LA-Based Producer Makes Another Powerful Return to Bendfilm
Finding Oscar, An Epic Search to Find the Truth & to Find a Little Boy
Ryan Suffern, who partnered with local filmmaker Karin Mellberg on the BendFilm 2014 award winning documentary Final Pose, A Practice In Dying, returns to Central Oregon for BendFilm 2016 with another powerful documentary, Finding Oscar. Suffern is producer and director of Finding Oscar with film greats Frank Marshall as producer and Steven Spielberg as Executive Producer.
By coincidence or not, Suffern was in the post-production phase of Final Pose in Spring 2014, working with Mellberg, the film’s director, while also traveling to Guatemala for the filming of Finding Oscar . This past month, when Suffern shared with Mellberg the news of the BendFilm 2016 screenings, the two discussed the unexpected similarities between Finding Oscar and Final Pose.
Finding Oscar is about the search for justice in the case of the Dos Erres massacre in Guatemala in 1982. That search leads to the trail of two little boys, Oscar and Ramiro, who were abducted during the slaughter and raised by some of the very soldiers who had murdered their families. These boys offer the only living evidence that ties the Guatemalan government to the massacre.
Suffern admits a large percentage of the audience would likely tune out when confronted with a story about genocide, U.S. foreign policy, and immigration, if not for the attraction of Oscar’s story. “His story is this amazing point of access —the existential crisis of one day discovering your whole life is not what it seems—and that makes this horrific story into a fascinating and epic search to find the truth, and to find a little boy,” Suffern explained.
Similarly, Final Pose touches upon tough issues, and yet offers an amazing point of access. It is about former Sister’s resident and yoga teacher Myra Lani Fisher and her existential crisis of one day learning she has terminal cancer, and her resulting search to find her truth, and to find a way to let go of one practice, her yoga, while taking on another, her dying.
“I am thrilled Ryan is back at BendFilm with Finding Oscar ,” Mellberg shared. “I remain grateful for the fortuitous crossing of our paths at a BendFilm 2013 workshop, and Ryan’s generous offer to talk story with me. That’s the huge bonus of a festival like BendFilm which attracts so many filmmakers — it creates space for chance meetings, unexpected collaborations, and new friendships.”
Final Pose is now available online for private screening, accompanied by a film discussion guide, at www.finalposethefilm.com. Since its premiere at BendFilm 2014, FINAL POSE has been inspiring communities and loved ones to gather, reflect, and join the long taboo conversations about death and dying.