BendFilm Announces The Jury For 17th Annual BendFilm Festival


Filmmakers, Industry Executives, Actors, and Media Members To Give Out $12,500 in Prizes Throughout the 17th Annual BendFilm Festival


Bend, OR – BendFilm, Central Oregon’s premier and internationally celebrated Film Festival, has announced 18 artists, journalists, executives and cultural leaders who will award $12,500 in cash prizes –  including $5,000 cash for “Best of Show” to short and feature films during the 17th annual BendFilm Festival. 


Jurors will announce the awards in a ceremony on Saturday October 12. Select jurors will also help with Festival events including panels, guided discussions and the Future Filmmakers program for student storytellers.

Narrative Features Jury
Originally from Mexico City, Carlos Aguilar was chosen as one of 6 young film critics to partake in the first Roger Ebert Fellowship organized by, the Sundance Institute, and Indiewire in 2014. His work has appeared in prestigious publications such as Los Angeles Times, Variety, The New York Times, The Wrap, Indiewire, Vulture,, The Daily Beast, MovieMaker Magazine, Remezcla, Filmmaker Magazine, Slate, Bustle, Americas Quarterly, among others. Carlos is a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA).

Narrative Features Jury
Drea Clark is a longtime film festival programmer, currently at Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival and Sundance, and previously with Slamdance and LA Film Fest, where she served as Senior Programmer.  As a producer, Drea has released three independent features. Mo Perkins’ THE LAST TIME YOU HAD FUN, Mike Ott’s LAKE LOS ANGELES, and Amber Sealey’s NO LIGHT AND NO LAND ANYWHERE, executive produced by Miranda July. She’s also produced numerous shorts, music videos, web series, and a pilot for FX titled WE’RE GOOD THANKS. She is currently Producer-in-Residence at Film Independent. Drea co-hosts Who Shot Ya, a movie podcast that’s not just straight white guys, on Maximum Fun, and Ticklish Business, a podcast devoted to honoring and deconstructing classic cinema.

Narrative Features Jury
Lara Jean Gallagher is a writer and director originally from rural Pennsylvania. She earned her Directing MFA from Columbia University and was named one of IFP’s 2015 Emerging Storytellers. Her award-winning shorts and music videos have screened at SXSW, Palm Springs Shortfest, Mill Valley, Portland International, and online via Pitchfork, Spin, Rolling Stone, and NPR, among others. Her debut feature film, CLEMENTINE, premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and was made with the support of the Venice Biennale College-Cinema, the Sundance Institute, Film Independent, and IFP. CLEMENTINE won awards for Best Cinematography and Best Narrative Feature at the 2019 BendFilm Festival and had its virtual theatrical release in May 2020 by Oscilloscope Laboratories. Most recently, Lara’s coming-of-age horror script, RED MOTHER was awarded the Westridge Grant from the San Francisco Film Society.

Documentary Features Jury
Tim Cogshell is a veteran film critic with over 30 years of experience working for national print, broadcast, and internet media concerns, including; NPR, KNBC Los Angeles, Spectrum News 1, FOX 11 News, Box Office Magazine and The Wrap among others.  Tim is a regular on KPCC’s FilmWeek with Larry Mantle, and co-host of the CineGods podcast.

Documentary Features Jury
Peter Gilbert served as the Director of Photography for the award-winning film Hoop Dreams.  Peter Gilbert has had a distinguished career in producing, directing, and photographing documentaries, feature films, commercials, and music videos. In 2004, he Produced and Directed, With All Deliberate Speed, the first work in the new series “Discovery Docs,” for the Discovery Network. The nationally released film portrays the drama of the monumental Brown V. Board Supreme Court decision that helped change the racial fabric of our country in 1954. The film has performances by Jeffery Wright, Mekhi Phifer, Larenz Tate, Joe Morton, and Alicia Keys. With All Deliberate Speed was nominated for a Prime Time Emmy for Distinguished Work in Non- Fiction Film.

Documentary Features Jury
Fenell Doremus is an award-winning producer based in Chicago. Most recently, she produced COOKED: SURVIVAL BY ZIP CODE (BendFilm 2019), which was broadcast nationally on PBS’ Independent Lens (2020). Prior to that, she co-produced the Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning, ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL (2017).  Other past credits include coordinating producers on RINGSIDE (Motto Pictures 2020) and THE CALLING (The Kindling Group 2010); producer/director/editor on A YEAR ON TEEN STREET (2005) a WTTW-Kartemquin co-production and segment producer/co-editor of THE NEW AMERICANS (2004), broadcast nationally on PBS’ Independent Lens. Fenell has a long association with Kartemquin Films, as staff producer 1994-2002 and currently serves on the board. She is an active member of the Documentary Producers Alliance and is currently Co-Rep of Regional Midwest/Co-Chair of the Regional Committee.

Outdoor/Environmental Features Jury
Patrick Creadon’s feature projects have been screened at film festivals all over the country, including Sundance, Tribeca, and Slamdance. His directorial debut WORDPLAY, premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and went on to become the second-highest-grossing documentary of 2006. Other films include I.O.U.S.A. (2008), IF YOU BUILD IT (2014), ALL WORK ALL PLAY (2015), and an installment about Notre Dame football for ESPN’s award-winning documentary series “30 for 30” (2016). His critically acclaimed documentary, HESBURGH (2018), about the legendary long-time president of the University of Notre Dame, will see its theatrical release in 2019. His latest film, SKI BUM: THE WARREN MILLER STORY (BendFilm 2019), had its World Premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival.

Outdoor/Environmental Features Jury
Native Rapanui (Easter Island) filmmaker Sergio Mata’u Rapu has spent the last 15 years shooting and producing documentaries that have aired on History Channel, Travel, National Geographic, and PBS. His latest feature film, EATING UP EASTER (BendFilm 2019), focuses on the social and environmental issues plaguing his island home due to a booming tourism industry. The award-winning film was broadcast on ARTE in France and Germany and PBS’s Independent Lens in the US while continuing a robust impact campaign to engage communities on topics of waste reduction and environmental conservation. Through his work, Sergio aims to show the diversity of life through thought-provoking media to inspire resolutions to social, economic, and environmental conflicts.

Outdoor/Environmental Features Jury
Frederick Thornton is a Spirit Award-nominated and Gotham Award-winning African American filmmaker. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Frederick cites growing up watching his father make home videos and his mother writing short stories as his inspiration for wanting to be a filmmaker. Thornton is a fellow of IFP Film Week as well as Project Involve and the Producing Lab for Film Independent. Frederick is a graduate of Chapman University, where he completed a BA in Psychology. His latest produced film, GO BACK TO CHINA, premiered at SXSW in 2019 and features Anna Akana in the lead role.

Indigenous Films Jury
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.

Indigenous Films Jury
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.

Indigenous Films Jury
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 led 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.

Narrative Shorts Jury and Student Animated Shorts Jury
Kent Osborne is a 20-year veteran of animated television, most notably “Spongebob Squarepants” and “Adventure Time.” Kent has also appeared in numerous independent films including UNCLE KENT and UNCLE KENT 2.

Narrative Shorts Jury
Haroula Rose is a filmmaker and musician.  Her debut ONCE UPON A RIVER (BendFilm 2019), was called “one of the most anticipated films” by FILMMAKER, winning 19 awards at 40 festivals worldwide and is being released in October by Film Movement.  Her pilot LOST & FOUND had its world premiere at Tribeca, and was “not to be missed,” according to the New York Times.  She is currently shooting a documentary and developing her second fiction feature film as writer and director. Rose’s work has been supported by a Fulbright Fellowship in Madrid, Nantucket Screenwriters Colony, WarnerMedia, Warner Brothers Directing Workshop, and Tribeca All Access.  She received her BA and MA from the University of Chicago and attended USC’s MFA program. Rose’s short films include AS THEY SLEPT, WEDDING DRESS, NO LOVE SONG, and BABY CRAZY.  As a producer she has worked on films such as FRUITVALE STATION, THE FEAR OF THIRTEEN, HEAVEN ADORES YOU, SAINT FRANCES as well as many others. Rose’s songs can be heard in many films, series, theater productions and commercials.  She has toured internationally and released two LPs, two EPs, remixes, and compositions through Thirty Tigers in Nashville and her label Little Bliss Records.  Her third LP and EP are both being released fall 2020.

Narrative Shorts Jury and Student Animated Shorts Jury
Aaron Woolfolk wrote, directed, and produced the award-winning T-Joy Co./Toei Company, Ltd. feature film The Harimaya Bridge. He also co-wrote the Ovation Award-nominated play Bronzeville. He was a Walt Disney Studios/ABC Entertainment Writing Fellow. Most recently, he wrote and directed the science fiction stories Family Line and Renaissance Man and the ghost story There’s Something Going On With Sam for the podcast anthology series Earbud Theater. Aaron’s first film Rage! won a Directors Guild of America award, and his subsequent shorts Eki (The Station) and Kuroi Hitsuji (Black Sheep), and Nico’s Sampaguita won several awards and screened internationally. Aaron’s work has been invited to screen at The Smithsonian Institution, the Toronto International Film Festival, Japan Society, and other prestigious showcases. He is currently in development on film projects in the United States and Japan. Aaron was born and raised in Oakland, California. He graduated with degrees in both Ethnic Studies and Rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley, and with an MFA in Film from Columbia University.

Documentary Shorts Jury
Samah Ali is a distributor and film programmer hailing from Toronto, Canada. A lover of documentaries and virtual reality, her primary interests lie in short films, ethnic futurisms, and international stories. She programs for Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, DOC NYC, and Black Femme Supremacy Film Festival, serves on the Nantucket Film Festival screening committee, and previously programmed for the Toronto International Film Festival. Samah is also the founder of Sisterhood Media, a production and distribution company streaming films about community and identity on Sisterhood Media TV. You can interact with her on Twitter @sistersamah.

Documentary Shorts Jury
Skye Fitzgerald is currently directing a trilogy of films on the global refugee crisis. The first, 50 FEET FROM SYRIA, focused on doctors working on the Syrian border and was voted onto the Oscar® shortlist.  The second, LIFEBOAT, documents Search and Rescue operations off the coast of Libya and was nominated for an Academy Award® and national Emmy® award. The third, HUNGER WARD, is in the final stages of post-production. As a Fulbright Research Scholar he directed the film BOMBHUNTERS and has worked with the Sundance Institute, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the State Department, the Paul Robeson Fund and Mountainfilm. As a Director of Photography, Skye lenses work for major clients including Dateline, VICE, Mercy Corps, CNN, the Discovery, Travel, History and Animal Planet Channels. He was recently inducted as an honorary member into SAMS (Syrian American Medical Society) for his work with Syrian refugees and named a Distinguished Alumnus at his alma mater EOU for documentary work. Skye is a member of the Documentary Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Find his work at

Documentary Shorts Jury
Eric Slade is a producer at Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland. His most recent film, ROTHKO: PICTURES MUST BE MIRACULOUS (BendFilm 2019) premiered on the PBS series American Masters. Eric’s feature documentaries BIG JOY and HOPE ALONG THE WIND screened at festivals around the world, including SXSW and Tribeca, winning multiple awards. He spent five years working on the top-rated PBS shows “History Detectives” and “Great Lodges of the National Parks.” His films have received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, ITVS, the California Council for the Humanities and dozens of others.

Student Animated Shorts Jury
Amber Benson is the author of both the Death’s Daughter and The Witches of Echo Park urban fantasy series for Penguin, and the middlegrade book Among The Ghosts for Simon and Schuster. Behind the camera, she co-directed the Slamdance feature film DRONES and (co-wrote) and directed the BBC animated series “The Ghosts of Albion.” In her previous incarnation as an actor, she spent three years as Tara Maclay on the cult television series “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.”

Festival awards will be announced at the 17th annual BendFilm Festival award show on Oct 23 at 7 pm PT.