This year’s celebration of independent film has been fun, therapeutic and unconventional. We relish in creating community around creativity and the human desire to connect.

We are thrilled to share that over the course of the 2020 BendFilm Festival we connected our fabulous indie filmmakers with audiences from 43 states and 37 countries!

Here is a note from BendFilm Executive Director, Todd Looby:

I want to thank each and every one who contributed in some way to this amazing Festival and organization over the past month. I will remember this Festival as my favorite of the seven I have had the pleasure and honor of leading.

Of course this is not the type of Festival we wanted to host and there are certainly more fun and engaging ways of celebrating the transformative art form of film and its makers. However, what I personally witnessed in the generous support we receive from donors and sponsors, the backing from our Board of Directors, the hard work of our staff and volunteers, the engagement from audiences watching at home and at the drive-in, and especially, commitment from all of the filmmakers who dared continue and even double-down on using this unique art form to push us forward is simply remarkable.

This Festival is special mostly because the personal rewards for taking part are not obvious and may never be realized, yet we all did it anyway. We did it because we simply do not accept that the headlines reflect the world we know exists and that the best of humanity is hopeful, underrepresented, and optimistic about where we can and should be. The BendFilm Festival has always displayed glimpses of the future: young filmmakers who will go on to become household names, styles of filmmaking that will be co-opted by the mainstream and stories of characters that will dominate future headlines. The 2020 Festival, however, showed us that there is a large contingent of artists and audiences, though perhaps quieted and working in the margins, are ready, willing and excited to lead us all to a better place.

If you are reading this and have not had the opportunity to enjoy the Festival as much as you wanted to, I implore you research the award-winners and Google the films that will be playing at other virtual festivals you can watch from anywhere. I ask that you revisit a film from this Festival that is sticking with you by hearing from the filmmakers in our wonderful Q&As.

Watch the live pitches from future filmmakers vying for a $7,500 production grant in order to witness the powerful draw of storytelling and giving voice to the unheard. What we all do with our time in this democracy of ideas, art forms, points of view, media options, etc is a vote for our future and I do hope you continue to join us in voting for things like the BendFilm Festival.

Thank you once again for all of your support and your participation!

Todd Looby