s class of filmmakers with audiences through virtual Q&A sessions to discuss ideas, cultivate creativity and consider different points of view.”


Previously announced, First Feature honorees include Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, and Andrew Bujalski who will share their filmmaking journeys with festival audiences. Submissions are now open for a grant offering $7,500 to a BIPOC filmmaker which will be given out after a live pitch at the Festival. 







Black Conflux (Canada) | directed by Nicole Dorsey 

Northwest Premiere 

The seemingly separate lives of an anxious, disillusioned teen girl and a troubled, alienated man converge fatefully in this haunting exploration of womanhood, isolation and toxic masculinity, set in 1980s Newfoundland.


Freeland (USA) | directed by Mario Furlon, Kate McLean 

Northwest Premiere

An aging pot farmer suddenly finds her world shattered as she races to bring in what could be her final harvest, fighting against the threat of eviction as the impact of the legalization of the cannabis industry rapidly destroys her idyllic way of life.


Fully Realized Humans (USA)  | directed by Joshua Leonard 

Northwest Premiere

A month before the birth of their first child, Jackie and Elliot embark on a madcap mission of self-discovery in an attempt to eradicate the inherited dysfunction of their own upbringings.


Materna (USA) | directed by David Gutnik

West Coast Premiere

A closely observed psychological portrait of four women, whose lives are bound together by an incident on the New York City subway.


Milkwater (USA) | directed by Morgan Ingari
Northwest Premiere
Milo rashly decides to become a surrogate and egg donor for an older gay man she meets in a bar.


Our Own (Canada) | directed by Jeanne Leblanc
Oregon Premiere
A teenage girl in a small town in Quebec sets off a local scandal when she gets pregnant.


Rotten Ears (Poland) | directed by Piotr Dylewski
Northwest Premiere

A young couple face their deepest fears under the supervision of an unconventional therapist whose healing plan gets out of control.


Woman of the Photographs (Japan) | directed by Takeshi Kushida
Northwest Premiere
A misogynist photographer discovers the joy of loving a woman by using his photographic retouching skills to help her with her self-identity and self-esteem.





Can You Hear Us Now? (USA) | directed by Jim Cricchi
West Coast Premiere
CAN YOU HEAR US NOW? unravels the ways that years of one-party rule have reshaped democracy in Wisconsin, a state long known for its progressive history.


Feather and Pine (USA) | directed by Michael James Beck and Star Rosencrans
Oregon Premiere
A Northern California logging community transitions to a new generation in the wake of The Great Recession.


Film About a Father Who (USA) | directed by Lynne Sachs
West Coast Premiere
From 1984 and 2019, filmmaker Lynne Sachs shot 8mm and 16mm film, videotape and digital images of her father, a bon vivant and pioneering businessman from Park City, Utah. FILM ABOUT A FATHER WHO is her attempt to understand the web that connects a child to her parent and a sister to her siblings. 


Finding Yingying (USA) | directed by Jiayan “Jenny” Shi
Oregon Premiere
A Chinese family travels to the U.S. for the first time to look for their daughter, an international student who vanished from a university campus.


Los Hermanos/The Brothers (USA) | directed by Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider
Oregon Premiere
Separated by geopolitics, united by music, two Cuban brothers long to collaborate. Tracking their parallel lives, LOS HERMANOS/THE BROTHERS is a nuanced, intensely moving view of nations long estranged, through the lens of music and family.  


Personhood (USA) | directed by Jo Ardinger
Oregon Premiere
PERSONHOOD explores the criminalization of pregnant women as seen through the eyes of a young mother swept up in dangerous new laws.


Revival (USA) | directed by Josefina Rotman Lyons
Central Oregon Premiere
A meditation on aging, dance, and community, the film follows four legendary older choreographers as they strive to create dances with New York City seniors.


Sapelo (Switzerland) | directed by Nick Brandestini
West Coast Premiere

A journey within a unique American island to tell the story of its matriarchal griot, Cornelia Walker Bailey, and her adopted sons, coming-of-age in the last remaining enclave of the Saltwater Geechee people.


Somewhere With No Bridges (USA) | directed by Charles Frank

West Coast Premiere

Twenty years after a beloved local fisherman goes missing off the shores of Martha’s Vineyard, a distant cousin locates his kind, indelible spirit in the stories of family, friends, and the sweeping sea which has defined their lives. 


This is Tim: A Musical Life (USA) | directed by Tiffany Ellis
Central Oregon Premiere

The artistic journey of Oregon Music Hall of Fame guitarist Tim Ellis and his choices when faced with every artist’s dilemma: a life on the road, on stage and in the spotlight; or a life at home, raising a young and growing family. 





Cholitas (Spain) | directed by Jaime Murciego and Pablo Iraburu
Northwest Premiere
Five Bolivian indigenous women are involved in a unique expedition. As a symbol of liberation and empowerment, they propose to climb the highest mountain in America, The Aconcagua.


Spawning Grounds (USA) | directed by Nils Cowan 

Oregon Premiere

 In an effort to save a rare Native salmon, a community of scientists, landowners, elected officials and Tribal leaders bands together around science and Indigenous knowledge.


Warrior Women (USA) | directed by Christina D. King and Elizabeth A. Castle
The story of mothers and daughters fighting for indigenous rights in the American Indian Movement of the 1970s.





The Falconer (USA) | directed by Annie Kaempfer
Oregon Premiere
Rodney Stotts is on a mission to build a sanctuary for injured birds of prey. A falconer guided by the healing power of nature, Rodney becomes the unlikely hero of a new environmental movement in his stressed Washington DC community.


A Moment in the Sun (USA) | directed by Leslie Ortabasi and Oktay Ortabasi
US Premiere
The epic journey of the solar tandem bicycle and the solar pioneers who raced it.


Samuel Herbert Boardman, The Father of Oregon State Parks (USA) | directed by Kevin Clark
World Premiere

Through strength of will and perseverance, Samuel Herbert Boardman built one of the best state park systems in the country as the first superintendent of state parks in Oregon.


Spawning Grounds (USA) | directed by Nils Cowan 

Oregon Premiere

In an effort to save a rare Native salmon, a community of scientists, landowners, elected officials and Tribal leaders band together around science and Indigenous knowledge.


With Spirit (USA) | directed by Scott Almendinger McGrath 

Festival Premiere
After experiencing loss, new mother and accomplished endurance athlete Chelsey Magness races through grief at the edge of the world.


Wolves Return (Switzerland) | directed by Thomas Horat 

US Premiere

The wolf polarizes and fascinates. 150 years after the wolf was wiped out of Central Europe, it is inexorably conquering its place. 


New and Encore Screenings at the Pop Up Drive-In

2020 BendFilm Pop Up Drive In photo captured by Charlie Thiel

Diverse & Eclectic Drive-In LineUp Includes an Encore Screening of ‘The Last Blockbuster’ and a local premiere of the Oregon-shot ‘The Dark Divide’ by Tom Putnam

Tickets are On Sale Now at

Bend, OR – BendFilm announced today a new lineup full of creative ways to see films outside in the comfort of a car. Films in the lineup celebrate throwback classics, the natural world, Black lives, and more. The Tin Pan Alley outdoor film screening will also continue through September on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. In addition to the in-person screenings, BendFilm will continue to offer virtual rentals of new release films through the Tin Pan Theater.  New titles are listed each week at


Todd Looby, BendFilm Executive Director, said, “We truly didn’t know that people would respond to the drive-in in the way they are. It is so inspiring to see the desire for people to come together in a safe way. We are in a time filled with a lot of uncertainty and anxiety and we need each other to get through it and work for the change that’s needed. We hope these additional screenings provide a release and can help us in some way work for a way forward.”


While the screenings are outdoors, BendFilm kindly requests that all guests continue to practice responsible physical distancing and stay in or next to your car during the film.  Please wear a mask if you need to exit your seat or car.


2020 BendFilm Pop-Up Drive-In Movies:

Come celebrate summer with your friends at a safe physical distance and enjoy films uniquely suited for outdoor viewing from the comforts of your car at the BendFilm Pop-Up Drive-In.  The drive-in is hosted at the corner of Shevlin-Hixon and Columbia near the Deschutes Brewery Warehouse. Gates will open at 6:30 PM and films will start just after dusk or roughly 8:00 PM.  Tickets can be purchased on


RAD directed by Hal Needham

Friday, September 4 

RAD is the story of a bicycle-motocrosser (Bill Allen) as he tries to enter a corrupt promoter’s nationally televised cash-prize race.  Hal Brett Needham was a legendary American stuntman, film director, actor and writer. He worked as a stunt performer on more than 30 films, eventually earning the status as Hollywood’s highest paid stuntman. In his biography, he boasted that he “broke 56 bones, my back twice, punctured a lung and knocked out a few teeth.” Best known for his frequent collaborations with actor Burt Reynolds, such as Smokey and the Bandit, Hooper, The Cannonball Run and Stroker Ace, Hal branched out beyond stunt performing. He moved on to direct films that involved action, risk, and fast cars. In 2012, Needham was awarded a Governor’s Award by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, where he was introduced by Quentin Tarantino. While accepting his trophy, he told the audience, “You know, you’re looking at the luckiest man alive. And lucky to be alive.” 


The Muppet Movie (1979) directed by James Frawley

Saturday, September 5 

After Kermit the Frog decides to pursue a movie career, he starts his cross-country trip from Florida to California. Along the way, he meets and befriends Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and rock musicians Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. When Kermit is offered a job by Doc Hopper (Charles Durning) to advertise the fried frog legs at his restaurant chain, Kermit turns Hopper down. However, Hopper refuses to relent and pursues Kermit and his companions to a final showdown.


The Last Blockbuster directed by Taylor Morden and Zeke Kamm

Friday, September 11 

The Last Blockbuster is a feature length documentary film about the rise and fall of Blockbuster video and how one small town store managed to outlast a corporate giant.  

Come see the film that celebrates Bend’s most recent claim to fame and our wonderful neighbor, Sandi Harding, who is the heart behind it all!


I Am Not Your Negro directed by Raoul Peck

Saturday, September 12

Writer James Baldwin tells the story of race in modern America with his unfinished novel, Remember This House.
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King


The Dark Divide directed by Tom Putnam

Thursday, September 17

Based on the story of renowned butterfly expert Robert Pyle (David Cross) who embarked on a life-changing trek through one of America’s most important unprotected wildlands in the summer of 1995.
Cast: Debra Messing, David Cross, David Koechner

John Lewis: Good Trouble directed by Raoul Peck

Friday, September 18

The film explores the Georgia representative’s 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health care reform, and immigration. Director: Dawn Porter | Cast: Bill Clinton, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Hillary Clinton and others.

Proceeds from this screening go to support The Father’s Group. Please bring a backpack to the screening to donate to a student in need and support the Father’s Group’s efforts to help underserved children succeed in school. 

The Father’s Group was founded to build a strong community, implement cultural change, provide educational leadership, and assist families to overcome barriers. Their goal is to teach our children how to become productive citizens and a better society as a whole. Learn more:


The 2020 BendFilm Pop-Up Drive-In Series is presented in collaboration with Lay It Out Events,  Presenting Sponsor Director’s Mortgage, Hydroflask, Combined Communications, Garner Group, Home Systems Solutions, Peak Transportation, Sounds Fast, Subaru of Bend and Top Shelf Medicine.

First Feature Honorees for 17th Annual BendFilm Festival


Honorees Include Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, and Andrew Bujalski Who Showcase A Wide Range of Styles & Career Paths   

Expanded Festival Dates: 17th Annual BendFilm Festival Set To Run October 8 – 25, 2020

BendFilm announced today the artists selected to share their experience and help mentor emerging filmmakers breaking into the industry as part of BendFilm’s First Features during the 17th annual BendFilm Festival. Honorees include: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, and Andrew Bujalski. BendFilm will host the 17th annual BendFilm Festival with a reimagined format with a longer virtual viewing window, drive-in screenings and more chances to celebrate the power of independent film.

Erik Jambor, Head of Festival Programming, BendFilm, said, “From mumblecore to Marvel movies, this class of First Feature honorees is innovative and distinct. With the expanded First Features program we are excited to showcase a wide range of career paths.  We are thrilled to recognize their contributions to independent film and learn more about how they have each paved their own filmmaking journey.”

First Feature Honorees:

Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck pose for a portrait for Captain Marvel in Beverly Hills, California , U.S. February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Kyle Grillot

Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden:

Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden recently co-wrote and directed CAPTAIN MARVEL. Anna Boden has strong roots in independent film and is the first woman to helm a live-action film that grossed over 1 billion dollars.

In 2006, Fleck and Boden wrote, produced, directed, and edited the feature film HALF NELSON starring Ryan Gosling, who received his first Academy Award® nomination and Spirit Award win for his performance. The film also won Movie of the Year at the AFI Awards, received Spirit Award nominations for Best Screenplay, Director, and Feature Film, and Fleck won Best Director at several regional festivals and critics group awards including the Gotham Awards, Boston Society of Film Critics’, New York Film Critics Circle and the Philadelphia Film Festival.


Directing credits also include SUGAR (Movie of the Year at the AFI Awards), IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY and MISSISSIPPI GRIND. In television, Fleck and Boden have directed episodes of HBO’s ROOM 104 and LOOKING, as well as Showtime’s BILLIONS and THE AFFAIR. They most recently directed 4 episodes of MRS. AMERICA starring Cate Blanchett for FX on Hulu.

Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, said, “We are looking forward to joining the 17th annual BendFilm Festival this year! In these unpredictable, topsy-turvy times, it’s comforting to know there is a thriving community of artists, activists, and storytellers out there taking risks and telling the truth. We are thrilled to share our filmmaking journey with this community and hopefully inspire one another as we march forward into the unknown.”


Andrew Bujalski:

Andrew Bujalski wrote, directed and acted in Funny Ha Ha (2002) and Mutual Appreciation (2003) In 2006, he appeared as an actor and contributed to the screenplay of the Joe Swanberg film Hannah Takes the Stairs. Beeswax and Computer Chess, Bujalski’s third and fourth independent films, were filmed in Austin, where the director lives now. Beeswax was released in the summer of 2009. While making Beeswax, Bujalski wrote a screenplay adaptation of Benjamin Kunkel’s 2005 novel Indecision for Paramount Pictures.


His fourth feature Computer Chess, a period film set at a computer programming tournament in 1980, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2013 and won the Alfred Sloan Feature Film Prize.  Andrew studied film at Harvard’s Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, where the Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman was his thesis advisor. He types 89 wpm.


Andrew Bujalski said, “It’d be tempting to say a lot has changed in the 20 years I’ve been making films, but, geez, a lot has changed in the last 5 months. I’m honored and excited to take part in this year’s BendFilm Festival, eager to connect with y’all movie people, always happy to talk about the past and hoping someone might be able to explain the future to me!”

About the BendFilm First Features Program:

The BendFilm Festival discovers and supports new filmmaking talent. BendFilm screens several feature films each year by first-time filmmakers who display mature and original filmmaking technique and ability. These filmmakers are navigating a very crowded field of new and experienced filmmakers. They now have a much harder time establishing filmmaking careers in comparison to the celebrated independent filmmakers who came to prominence before the digital age. BendFilm brings in established independent filmmakers to share their experience to help mentor emerging filmmakers breaking into the industry.  Other First Feature honorees and mentors include:  John Sayles & Maggie Renzi (2016), Peter Gilbert (2017), Debra Granik, Chris Eyre, Ondi Timoner (2018) and Ron Shelton (2019).

Expanded Dates & Reimagined Format for 17th Annual BendFilm Festival

BendFilm Will Present 100 Independent Films Available to Stream, 11 Drive-In Screenings, Virtual Filmmaker Discussions, Mentor Sessions, a BIPOC Grant Live Pitch and More

17th Annual BendFilm Festival Set To Run October 8 – 25, 2020


BendFilm announced plans to host the 17th annual BendFilm Festival with a reimagined format to engage at-home and in-person audiences with a longer viewing window and more chances to celebrate the power of independent film.  One thing that will remain the same is BendFilm’s filmmaker-focused efforts.  BendFilm will award over $12,000 in prizes directly to independent filmmakers, facilitate mentor sessions between emerging directors and established artists, honor an Indie Woman of the Year and expand  the First Features Program. Additionally, BendFilm will offer $5,000 in grant money to a BIPOC filmmaker and the application for projects for consideration will be launched next week. 


Todd Looby, BendFilm Executive Director, said, “Over the past few months, we have been focusing almost entirely on how to jumpstart long-planned, but deferred ideas to expand our programs to meet film lovers searching for community where ever they are and break down any spatial or socioeconomic barriers there are to great cultural programming. We have successfully built online programs, outdoor screenings and drive-ins and we are excited to apply what we learned to this year’s Festival–providing our enthusiastic fans what they expect each October and welcoming new audiences to the best independent cinema available anywhere.  Now more than ever we need occasions to escape, explore and connect through the power of film.” 


Elements of the 17th Annual BendFilm Festival: 


  • VIRTUAL STREAMING – BendFilm will showcase 100 features and short films available to stream at home using the Eventive platform.
  • DRIVE-IN MOVIES – After an incredible summer of drive-in screenings and witnessing the Bend community rally around the outdoor screenings, BendFilm will host 11 drive-in screenings during the festival.
  • FILMMAKER CONVERSATIONS – BendFilm will present conversations with select filmmakers for festival audiences to stream from home. 
  • MENTOR SESSIONS FOR FILMMAKERS: One special part of the festival is the collaboration that happens between artists who get a chance to meet, talk, network and share ideas.  To ensure that this crucial piece of the festival does not go away BendFilm will arrange for mentoring sessions with established writers, directors, producers, actors, editors and cinematographers. Filmmakers can sign up for these private conversations based on their interests. 
  • BIPOC FILMMAKER GRANT LIVE PITCH – BendFilm will offer $5,000 in grant money to a woman, BIPOC filmmaker and the application for projects for consideration will be launched next week. Applications will be narrowed down and finalists will pitch their projects to a panel of artists and funders during the Festival. 
  • FIRST FEATURES PROGRAM – The First Features program is an effort by BendFilm to discover and support new filmmaking talent.  Established directors are selected to share their experience to help mentor emerging filmmakers breaking into the industry as part of BendFilm’s First Features program. First Features honorees from past Festivals include John Sayles & Maggie Renzi (2016), Peter Gilbert (2017), Debra Granik and (2018) Ron Shelton (2019). 
  • INDIE WOMAN OF THE YEAR HONOREE – BendFilm created the IndieWomen of the Year award in 2018 in honor of the late Pamela Hulse Andrews who was a Bend business leader and advocate for the arts for more than 25 years. BendFilm will carry on Pamela’s memory through this award, presenting it to female artists who demonstrate an exceptional passion for independent film, bravely shares her authentic voice and makes extraordinary contributions to the independent body of work. Past recipients include Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini and Christine Vachon.
  • COMMUNITY COLLABORATIONS – BendFilm will once again call in fellow non-profits, social justice organizations and special interest groups to spark dialogue around the stories shared in the festival.


BendFilm’s Summer of Drive-Ins

Photo by Charlie Thiel at the BendFilm Pop-Up Drive-In

2020: The Year of the Drive-In 

One silver lining to our world turning upside down is that drive-ins have made a resurgence all over the country including right here in Central Oregon.

As the sun sets behind the Cascades, our Drive-in series comes to life in the balmy summer night.  Having these creative outdoor screenings has been a welcome escape and we are grateful to feel the warmth of community connection (from a safe distance) once again.  And speaking of creative, we just have to marvel for a moment at the unique seating situations our Bend audiences have rigged at the drive-in this summer!


It was thrilling to celebrate the World Premiere of The Last Blockbuster   and the fantastic local family who has kept the famous video store running.

We all followed along as international media outlets trained their gaze on Bend’s Blockbuster but it was delightfully engrossing to see the story laid out on the big screen.

If a standing ovation was possible while seated in a car it would have happened at that world premiere.  Local film critic Jared Rasic guided filmmakers Zeke Kamm and Taylor Morden through a behind-the-scenes conversation about the making of the documentary and it could have lasted all night.

Photo by Barb Gonzalez. Filmmakers Zeke Kamm and Taylor Morden speak at the World Premiere of their documentary The Last Blockbuster.
Filmmakers Zeke Kamm and Taylor Morden made a documentary about the last remaining Blockbuster in the world located right here in Bend, Oregon.

The drive-in also brought an opportunity to host community conversations related to the unique environmental issues in Central Oregon. At the screening of Rebuilding Paradise, we hosted a pre-show discussion with local fire safety experts and community planners.  The panelists discussed ways local groups are working together to reduce our risk and increase community and firefighter safety in the face of future wildfires.
Panelists and experts included:
Romy Mortensen, Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Brooks Resources Corporation
Kevin Larkin, District Ranger for the U.S. Forest Service-Deschutes National Forest, Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District
Bob Madden, Retired Fire Operations Chief for Bend Fire Department
Alison Green, Coordinator for Oregon: Living with Fire

Photo by Christina Friehauf of Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project

From adrenaline-filled adventure films to some Spielberg classics, our very eclectic drive-in series lineup has stayed rich in culture and rich in film history. (and rich in FUN!) We have plenty of screenings left in the schedule and look forward to seeing you out at the BendFilm Pop Up Drive In soon! (Tickets via BendTicket)

Photo by Doone Williams


The 2020 BendFilm Pop-Up Drive-In Series is presented in collaboration with Lay It Out Events and Deschutes Brewery,  Presenting Sponsor Director’s Mortgage, Hydroflask,  Combined Communications, Garner Group, Home Systems Solutions, Peak Transportation, Sounds Fast, Subaru of Bend and Top Shelf Medicine.






2020 Monday Movies In Tin Pan Alley

Soak Up Summer Outside In Tin Pan Alley

The Tin Pan Alley is just as iconic as the little boutique theater, making it a perfect spot to soak in a summer evening. On Mondays and Wednesdays BendFilm show movies on a pop up screen outside in Tin Pan Alley and alley neighbors at San Simon will also be serving up their usual delicious menu to add to the experience.  The Monday screening line up is below but the Spaghetti Western Wednesday titles are a surprise and announced on site. Seating is limited and programming is weather dependent.  Screenings start at around 8:00 PM PT and a $7 donation is suggested to help cover the cost of the film license. The series previously included a screening of Stop Making Sense and Blues Brothers.


Trading Places by John Landis

Monday July 20

Upper-crust executive Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) and down-and-out hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) are the subjects of a bet by successful brokers Mortimer (Don Ameche) and Randolph Duke (Ralph Bellamy). An employee of the Dukes, Winthorpe is framed by the brothers for a crime he didn’t commit, with the siblings then installing the street-smart Valentine in his position. When Winthorpe and Valentine uncover the scheme, they set out to turn the tables on the Dukes.

Dazed and Confused by Richard Linklater

Monday July 27

This coming-of-age film follows the mayhem of a group of rowdy teenagers in Austin, Texas, celebrating the last day of high school in 1976. The graduating class heads for a popular pool hall and joins an impromptu keg party, however star football player Randall “Pink” Floyd (Jason London) has promised to focus on the championship game and abstain from partying. Meanwhile, the incoming freshmen try to avoid being hazed by the seniors, most notably the sadistic bully Fred O’Bannion (Ben Affleck).

20 Feet From Stardom by Morgan Neville

Monday August 3
Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. In his compelling new film, award-winning director Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others. These gifted artists span a range of styles, genres and eras of popular music, but each has a uniquely fascinating and personal story to share of life spent in the shadows of superstardom.

Dirty Dancing by Emile Ardolino

Monday August 10

Baby (Jennifer Grey) is one listless summer away from the Peace Corps. Hoping to enjoy her youth while it lasts, she’s disappointed when her summer plans deposit her at a sleepy resort in the Catskills with her parents. Her luck turns around, however, when the resort’s dance instructor, Johnny (Patrick Swayze), enlists Baby as his new partner, and the two fall in love. Baby’s father forbids her from seeing Johnny, but she’s determined to help him perform the last big dance of the summer.

Purple Rain by Albert Mognoli

Monday August 17

A victim of his own anger, the Kid (Prince) is a Minneapolis musician on the rise with his band, the Revolution, escaping a tumultuous home life through music. While trying to avoid making the same mistakes as his truculent father (Clarence Williams III), the Kid navigates the club scene and a rocky relationship with a captivating singer, Apollonia (Apollonia Kotero). But another musician, Morris (Morris Day), looks to steal the Kid’s spotlight — and his girl.

Shut Up and Play the Hits by Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace

Monday August 24

In conversation with Chuck Klosterman, James Murphy reveals the personal motivations underlying LCD Soundsystem’s retirement. The band prepares for their biggest, and rumoured last, concert, at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

Almost Famous directed by Cameron Crowe

Monday August 31

Set in 1973, it chronicles the funny and often poignant coming of age of 15-year-old William, an unabashed music fan who is inspired by the seminal bands of the time. When his love of music lands him an assignment from Rolling Stone magazine to interview the up-and-coming band Stillwater — fronted by lead guitar Russell Hammond and lead singer Jeff Bebe William embarks on an eye-opening journey with the band’s tour, despite the objections of his protective mother.

Stand By Me directed by Rob Reiner

September 15

After learning that a stranger has been accidentally killed near their rural homes, four Oregon boys decide to go see the body. On the way, Gordie Lachance (Wil Wheaton), Vern Tessio (Jerry O’Connell), Chris Chambers (River Phoenix) and Teddy Duchamp (Corey Feldman) encounter a mean junk man and a marsh full of leeches, as they also learn more about one another and their very different home lives. Just a lark at first, the boys’ adventure evolves into a defining event in their lives.



The 2020 Outdoor Tin Pan Alley screenings are presented in collaboration with Home System Solutions.  DVD and Blu Ray media for these programs are donated by Blockbuster Video Bend. (Yes, the “Last Blockbuster in the Universe!”) 

Tin Pan Reopening Plan!

After sitting dark for more than 3 months, BendFilm is excited to fire up the projector and reopen for screenings inside the Tin Pan Theater! We look forward to welcoming our community back and have thought carefully about this reopening with excitement and with safety in mind.  Here are a few new procedures we need you to know about before you get here:

Seating capacity will be limited to 13 guests maximum and the seating chart will be spread out to give everyone enough space to enjoy the film.  All guests will reserve a seat in advance when you buy your ticket. Friends will sit together in groups of 2 or 3. Here is the new seating chart:


The entry process will be monitored and staggered (rows 2 and 4 will gain entry first) to ensure each guest gets enough time to purchase concessions and find their seat.  Please arrive 20 minutes before the screening to allow time for the new entry process. Bar staff will be behind a newly installed plexiglass partition and required to wear a mask and gloves.  BendFilm (and the State of Oregon) requires guests wear a mask out of an abundance of caution and out of respect for fellow patrons and staff. Seats, arm rests and all high traffic areas will be thoroughly sanitized between shows.

We welcome all questions, comments and feedback about these new procedures because they only work if we all understand the new process and everyone follows the rules. Please email if you need anything.

If you are not ready to come to the theater, fear not.  We will continue to bring you new release films online as we have the last few months.

And lastly, THANK YOU for your support over these last few months.  We could not do what we do without you!

Films, schedules and ticket information will be updated each week at


New Look For BendFilm 2020

It’s hard to believe we are almost four months away from the 17th annual BendFilm Festival! Nothing makes the festival feel more “real” to us than unveiling the creative look and theme for the year. Each person who looks at the poster may see something different. Are the hands coming together to frame a film scene? Are they two people coming together seeking connection?

We are thankful to Erik Bergstrom and Tim Jones at Astir Agency for their work to bring our mission to life once again!

Erik and Tim shared some thoughts on the creative direction, “The art for this year’s Festival represents people coming together with independent film being that vehicle. We want people to seek connection to one another. Independent film can provide perspectives that differ from our own and push us towards greater understanding and inward thinking. We need to look out for one another in a big way.”

And we were very moved by what they said was one of their favorite parts of participating in BendFilm, “I love getting lost in an unexpected story. Having a film stir up emotions that you were not prepared to experience is a unique experience that only happens at BendFilm.

Keep an eye out for how this design will play out in our merchandise, banners and more. As we get closer to October, we continue to plan for in-person events with new capacity limits and physical distancing measures put in place. We will also weave virtual elements into the Festival as well.

Get your passes before the end of June to take advantage of early-bird pricing!

Buy Your Pass Here:

Solidarity Message

BendFilm stands with all our Black and Indigenous brothers and sisters and those who work for equality and truth. We especially want to acknowledge the important work of artists, storytellers, journalists and all BIPOC who work tirelessly to shine a light on the injustices around us. The death of Mr. Floyd and many others who have lost their lives to racial discrimination and social injustice reminds us we have a long way to go in achieving equality for all.

Our nation is hurting. Now more than ever we need to listen and support one another.  But we as individuals and as an organization also need to look inward at our role in creating an inclusive environment to foster long term change and to reject the “norms” that have perpetuated the unacceptable treatment of our fellow citizens.  We look forward to holding space for these challenging conversations internally as an organization and with our wider community.