17th Annual BendFilm Festival Set To Run October 8 – 25, 2020

BendFilm Will Present More Than 100 Independent Films Available to Stream, Drive-In Screenings and Virtual Filmmaker Discussions  


Bend, OR – BendFilm announced 26 feature films selected to screen in competition at the 17th annual BendFilm Festival running October 8 – 25, 2020.  BendFilm will continue its filmmaker-focused efforts to award over $12,000 in prizes directly to independent filmmakers in these competition categories including $5,000 for Best Of Show. 


The films are available to browse in the BendFilm virtual Festival cinema now. Passes are on sale now and individual tickets for drive-ins and virtual screenings go on sale September 25 when the schedule is live. 


BendFilm, which has been a mainstay on Movie Maker Magazine’s Top 25 Coolest Festivals in the World and Top Festivals Worth The Entry Fee will present a reimagined format with virtual screenings, drive-in movies, remote filmmaker conversations, virtual mentor sessions, virtual happy hours and film discussions among attendees. While the Festival will look different from past years, BendFilm continues to believe strongly in the power of film to entertain, foster connection, build empathy and spark crucial conversations. 


Todd Looby, Director of BendFilm, said, “This year’s festival will focus on connection given where we are at this moment in time. While the Festival will look different this year, we will now have the opportunity to grow our community far beyond the boundaries of Central Oregon where we invite people all over the world to celebrate these films and brave filmmakers.  We look forward to growing and strengthening our community through our drive-ins and virtual platform next month.”


Erik Jambor, BendFilm Head Programmer, said, “This year’s lineup showcases insightful, entertaining and remarkable stories that are bound to surprise audiences.  I look forward to connecting this year’s class of filmmakers with audiences through virtual Q&A sessions to discuss ideas, cultivate creativity and consider different points of view.”


Previously announced, First Feature honorees include Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, and Andrew Bujalski who will share their filmmaking journeys with festival audiences. Submissions are now open for a grant offering $7,500 to a BIPOC filmmaker which will be given out after a live pitch at the Festival. 







Black Conflux (Canada) | directed by Nicole Dorsey 

Northwest Premiere 

The seemingly separate lives of an anxious, disillusioned teen girl and a troubled, alienated man converge fatefully in this haunting exploration of womanhood, isolation and toxic masculinity, set in 1980s Newfoundland.


Freeland (USA) | directed by Mario Furlon, Kate McLean 

Northwest Premiere

An aging pot farmer suddenly finds her world shattered as she races to bring in what could be her final harvest, fighting against the threat of eviction as the impact of the legalization of the cannabis industry rapidly destroys her idyllic way of life.


Fully Realized Humans (USA)  | directed by Joshua Leonard 

Northwest Premiere

A month before the birth of their first child, Jackie and Elliot embark on a madcap mission of self-discovery in an attempt to eradicate the inherited dysfunction of their own upbringings.


Materna (USA) | directed by David Gutnik

West Coast Premiere

A closely observed psychological portrait of four women, whose lives are bound together by an incident on the New York City subway.


Milkwater (USA) | directed by Morgan Ingari
Northwest Premiere
Milo rashly decides to become a surrogate and egg donor for an older gay man she meets in a bar.


Our Own (Canada) | directed by Jeanne Leblanc
Oregon Premiere
A teenage girl in a small town in Quebec sets off a local scandal when she gets pregnant.


Rotten Ears (Poland) | directed by Piotr Dylewski
Northwest Premiere

A young couple face their deepest fears under the supervision of an unconventional therapist whose healing plan gets out of control.


Woman of the Photographs (Japan) | directed by Takeshi Kushida
Northwest Premiere
A misogynist photographer discovers the joy of loving a woman by using his photographic retouching skills to help her with her self-identity and self-esteem.





Can You Hear Us Now? (USA) | directed by Jim Cricchi
West Coast Premiere
CAN YOU HEAR US NOW? unravels the ways that years of one-party rule have reshaped democracy in Wisconsin, a state long known for its progressive history.


Feather and Pine (USA) | directed by Michael James Beck and Star Rosencrans
Oregon Premiere
A Northern California logging community transitions to a new generation in the wake of The Great Recession.


Film About a Father Who (USA) | directed by Lynne Sachs
West Coast Premiere
From 1984 and 2019, filmmaker Lynne Sachs shot 8mm and 16mm film, videotape and digital images of her father, a bon vivant and pioneering businessman from Park City, Utah. FILM ABOUT A FATHER WHO is her attempt to understand the web that connects a child to her parent and a sister to her siblings. 


Finding Yingying (USA) | directed by Jiayan “Jenny” Shi
Oregon Premiere
A Chinese family travels to the U.S. for the first time to look for their daughter, an international student who vanished from a university campus.


Los Hermanos/The Brothers (USA) | directed by Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider
Oregon Premiere
Separated by geopolitics, united by music, two Cuban brothers long to collaborate. Tracking their parallel lives, LOS HERMANOS/THE BROTHERS is a nuanced, intensely moving view of nations long estranged, through the lens of music and family.  


Personhood (USA) | directed by Jo Ardinger
Oregon Premiere
PERSONHOOD explores the criminalization of pregnant women as seen through the eyes of a young mother swept up in dangerous new laws.


Revival (USA) | directed by Josefina Rotman Lyons
Central Oregon Premiere
A meditation on aging, dance, and community, the film follows four legendary older choreographers as they strive to create dances with New York City seniors.


Sapelo (Switzerland) | directed by Nick Brandestini
West Coast Premiere

A journey within a unique American island to tell the story of its matriarchal griot, Cornelia Walker Bailey, and her adopted sons, coming-of-age in the last remaining enclave of the Saltwater Geechee people.


Somewhere With No Bridges (USA) | directed by Charles Frank

West Coast Premiere

Twenty years after a beloved local fisherman goes missing off the shores of Martha’s Vineyard, a distant cousin locates his kind, indelible spirit in the stories of family, friends, and the sweeping sea which has defined their lives. 


This is Tim: A Musical Life (USA) | directed by Tiffany Ellis
Central Oregon Premiere

The artistic journey of Oregon Music Hall of Fame guitarist Tim Ellis and his choices when faced with every artist’s dilemma: a life on the road, on stage and in the spotlight; or a life at home, raising a young and growing family. 





Cholitas (Spain) | directed by Jaime Murciego and Pablo Iraburu
Northwest Premiere
Five Bolivian indigenous women are involved in a unique expedition. As a symbol of liberation and empowerment, they propose to climb the highest mountain in America, The Aconcagua.


Spawning Grounds (USA) | directed by Nils Cowan 

Oregon Premiere

 In an effort to save a rare Native salmon, a community of scientists, landowners, elected officials and Tribal leaders bands together around science and Indigenous knowledge.


Warrior Women (USA) | directed by Christina D. King and Elizabeth A. Castle
The story of mothers and daughters fighting for indigenous rights in the American Indian Movement of the 1970s.





The Falconer (USA) | directed by Annie Kaempfer
Oregon Premiere
Rodney Stotts is on a mission to build a sanctuary for injured birds of prey. A falconer guided by the healing power of nature, Rodney becomes the unlikely hero of a new environmental movement in his stressed Washington DC community.


A Moment in the Sun (USA) | directed by Leslie Ortabasi and Oktay Ortabasi
US Premiere
The epic journey of the solar tandem bicycle and the solar pioneers who raced it.


Samuel Herbert Boardman, The Father of Oregon State Parks (USA) | directed by Kevin Clark
World Premiere

Through strength of will and perseverance, Samuel Herbert Boardman built one of the best state park systems in the country as the first superintendent of state parks in Oregon.


Spawning Grounds (USA) | directed by Nils Cowan 

Oregon Premiere

In an effort to save a rare Native salmon, a community of scientists, landowners, elected officials and Tribal leaders band together around science and Indigenous knowledge.


With Spirit (USA) | directed by Scott Almendinger McGrath 

Festival Premiere
After experiencing loss, new mother and accomplished endurance athlete Chelsey Magness races through grief at the edge of the world.


Wolves Return (Switzerland) | directed by Thomas Horat 

US Premiere

The wolf polarizes and fascinates. 150 years after the wolf was wiped out of Central Europe, it is inexorably conquering its place.