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BendFilm in year 12

 BendFilm returns for its twelfth season

BendFilm has grown and evolved over the last 12 years to become a cultural force and treasured event for the local community. In tandem, BendFilm’s reach has expanded among indie filmmakers all over the world. This year the festival, with the help of new festival programmer Mimi Brody, received a record number of submissions—almost three times the count from last year.

“2015 has been a year of incredible growth, excitement and opportunity in Bend and especially at BendFilm,” says Festival Director Todd Looby. “Receiving more submissions increases our chances of finding the best new independent films out there.” Mimi Brody, of Chicago, was hired to help generate and sift through submissions to find the best films to screen at the Festival, scheduled for October 8 through 11 of this year.

It’s too early to know what the chosen films will be, but one new aspect of BendFilm looks exciting. “We will be introducing a new program called “First Features” where we will screen the early works of now-accomplished directors,” says Looby. “We will host the directors and hear their ‘war stories’ about making their first feature and how they parlayed that film’s success into a career in film.” Films chosen for screening and competition will, as always, include brand new first features by the next generation of filmmakers. “The conversations between these emerging directors, some of which will happen in Q&As open to the public, and more established directors will certainly be a highlight of the festival.”

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Partly due to a large grant BendFilm received this year from the Bend Cultural Tourism Fund (BCTF) for the purpose of attracting more festival-goers from out of the area, Looby expects a large audience turnout this year. “The BCTF grant will allow us to reach out to more potential local festival-goers as well as invite more high-profile and accomplished filmmakers for the festival,” he says. “The larger crowds will definitely increase the excitement and celebration in the air during these fabulous four days. We want to start conversations and provoke ideas. The more participants we have, the more heightened the experience will be for our festival-goers.”

BendFilm will screen in downtown Bend, the Old Mill District and at Madras’s new performing arts center. For more information see www.bendfilm.org. “Tickets will go on sale the second week of October and we hope to see people from all over the Northwest come on out,” says Looby.

photos by Steven Addington and Tina Ellis

 

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