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.