May 10, 2021 — BendFilm would like to take a moment to acknowledge and congratulate the duo close to our hearts at BendFilm – Mike Scheuerman and Skye Fitzgerald, producer and director of the 2021 Oscar-nominated documentary short HUNGER WARD! The film is now streaming on Paramount+.
Did you know? Mike Scheuerman, a Bend resident and BendFilm Advisory Committee member, and Skye Fitzgerald, BendFilm Alum, met at the 2018 BendFilm Festival where Skye was screening his last film LIFEBOAT, which went on to be nominated for an Oscar in 2019.
We are feeling proud! We had the chance to speak with Mike Scheuerman about his Oscars experience, living in Oregon and thoughts on film.
BendFilm: How has your life changed post-Oscars?
Mike Scheuerman: It’s been less than two weeks since the Oscars so not too much has changed other than we finally have time to sleep. Our Oscars campaign was especially intense with numerous screening events from February through April after HUNGER WARD was shortlisted, so now we have some time to rest, reflect, and work at a normal pace.
BF: What is it like being a part of the film industry in Oregon? What is unique about it?
MS: I appreciate the grass-roots, collaborative nature of the film industry in Bend and Oregon and look forward to working with people in the industry here on future films.
BF: What’s next? Are you working on anything post-HUNGER WARD?
MS: We have so much work to do for Yemen with our advocacy partners in the coming months, so our work with HUNGER WARD will continue. The war and famine are getting worse, so we’ll continue to host screening events for awareness and policy change in the U.S., U.K., and E.U. in the coming months. We haven’t decided on the next film project but have some compelling stories for potential films.
BF: In what ways do you feel that film is a force in changing our conditions or in changing how we see the world?
MS: Film is a unique art form that can expose audiences to critical issues that they’ve never heard about and engage them emotionally in a way that initiates action to create a better world. The daily news provides facts and figures that feed us intellectually, but film can move the heart. When people see HUNGER WARD, they are impacted so deeply that they ask us, “What can I do to help?” In response, we provide them simple opportunities to help right where they are in life. That’s the power of film activating change in our world.
BF: What do you hope to see more of in the future generations of filmmaking?
MS: Since COVID, I miss screening films on the big screen — where films like HUNGER WARD are meant to be seen. I hope audiences continue to support cinemas even though streaming seems to be taking over. With the rise of Tik Tok and short form video, I also hope feature-length stories still get told but am also excited to see more high quality short form cinematic storytelling. Young people can pick up their phone or camera and tell impactful stories quickly… I’m looking forward to seeing where the convergence of film and tech go.