Big Sonia is the story of an unlikely hero: Sonia Warshawski survived the Holocaust to make a new life. Standing tall at 4’8” Sonia is one of the last remaining Holocaust survivors in Kansas City and one of the only survivors there who speaks publicly about her wartime experience. Sonia’s enormous personality and fragile frame mask the horrors she endured. At 15 she watched her mother disappear behind gas chamber doors. Sonia’s teenage years were a blur of concentration camps and death marches. On liberation day, she was accidentally shot through the chest, yet again miraculously survived. Sonia is the ultimate survivor, a bridge between cultures and generations.
Northwest-made Big Sonia is thrilled to be part of BendFilm 2017 according to Producer/Co-Director Leah Warshawski, who produces award-winning documentary-style features, television, commercials and branded entertainment in remote parts of the world. Big Sonia won the Jury Prize and the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at its premiere at the Napa Valley Film Festival, Audience Award at the Mendocino Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Barcelona International Film Festival.
ON LOCATION IN BEND
Shut Up Anthony is Kyle Eaton directorial debut screening at the BendFilm on October 14. “We are thrilled to not only play the BendFilm because it’s an amazing fest… but also because we shot Shut Up Anthony on location in Bend and Sunriver,” exclaims Eaton.
“As an Oregon Native, I was excited to shoot this film with a Portland-based crew. Oregon-based Composer Mark Orton (Nebraska) scored the film. We were able to put together a soundtrack comprised of Oregon musicians like Richmond Fontaine, Annalisa Tornfelt, Barna Howard & Caleb Klauder. This truly is an Oregon Made Film.”
Shut Up Anthony just had its New York Premiere at the Brooklyn Film Festival where it won the Spirit Award for narrative feature. It just played the Sidewalk Film Festival and had its world premiere at Cinequest.
Wandering Wolverine Productions proudly features the documentary film, Earth Seasoned…#Gap Year at the Festival. The filmmakers plan to be in full attendance as this is a special festival and homecoming for director, Molly Kreuzman. Back in 2004, the year of the festival’s debut, Molly was part of the team to deliver the newly refurbished Tower Theatre as the festivals main stage.
“Of course Molly’s film was selected. Having witnessed her ingenuity behind the art scene, it’s absurd to assume her shift from back to front stage would be anything but inspired and enormously successful,” commented Katie Merritt, founder and original director at BendFilm. Merritt plans to travel from Portland to attend her old chum’s screening Sunday, October15 at 10am at the Tower Theatre.
Earth Seasoned…#GapYear answers the question of what happens when five college-aged women commit to a year of living “semi-primitively” in the Oregon Cascade Mountains. In order to survive, they must quickly trade their comfortable lives of easy utilities and electronics for the skills of traditional indigenous people: fire-by-friction, shelter building, gathering edible and medicinal plants, tracking animals and practicing daily nature meditations.
Together, these women show us the profound gifts nature offers.
2017 BendFilm Festival
Spotlight & Late Night Feature Films
Festival program will present 35 feature films from five countries.
BendFilm unveils Spotlight Narratives, Spotlight Documentaries, Foreign Language, Local Focus and Late Night Feature films set to screen at Festival. Spotlight films are higher-profile programmer favorites that have previously screened at other festivals and often already have distribution.
All the Rage (Saved by Sarno)
Directed by Michael Galinsky, Suki Hawley & David Beilinson
America is experiencing an epidemic of pain. One man has the answer to the problem, yet the medical establishment has ignored him. For nearly 50 years, Dr. John Sarno has been single-handedly battling the pain epidemic by focusing on the mind-body connection and the nature of stress and the manifestation of physical ailments. Using a first-person approach to explore the work of Dr. Sarno and his radical methods to treating back pain, All the Rage examines the connection between emotions and health.
Dog Years | Directed by Adam Rifkin
Vic Edwards was one of the biggest movie stars in the world, known for his mustachioed good looks and cocky swagger. With his Hollywood glory a distant memory, the now-octogenarian Vic is prompted to reassess his life with the passing of his beloved dog and the arrival of an invitation to receive a lifetime achievement award from the International Nashville Film Festival. Burt Reynolds stars in this universal story about growing old.
Dealt | Directed by Luke Korem
One of the most renowned card magicians of all time, Richard Turner astounds audiences around the world with his legendary sleight of hand. What they may not even realize — and what makes his achievements all the more amazing — is that he is completely blind. Charting Turner’s colorful life from his tumultuous childhood to the present, Dealt reveals how through determination and force of will, he overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to rise to the top of his profession.
Liberation Day | Directed by Morten Traavik & Ugis Olte
Under the loving but firm guidance of a longtime fan turned filmmaker and cultural diplomat, and to the surprise of a whole world, the ex-Yugoslavian cult band Laibach becomes the first rock group ever to perform in the fortress state of North Korea. Confronting strict ideology and cultural differences, the band struggles to get their songs through the needle’s eye of censorship before they can be unleashed on an audience never before exposed to alternative rock ‘n’ roll. Meanwhile, propaganda loudspeakers are being set up at the border between the two Koreas and a countdown to war is announced.
Lucky | Directed by John Carroll Lynch
The spiritual journey of a ninety-year-old atheist and the quirky characters that inhabit his off-the-map desert town. Having outlived and outsmoked all of his contemporaries, the fiercely independent Lucky finds himself at the precipice of life, thrust into a journey of self exploration, leading towards that which is so often unattainable: enlightenment. Lucky is a love letter to the life and career of Harry Dean Stanton as well as a meditation on mortality, loneliness, spirituality and human connection. Starring Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ed Begley Jr. and Tom Skerritt.
No Man’s Land | Directed by David Byars
With unfettered access, Director David Byars gives a detailed, on-the-ground account of the 2016 standoff between protesters occupying Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and federal authorities. After the leaders of this occupation put out a call to arms via social media, the Malheur occupiers quickly bolstered their numbers with a stew of right-wing militia, protesters and onlookers.
Walking Out | Directed by Alex & Andrew Smith
An estranged father and son are forced to rely on one another to survive an unforgiving wilderness in this riveting, richly emotional thriller. Once a year, fourteen-year-old David travels from his mother’s home in Texas to visit his loner father, Cal, in the remote mountains of Montana. There, the two embark on their annual hunting excursion, during which the taciturn Cal attempts to connect with his smartphone-addicted son. But when a terrifying turn of events leaves Cal critically wounded, it’s up to the teenage David to summon enough strength for both of them.
The Misogynists | Directed by Onur Tukel
Cameron is a lonely businessman and Trump supporter who has recently separated from his wife of 35 years. Now living on his own in a hotel room, he celebrates Election Night with his sad-sack protégé Baxter who is experiencing marital woes of his own. As the night progresses and the two men begin to sense the historic political upset that is playing out before their eyes, their beliefs, motivations and identities are challenged. Starring Dylan Baker and Jamie Block.
Revengeance | Directed by Bill Plympton & Lim Lujan
The latest feature from Oscar-nominated animator Bill Plympton, co-created with underground animation veteran Lim Lujan, Revengeance follows a low-rent bounty hunter named Rod Rosse, The One-Man Posse, who gets entangled in a web of danger when he is hired by U.S. Senator Deathface to find the girl who stole a package.
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 Festival runs every October in downtown Bend, 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.
October 12-15 — 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.