BendFilm announced today the 14 members of the 2018 jury who will award $11,500 in cash, including $5,000 cash for “Best of Show.” New this year, BendFilm created two new film categories to recognize impactful environmental or outdoor focused stories and Native American cinema. In competition for this year’s cash prizes are 8 Narrative Features, 17 Documentary Features and 70 Shorts.

2018 BendFilm Festival Jury:


Michelle Alvarado
Short Films
Michelle Alvarado is a director, a cinematographer, and owner of Wahoo Films in Bend. With her talented team, she has directed hundreds of short films including Sage Brush Sisters (BendFilm 2016) and Mill Creek, which toured the film festival circuit and aired on OPB Oregon Lens. Michelle also partnered with Wandering Wolverine Productions on the feature documentary Earth Seasoned (BendFilm 2017), which is currently distributed through BullFrogFilms. She co-directed two feature documentaries Mysteries of the Deep and Inside Story for the Monterey Bay Aquarium theatre (1999). She received a BFA in Cinema and Television for the University of Southern California.

Beth Barrett
Narrative Features
Beth Barrett is the Artistic Director of SIFF (organizers of the Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF Cinema, and SIFF Education). She serves on the board of the Film Festival Alliance, and has participated in juries and panel discussions at several universities and film festivals.

Morgan Capps
Short Films & Environmental/Outdoor Adventure Features
Morgan Capps studied film at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University where she served as a Continuing Studies Fellow (2013-2015). Her documentary film work has covered the lives of coal miners struggling against a shifting economy in Appalachia and Native American food movements taking root across the United States. After moving to Santa Fe in 2015 to work on the feature documentary Return as Associate Producer and Cinematographer, Morgan fell in love with the motley crew at Meow Wolf and joined the team as a Film Director and Creative Lead. Her directorial debut, Meow Wolf: Origin Story, co-directed with Jilann Spitzmiller, is screening at this year’s BendFilm Festival.

Eric Close
Short Films
Eric Close is an actor and director based in Bend. He most recently directed the two-hour movie Christmas at Graceland for Hallmark Channel, which will be released in November. Eric has been a series regular on a number of television shows, many of which he has also directed, including ABC’s hit series Nashville (2012-2017), CBS’s Without a Trace (2002-2009) and Now and Again (1999-2000). His most feature acting credits include Indivisible, Legal Action and Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper. Eric graduated with a BA in communications from the University of Southern California in 1989.

Chris Eyre
Native Films
Chris Eyre directed the highly-acclaimed feature Smoke Signals, which won both the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. His other films include Skins, Skinwalkers, A Thief of Time, Hideaway, and Edge of America, which garnered him the prestigious DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement from the Director’s Guild of America.

Mr. Fish
Animated Shorts
Mr. Fish has been a freelance writer and cartoonist for twenty-five years, publishing with many of the nation’s most reputable and prestigious magazines, journals and newspapers, including Harper’s Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Village Voice, the LA Weekly, the Atlantic, The Nation, Vanity Fair, and Mother Jones. His awards include the Los Angeles Press Club for Editorial Cartooning and the Grambs Aronson Award for Cartooning with a Conscience. His most recent books are Go Fish: How to Win Contempt and Influence People (Akashic Books 2011), WARNING! Graphic Content (Annenberg Press, 2014), and And The the World Blew Up (Fantagraphics Books, 2017). He is currently teaching at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

Matt Grady
Narrative Features
Matt Grady is the founder of Factory 25, an independent film production and distribution company launched in 2009. Headquartered in Brooklyn, Factory 25 is a home for conceptually provocative narratives and documentaries. Matt was recently named “One of the Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture” and has been called “One of the most important curatorial voices of new, independent American films.” His mission is to expose the world to under-the-radar films, music, and other curiosities. Recent titles include All This Panic (BendFilm 2016), Uncle Kent 2, The Color Wheel, Sun Don’t Shine and Kid Thing. Matt also produced Nathan Silver’s The Great Pretender and Onur Tukel’s Applesauce (BendFilm 2015).

Frank Groundwater
Environmental/Outdoor Adventure Features
Frank Groundwater was introduced to independent film in college and joined the Olympia Film Society in 1989. He was a board member and legal counsel there for more than 20 years before moving to Bend in 2008 and joining BendFilm, serving on the board for 7 years. He and his family are passionate about preserving our natural world and are long-time supporters of environmental organizations including the Deschutes River Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, and The Wilderness Society. Frank is an area lawyer specializing in estate planning and real estate; helping families preserve their assets for future generations.

Brandon Harris
Narrative Features
Brandon Harris is a Development Executive at Amazon Original Movies, author of Making Rent in Bed-Stuy: A Memoir of Trying to Get By in New York City (HarperCollins Publishers, 2017), and writer/director of the 2012 feature film Redlegs.​

Eric Allen Hatch
Documentary Features
Eric Allen Hatch is a film programmer, film critic, and consultant for filmmakers and festivals. Eric was the Director of Programming for Maryland Film Festival from 2007 into early 2018 and has curated international film for the Baltimore Museum of Art. He authored the recent, much-discussed “Why I Am Hopeful” article for Filmmaker Magazine and has written extensively on film, music, and literature for Baltimore City Paper. His weekly column “2 Film 2 Festival” for his site “Beyond the Boonmemes” recommends visionary deep cuts of contemporary world cinema, and his monthly MUBI Notebook column “Infinite Fest” takes the pulse of the North American festival scene.

LaRonn Katchia
Native Films
LaRonn Katchia is a 27 year-old Warm Springs/Wasco/Paiute tribal member of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and is currently pursuing a filmmaking career in Portland. His love and passion for film resides from the influence of the commonly mistreated portrayal of Native Americans in Hollywood films today. His mission is to change the Native stereotypes of film and get it right this time by showcasing the Native American perspective in film and creating original stories filmed by Native directors.

Anne Rosellini
Documentary Features
Anne Rosellini is a creative producer and writer who runs Still Rolling Productions with director Debra Granik. Together they have made three narrative features: Leave No Trace (2018), which premiered at Sundance and Director’s Fortnight, Winter’s Bone (2010), which was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, and Down to the Bone (2004), which premiered at Sundance and took Best Director that year. She also produced Granik’s first documentary, Stray Dog (2014) which had its network premiere on the PBS doc series Independent Lens. Rosellini started in programming and acquisitions and holds a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Jilann Spitzmiller
Documentary Features & Environmental/Outdoor Adventure Features
Jilann Spitzmiller is an award-winning filmmaker and educator with credits including Shakespeare Behind Bars, which won “Best of Show” at BendFilm in 2005. Jilann’s work has been shown on outlets such as NBC, PBS, BBC, Sundance Channel, Starz/Encore, Canal + and Al Jazeera. Her film Still Dreaming (BendFilm 2015) is slated to air on PBS in 2018. She has been a Sundance Documentary Fellow and has also created two critically acclaimed doc projects for National PBS, Homeland and Circle of Stories. Her latest film, Meow Wolf: Origin Story, directed with Morgan Capps, is screening at this year’s BendFilm Festival.


Isaac Trimble
Native Films
Isaac Trimble is a well known Native American flute artist and film producer based in the Pacific Northwest. Isaac’s dedication to community and artistry has lead him to receive a lifetime achievement award for music and many film recognitions. In 2017, Isaac produced Missing Indigenous, winner of that year’s Portland 48hour Film Festival, highlighting the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. The film went on to premiere at Filmapalooza in Paris, France. Currently Isaac is pursuing a graduate degree program in film while working on short films and preparing for his first feature film.


Get your film festival passes today to see Shelton screen Bull Durham and revisit some of his classic films at this year’s festival OCT 10-13 in Bend, Oregon