BendFilm World Premieres | Features
AT THE VIDEO STORE
A loving ode to the dying art of connection and curation. Director James Westby weaves together the macro-narrative of the industry’s changing business model with the intimate memories of store owners and cinema icons like John Waters, Nicole Holofcener, Gus Van Sant, and Bill Hader. While nostalgic for what was lost, the film is hopeful about what neighborhood video stores can still offer a world starved for authentic human interaction.
About the filmmaker: James Westby is called “a wizard of concision and a master of discomfort” by The New York Times, James Westby is an independent filmmaker from Portland, OR. He writes, directs, and edits provocative films with economical budgets and no compromises. And big laughs! And discomfort.
Westby-made features include FILM GEEK (socially inept video store clerk loses his job and starts working at an auto parts warehouse), THE AUTEUR (a sweet romantic comedy about the world’s greatest porn director) and RID OF ME (timid housewife wreaks revenge on her yuppie husband and his a-hole friends). His films have played at the Tribeca Film Festival, Traverse City Film Festival, Palm Springs Shortsfest, and hundreds of others.
Westby’s work in the commercial world includes the short film EVAN RACHEL WOULD for tomboy clothier Wildfang (starring Kim Gordon, Beth Ditto, and Evan Rachel Wood), as well as recent campaigns for Duraflame, The Oregon Lottery, and more cannabis companies than you can count.
Millions of dreamers. 2612 stars on Hollywood Blvd. Alexis is homeless but wants to redefine what the transsexual experience is through her script. Kentrell works on web series with a partner he is falling in love with. Miska is so ashamed of his failed stand up career that answering his mom’s phone calls is out of the question until Sarah comes along and gives him a chance. Milla is fresh of the plane, a young mother who has one last shot at making her dreams come true. Each of these people hope that someone somewhere would just give them a shot.
About the Filmmaker: Hannu Aukia is a Finnish filmmaker, who started his career in music videos – first with his own band Pulsator. He started with stop motion animation but moved quickly to more traditional filmmaking. His love of animation is still there.
About the filmmaker(pictured): Jaakko Manninen is a Finnish-born director and Music Producer based in LA. Manninen has platinum records under his belt and he has directed and producer over 250 music videos to artists like Shaggy, Kylie Minoque, Nile Rodgers, Nervo and others. Manninen and Aukia shared a house in Hollywood, where most of the film was shot.
BendFilm World Premieres | Shorts
The Jessica’s Are Turning 30
In 1989, these six people were named Jessica, the most popular name for girls that year. But from there, their lives took different paths. Now, they reflect on life at the brink of 30 — an age heavy with expectation.
“The Jessicas are turning 30” weaves together six compelling narratives of people who were born Jessica in 1989. The film captures what it’s like to be 30 in America today. For millennial women, the milestone has become an age heavy with expectation. Thirty-year-old American women today are far less likely to be married and have children than they were 30 years ago – they’re also more likely to have a four-year degree and a full-time job.
“The Jessicas are turning 30” is a film from The Lily and The Washington Post. The Lily is a publication of The Washington Post that elevates stories critical to women’s lives.
About the filmmakers: Amy King, Director & Producer
Amy King is editor in chief and creative director of The Lily. Amy proposed and developed the editorial and creative mission of The Lily. She started at The Washington Post in 2013 as an art director for the Arts & Style section and went on to help launch The Post’s national apps and Snapchat Discover channel. She grew up in North Canton, Ohio.
Maya Sugarman, Director & Producer
Maya Sugarman is video editor of The Lily, where she has produced and directed the video series “When Used Correctly,” “Unfiltered” and “Nora Knows What to Say.” Before joining The Washington Post, she was a visual journalist at NPR affiliate KPCC in Los Angeles. Maya graduated from UCLA with a degree in art. She grew up in Oakland, Calif.
Neema Roshania Patel, Producer
Neema Roshania Patel is deputy editor of The Lily. Before joining The Washington Post, she worked at NPR member station WHYY as a community editor. Neema graduated from Rutgers University with a dual-degree in journalism and economics, and grew up in Maplewood, N.J.
Warpaint for the Teenage Soul
Warpaint for the Teenage Soul tells the story of girlhood and solidarity in the face of internalized misogyny, rape culture, and high school bullying. Blacklisted by fellow students after being assaulted by the most popular boy in school, Wynne Darling (15) flees her so-called friends and takes refuge in the school bathroom, finding an unlikely source of sisterhood in her polar opposite, a chain-smoking punk rocker named Belle.
About the filmmaker: Rebecca Woolf has worked as a freelance writer and photographer for more than two decades, contributing to numerous publications, websites and anthologies, most notably her own award-winning personal blog, Girl’s Gone Child. As well as launching her own successful blog, read by over a million people worldwide, she is the author of the acclaimed memoir, Rockabye: From Wild to Child and has contributed to dozens of publications both in print and online. Warpaint for the Teenage Soul references Woolf’s tenure writing for the hit 90s book series, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul — a job she maintained throughout her teen years. She lives in Los Angeles with her teenage son and three daughters.
The plot is about a road trip from Wasco County to the coast. This is a story about my brother and me. It’s a document of our relationship as we embark on a road trip together around the state of Oregon. With aspirations to reconnect and reflect on our childhood, my kid brother and I find ourselves at a crossroads in our youth.
About the filmmaker (pictured): Eugene native Braxton Haugen, University of Oregon. The short was produced entirely in Oregon.
A fishy satire, Heaven, dares to ask “Why do we believe in an afterlife?” This short film draws a parallel with human emotions and aspirations to a fish, as a way to comment on humankind’s determination to believe in something existing beyond this life, rather than a more rational or empirical hunch that it is true.
About the filmmaker: Bend-based filmmaker Michelle Alvardo. It’s rare that someone finds their passion at such a young age and follows it dogmatically, unwilling to be diverted by adolescent whims. But just like her images, Michelle stayed focused. She went to USC Cinema and landed lucrative jobs at National Geographic, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Showtime. Since 2005, Michelle has been the owner and director of Wahoo Films in Central Oregon, a production company that helps organizations better connect with their audience through documentary films.
The goddess of the open sea, Salacia, hides from Neptune amongst the features of the heavens, delighting in her cosmic playground.
About the filmmaker: Portland-based Rex Carter was part of the first generation of students to get a computer in the classroom, and at age 13, I bought my own Commodore VIC-20 with $300 that I earned picking strawberries. He immediately put the technology to use for drawing pictures; simplistic images that were constructed out of small geometric shapes and eight (that’s right, eight!) available colors. Shortly thereafter, he also discovered a love of cinema. And it just so happened that eventually, the worlds of film-making and computer-imagery would combine, right as I was deciding what to do with my life. Thirty years later, Carter has worked steadily as a Visual F/X artist on numerous Super Bowl commercials, music videos, and films. In his spare time, he writes screenplays and directs his own short films, which have screened in festivals throughout the country and the world.
Produced and shot in the UK and the Czech Republic, Ground Rush follows Alex Miziuk, a young BASE jumper determined to live his life on (and over) the edge. After nine years in the military, he sets off on a journey to the most famous jump sites in Europe starting with Beachy Head, UK. But as one of the most dangerous years in the sport’s history comes to an end, Alex is forced to reconsider what is most important to him.
About the filmmaker: Annabelle Meyer Meyer is a German-based filmmaker. She studied Film and Television production in London where she started working on Ground Rush alongside her studies. After graduation, she went back to Germany to start a career as a Creative Producer and Director in Advertising; always in search of unconventional stories and spirited minds.
BendFilm World Premieres | Local Focus
2 Below 0
Frostbitten & love-smitten! It’s the bitterly cold Winter of 1979 as Rusty types away in his trailer. His fiancé had just left him at the alter and in response, Rusty uproots himself from Minnesota and relocates to the middle of nowhere. He’s not completely alone: Alice, whom he refuses to accept has left his side, stands nearby in the form of a mannequin. 3 misfits jealous of their relationship vow to disrupt their peace as the temperature plummets ‘2 Below 0’!
About the Filmmakers: 2 Below 0 is directed by Bend-based Tim Cash of Far From Earth Films, and written by screenwriter Pennan Brae. It is their second collaboration, following up on The Astronaut, which received accolades in cinematography, screenwriting & musical score on the 2018-2019 film festival circuit.
Shifting Perspectives follows Ryder, one of many identical clone soldiers, as he struggles to find his individuality despite apathetic generals, an entire army bent on their destruction, and lots of tough decisions with harsh consequences. With the help of a rare officer who cares for them as individuals and his fellow clones, he sets out to bring down the corrupt system and end an endless war.
About the Filmmaker: Bend native Cedar Vickery is a young but highly motivated aspiring filmmaker. In the summer of 2018 he and his close friend Jadon Berg endeavored to shoot their first longer format film. Equipped with only a single camera and a tripod they spent 20 days in the Central Oregon desert shooting Shifting Perspectives. The lessons learned from attempting a project of this scope with no budget taught both Cedar and Jadon the joys and pains of filmmaking and inspired future dreams of Indy movie making.