Film nonprofit fosters filmmaking community
& expands industry engagement with new educational retreat

Christine Vachon, Aaron Schimberg, other industry advisors
to guide 40 aspiring filmmakers

BEND, OR — BendFilm, the nonprofit independent cinema organization, today announced BendFilm: Basecamp, a three-day immersive retreat for emerging creatives and their industry counterparts to connect, learn and collaborate. BendFilm: Basecamp will take place at Caldera Arts outside Sisters, Oregon, from October 7-10, 2024, and flow directly into the 21st annual Bend Film Festival (which takes place October 10-13, 2024, across venues throughout Bend and beyond). BendFilm: Basecamp’s inaugural year is made possible, in part, by the generosity of the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

“Creating films is enormously rewarding – and notoriously challenging,” said Giancarlo Gatto, BendFilm’s Executive Director. “As the only nonprofit arts organization in Central Oregon with access to both seasoned film professionals and cutting-edge emerging artists, we’re thrilled to convene this first cohort at BendFilm: Basecamp. It’s our responsibility to ensure that the art’s creators are well-resourced and nurtured, and that must start on a local, community level.”

At the inaugural BendFilm: Basecamp, 40 filmmakers will gather with seasoned industry veterans for a robust lineup of panels, pitching workshops, breakout discussions, practical training and mentor one-on-ones surrounded by the scenic beauty of fall in Central Oregon. John Cooper, former director of the Sundance Film Festival and co-host of the hit podcast The Film That Blew My Mind, will serve as BendFilm: Basecamp’s Artistic Director, working in tandem with BendFilm Director of Education Clay Pruitt.

“Especially in the present climate, storytellers and filmmakers need community to thrive,” said Cooper, “Bringing together experienced professionals to advise emerging creators as they pursue their ambitions creates realistic, yet optimistic, progress.”

Killer Films’ Christine Vachon (producer, May December, Past Lives) and filmmaker Aaron Schimberg (writer/director, Chained for Life, Go Down Death) are the first to sign on and will present a case study of their new film A Different Man, which premiered at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival and will be released by A24 this September.

Vachon said “BendFilm’s festival has always provided a place where emerging filmmakers and their work could be celebrated. Leading up to this year’s event, I’m looking forward to participating in the inaugural BendFilm: Basecamp to guide the next generation of screenwriters, directors, or producers to what the next phase of their careers may look like.”

The full program is currently being developed responsively using data collected by in-depth surveys of established and beginning filmmakers and selected attendees. The program’s hands-on training and collaborative mentorship will develop both community and individual expertise; attendees will step into the 2024 Bend Film Festival (and the rest of their careers) inspired, informed and alert to the possibilities of the form. Applications for filmmakers are open now through July 21, 2024; these will be reviewed by a Selection Committee and BendFilm staff to intentionally compose a slate of visionary filmmakers and tenacious producers. Tuition for the all-inclusive retreat is $1,500, and as part of BendFilm’s commitment to amplifying diverse artistic voices from underrepresented backgrounds, the organization will underwrite full scholarships for 20% of the inaugural cohort. All selected filmmakers will be entered to take part in a pitch competition with a $5,000 cash prize, an unrestricted grant to further their creative endeavors.

“This targeted, industry-focused addition to BendFilm’s year-round educational offerings creates a unique opportunity for the local community to come together around emerging talent,” added Pruitt, who oversees sponsorship and support opportunities for corporate and institutional supporters, as well as program design and production.

Supporters to date, in addition to Caldera Arts and the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, include Hydro Flask, The Suttle Lodge & Boathouse, and Stoller Wine Group. Bespoke sponsorship opportunities for BendFilm: Basecamp are available across various levels.