BendFilm – A Look Inside Four Films

by RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor

c4As the eighth year of BendFilm approaches, anticipation is building for what has become a truly integral cultural event for Central Oregon. Taking place in five venues around Bend Sisters, the relaxed atmosphere of the festival attracts independent filmmakers makes BendFilm one of the top ten film festivals in the country.

Over 80 films will be shown in the following categories: narratives, documentaries, conservation, shorts student shorts. At least half of the films will be represented by directors, writers, actors producers coming to Bend for the festivities taking part in panel discussions question answer sessions at the end of the films.

Movie lovers will find many topics of interest in the various films, we have highlighted a few that caught our attention with a look at the motivations hopes of four filmmakers.

BendFilm’s non-commercial cinema experience not only attracts viewers because of the independent view of chosen subject matter, but because the filmmakers themselves seem to have one important thing in common: true passion for the subject matter.

Stepping into the Stream
This is a conservation film from director Barbara Klutinis who has been touring the film festival circuit extensively with her cinematic look at women in the fly fishing world.
“I started fly fishing myself 11 years ago thought it would make interesting subject matter, especially because I had never seen any media that showed or addressed women in the streams. It was all guy stuff,” said Klutinis.
More than being a film about fishing, she wanted to highlight the connection with nature one can find by stepping into an ice cold stream in the early morning, surrounded by silence, alone with one’s thoughts. It is about adventure, trying something new later in life discovering a community of shared experience.
“I hope some women will be inspired to try something new. I hope that people in general will underst how special it is being a part of nature on the streams. I hope that some people note the presence of women in this sport.”
Stepping into the Stream will be shown on October 7 at 12:15pm, McMenamins October 8 at 10:30am, Sisters Movie House.

PEDAL-DRIVEN: a bike-umentary
Because Bend is a town driven in part by the incredible recreational opportunities in the area, PEDAL-DRIVEN: a bike-umentary should prove to be a popular film in the festival. Focusing on the escalating conflict between mountain bikers the public l they ride on, Director Jamie Howell filmed around the northwest ( in Bend) to pose the question, “Is there room for mountain bikers in the American l scape?”
Originally filming in Leavenworth for some recreation footage, Howell was shooting a group of mountain bikers when, “we were informed that we couldn’t tell anybody where it was shot, because all the trails were illegal,” he said. “We soon discovered that all over the country ‘free-riders’ as they are known, are out building illegal trails on public l s, as well as jumps structures to ride battling with federal l managers such as the US Forest Service the BLM. This turned into the basic premise for Pedal-Driven, in which we investigate that battle the emerging solutions.”
With sustainability at the heart of the issue, Howell commented, “Mountain biking is exploding around the world. We will have to find new, cooperative approaches that both allow it as a legitimate use manage it in a way that prevents the destruction of our precious limited natural spaces.”
PEDAL-DRIVEN: a bike-umentary will be shown October 8 at 12:30pm, McMenamins October 9 at 7pm, Sisters Movie House.

Free World
Another hot topic on the festival line-up in the short film category comes from local filmmaker, Ashley Michael Karitis. In Free World, Karitis tackles the issue of nuclear weapons when she shadowed a group of 18 Americans from Tacoma, Washington, on a journey to Hiroshima Nagasaki to apologize for the atomic bombings.
“I still remember feeling baffled when I first heard about the Journey of Repentance,” said Karitis, “I realized that their mission was rooted in a deep desire to interact with hear the stories of the Hibakusha (survivors of the A H Bombs), that the goal was not simply to apologize but rather to become a catalyst to stir the people of the U.S. into a consciousness around the evils of nuclear weapons, I began thinking how extraordinary it would be to document their travels.”
Karitis wants to use the film to reignite a dialogue about nuclear weapons to counteract what she calls, “alarming indifference among Americans toward nuclear weapons.”
Free World will be shown October 7 at 10am, McMenamins.

Sawdust City
Filmmaker David Nordstrom is coming to BendFilm from the unique position of writing, directing acting in his narrative film, Sawdust City. Set in the winter l scape of his home town of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Nordstrom wanted to frame the story of complicated sibling rivalry in a winter bar crawl – by snowmobile.
“In the winter it’s like all the rich community activity moves into the neighborhood bars roadside taverns.  People ride snowmobiles from watering hole to watering hole.  I’ve just always thought it was a very romantic milieu in it’s way. I used this winter bar-crawl phenomenon to structure the story,” said Nordstrom. “From the earliest drafts of the script, I imagined the story as a Lord of the Rings type quest set in a realist, miniature scale.”          
Nordstrom didn’t find holding three major roles in the filmmaking particularly challenging, saying, “In my experience, it’s just an extra level of control.  You can’t really direct while the camera’s rolling anyway; you have to do it between takes. There’s also an advantage to watching the other performances from within the scene as a fellow actor. You feel tightly connected to the other performers.  You’re right out there with them.”
As a fellow cheese-head, I am looking forward to seeing Wisconsin on the big screen discovering, as Nordstrom states, “…things everyone can relate to but can never fully underst .”
Sawdust City will be shown October 7 at 10am, Regal Old Mill October 8 at 6:30pm, Regal Old Mill.

Tickets a full schedule are available at www.bendfilm.org.


BendFilm 2011 Jurors

The panel of six jurors at this year’s BendFilm festival will have the challenging job of choosing the best of the best films. Each jury member will pick their favorite film for the rest of the group to watch, as a group, they will decide the winners.

Sharon Badal
Head short film programmer for the Tribeca Film Festival has been with the festival since its inception has produced special projects for various Tribeca entities since 1999. She is the author of Swimming Upstream – A Lifesaving Guide to Short Film Distribution. Badal is on the faculty at NYU Tisch School of the Arts Kanbar Institute of Film & Television. She previously held executive positions in motion picture distribution marketing for United Artists/MGM, Warner Brothers, Orion Pictures has extensive live-event producing experience. She holds a B.F.A in film & television an M.A. in cinema studies/business from NYU.

Audrey Chang
Manages the Golden Gate Awards competition programs feature documentaries short films for the San Francisco International Film Festival. Before joining the San Francisco Film Society in 2006, she worked as assistant editor visual effects editor on documentary narrative feature films in Boston, New York Los Angeles for over 20 years. Audrey began her career in post-production at WGBH Boston in 1984 worked as an apprentice editor on Eyes on The Prize before moving to New York in 1986. Selected film credits include Barbara Kopple’s Oscar-winning documentary American Dream Vincent Ward’s What Dreams May Come, which won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects in 1999.

Christian Gaines
Joined the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival in 1988, serving as its administrative director for six years.  In 1994, he was appointed film programmer at the Sundance Film Festival, programming the 1995-96 festivals.  He later served as festival director director of programming for the Hawaii International Film Festival.  Then served as director of festivals at the American Film Institute, where he worked on several festivals including AFI FEST. During this time, Gaines was key to the launch planning of SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival, was instrumental in developing a strategic alliance with the American Film Market oversaw the rapid development of AFI’s Los Angeles-based, year-round exhibition programs. Recently, he joined the Withoutabox division of IMDb.com, where he focuses on festival strategy business development.

Dana Harris
Los Angeles-based editor-in-chief general manager of indieWIRE. She spent nearly eleven years at Variety in roles that included film reporter, creating lifestyle section Variety Weekend, serving as editor of Variety.com developing new products for the publication’s website. She has covered virtually all of the world’s major film festivals has participated as a moderator panelist at SXSW, Digital Hollywood the DGA, among others. She also had a life as a sous-chef, a restaurant critic an editor for Fine Cooking.

Bill Plympton
Considered the King of Indie Animation is the only person to h draw an entire animated feature film. Born raised in Portl , he moved to New York City in 1968. He began his career creating cartoons for publications such as The New York Times, National Lampoon, Playboy Screw.  In 1987 he was nominated for an Oscar for his animated short, Your Face.  In 2005, he received another Oscar nomination for a short film Guard Dog.  After producing many shorts that appeared on MTV Spike Mike’s, he turned to feature films. Since 1991 he’s made nine feature films, six of them animated: The Tune, Mondo Plympton, I Married A Strange Person, Mutant Aliens, Hair High Idiots Angels.

Ondi Timoner
The only director to win the Gr Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival twice. Both features documentaries, DIG! (2004), exploring the collision of art & commerce through the lives of two b s We Live In Public (2009), about an internet visionary & the loss of privacy in the internet age are in MOMA’s permanent collection. She directed the socio-political feature documentaries, Join Us (2007), about the cult epidemic in the U.S. Cool It (2010) – about the polarizing logjam of the climate change debate.  She is currently filming a documentary series about tech startups is slated to direct Mapplethorpe, about controversial photographer, starring James Franco.

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