• First Features Program Established to Continue BendFilm’s Efforts To Discover and Support New Filmmaking Talent
  • Festival to Host a 20th anniversary Screening of ‘Prefontaine’ and Post-Film Discussion

Wake Forest documentary film professor Peter Gilbert in Carswell Hall on Friday, November 4, 2011.












Bend, OR – BendFilm announced today that producer and cinematographer Peter Gilbert (Hoop Dreams, Prefontaine) will moderate the second annual First Features panel on Saturday October 14, designed to pair an established filmmaker with emerging talent breaking into the business. Moderated by Peter Gilbert (Hoop Dreams, Prefontaine), panelists include first-time featured directors Jamie Brooks (Bomb City), Kate Brooks (The Last Animals), Josh Crockett (Dr. Brink & Dr. Brinks), and Jen Heck (The Promised Band). Gilbert will cover issues specific to his filmmaking journey as well as industry-wide issues emerging filmmakers may face today.  To complement the highly anticipated panel, BendFilm Festival organizers will also host a 20th anniversary screening of Prefontaine and a post film discussion.

Todd Looby, Executive Director of BendFilm, said, “Hoop Dreams made an indelible mark on the independent film community and we are honored to hear from Peter Gilbert about his journey from producing his first film to his highly anticipated narrative Prefontaine. The accompanying panel is not just for filmmakers, it will also be an illuminating conversation for any film lover who wants to make a film, but doesn’t know where to start.”


Peter Gilbert and Steve James rocketed to acclaim with the Sundance premiere of a genre-defining documentary, Hoop Dreams in 1994. In 1996, they were presented with an opportunity to make another sports-centric film. This time in the narrative world. They jumped at the chance, but knew it was a big gamble. The film they rolled the dice on was Prefontaine (1997) which cast Jared Leto in his first major feature film lead role as Oregon’s favorite running son, Steve Prefontaine. Upon its release, the film received a big “Two Thumbs Up” endorsement from Siskel and Ebert and enjoyed widespread critical recognition. The only hiccup was that there was another Steve Prefontaine film, Without Limits, scheduled to be released at virtually the same time. That film was helmed by Chinatown scribe Robert Towne and starred Billy Crudup–whose career was fast on the rise. 20 years later, both Duck fans and cinephiles alike still argue about which film is better. Peter will settle this argument at the Prefontaine screening.


About the ‘First Features’ Panel:

First Features, Then What?
Saturday, October 14, 2017 12:45 PM

PanelView all events tagged “Panel”

Taking that big leap into the great unknown world of feature filmmaking is an incredibly difficult step. Even some our most cherished directors often failed miserably in their first attempt. The filmmakers on this panel somehow got it right in their first try. Join us to hear how these filmmakers assembled the courage and resources to make their first features and their plans for making a career in film.

Moderated by: Peter Gilbert (Hoop Dreams, Prefontaine); panelists include: Jamie Brooks (Bomb City), Kate Brooks (The Last Animals), Josh Crockett (Dr. Brink & Dr. Brinks), and Jen Heck (The Promised Band)


Screening of Prefontaine at 2:45 PM, Sat. 10/14 @ The Tower:

Directed by Steve James
Produced by Peter Gilbert
Starring: Jared Leto, R. Lee Ermey, Ed O’Neill, Lindsay Crouse, and Laurel Holloman
106 min. | 1997
$11 in advance / $10 at the door

Prefontaine opens in the 1960s, with Steve (Jared Leto) as a kid whose short stature and “bad hand-eye coordination’’ make him the most hapless player on the football team. Determined to be good at something, he turns to track and uses sheer determination to win. Soon he’s being scouted by the legendary Oregon coach Bill Bowerman (R. Lee Ermey), who manufactures track shoes in his garage, using his wife’s waffle iron to mold the rubber treads. Bowerman goes on to co-found Nike, and Pre goes on to hold almost every American record at the longer distances. – Roger Ebert.


About BendFilm’s First Features program:
The BendFilm Festival discovers and supports new filmmaking talent. BendFilm programs several feature films each year by first-time filmmakers who display mature and original filmmaking technique and ability. These filmmakers are navigating a very crowded field of new and experienced filmmakers. They now have a much harder time establishing filmmaking careers in comparison to the celebrated independent filmmakers who came to prominence before the digital age. BendFilm brings in established independent filmmakers to share their experience to help mentor emerging filmmakers breaking into the industry.  The inaugural event brought in iconic filmmakers Maggie Renzi and John Sayles.




The Bend Film Festival is supported in part by a grant from the Bend Cultural Tourism Fund, Oregon Arts Commission, the Roundhouse Foundation, and the Oregon Cultural Trust

About BendFilm:
BendFilm hosts an annual independent film festival as well as year-round film exhibitions and programs. The organization is designed to support and nourish filmmakers and enrich the cultural life of Central Oregon while also providing an economic benefit to the region. Celebrating its 14th year, BendFilm is proud to bring diverse voices and visions to the Bend community. The BendFilm Festival runs every October in downtown Bend, Oregon, at The Oxford, McMenamins – Old St. Francis, Regal Cinemas, Tin Pan Theater, The Volcanic Theater, The Old Stone Performing Arts Center and the historic Tower Theatre. Make plans now to attend October 12-15, 2017, for four days of inspiring independent cinema, panels and parties, in beautiful Bend, a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, foodies, beer lovers and stunning natural scenery. BendFilm is made possible by a dedicated crew of volunteers and generous sponsors. For more information, call (541) 388-3378 or visit bendfilm1dev.wpengine.com. Connect with BendFilm on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.