2016 BendFilm Festival Announces Award Winners

BendFilm announced its award winners in 16 categories at the festival’s awards ceremony, held at Father Luke’s Room at McMenamin’s Old St. Francis School.

Best of Show, presented by Founding Festival Sponsor, Brooks Resources, was given to filmmaker, Erica Fae for To Keep the Light, a unique film with a fascinating lighthouse-keeper heroine who is sturdy and distinctive as the Maine coastline where the story takes place. Erica Faw and To Keep the Light received a $5,000 cash prize from Brooks Resources.

The Best Narrative FeatureThe First Girl I Loved directed by Karem Sanga, in its Oregon Premiere, captured the hearts of many filmgoers with the coming of age story about 17-year Anne falling in love with the most popular girl in school. The film capture the anxiety, bravery and heartbreak of first love. The First Girl I loved won a $60,000 Panavision feature camera rental package that was made possible by Panavision.

The $1,500 cash Best Documentary Feature prize went to Growing Up Coy, directed by Eric Juhola. This film centers around a young Colorado family who engages in a highly publicized legal battle and landmark civil rights case as they fight for their 6-year-old transgender daughter Coy Mathis’s right to use the girls’ bathroom at her elementary school.

The winning films and  award amounts are listed below.

Sunday, October 9, was the final day of the festival, when a full line-up of winning films and Best of the Best were shown at the Tower Theatre and Regal Cinemas. Ron Howard’s The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years closed the festival.

“I could not be more pleased with how the festival unfolded this year. Erik Jambor and our screening committee put together our strongest program yet,” said Festival Director Todd Looby. “I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the community support, the volunteers, the filmmakers who submitted films, those who came into town for the festival, and everyone who had a hand in making this year’s festival a success.”

2016 Award Winners

Award Name + $ Amount Made Possible By Winning Film
Best of Show

$5,000 & BendFilm Award Sculpture


Brooks Resources Corporation, founding sponsor of BendFilm for the past 13 years To Keep the Light, directed by Erica Fae
Best Directing

$500 & BendFilm Award Sculpture


Independent WOMEN for Independent Film*


Night School, directed by Andrew Cohn
Best Narrative Feature

Camera Rental Package (valued at $60,000) & BendFilm Award Sculpture


Panavision First Girl I Loved, directed by Karem Sanga
Best Documentary Feature

$1500 & BendFilm Award Sculpture


J.L Ward, Co. and Business for BendFilm** Growing Up Coy, directed by Eric Juhola
Best Narrative Short

$500 & BendFilm Award Sculpture


Independent WOMEN for Independent Film*  A Beautiful Mess, directed by Shahir Zag
Best Documentary Short

$500 & BendFilm Award Sculpture


Independent WOMEN for Independent Film*


 Pickle, directed by Amy Nicholson
Best Student Short

$500 & BendFilm Award Sculpture


Made possible since 2005 by Dan and Priscilla Wieden on behalf of Caldera Arts  

Spilt Milk, directed by James Dunstan

Best Animated Short

$500 & BendFilm Award Sculpture


Independent WOMEN for Independent Film* Trial and Error, directed by Antje Heyn
Best Cinematography

BendFilm Award Sculpture


If There’s a Hell Below, directed Nathan Williams
Best of the Northwest

BendFilm Award Sculpture


 Business for BendFilm** The Child and the Dead, directed by Marc Ripper & Karina Ripper
Katie Merritt Audience Award

$500  and BendFilm Award Sculpture

Ticket sales fund this award Finding Oscar, directed by Ryan Suffern


2016 Special Jury Awards


Special Award for Visual Effects

BendFilm Award Sculpture


Icarus, directed by Bend’s own, Tom Teller
Special Award – Animation

BendFilm Award Sculpture


Fulfillment, directed by Rhianon Evans
Special Award for Originality of Vision

BendFilm Award Sculpture


The Child and the Dead, directed by Mira K. Lippold-Johnson
Best Lead Performance in a Female Role

BendFilm Award Sculpture

Jane Ackerman in Neptune
Best Lead Performance in a Female Role

BendFilm Award Sculpture

Tomas Pais in Hunky Dory


*Independent WOMEN for Independent Film: The brainchild of Pamela Hulse Andrews, bringing together this group of over 100 incredible women supporting BendFilm at a time we could use it most!  Their contribution is funding cash prizes for filmmakers as well as the awesome BendFilm award statue, branding our festival for years to come.


**Business for BendFilm: Ben Perle, Regional VP of Operations at Oxford Hotels, inspired by the Indiewomen, sought to strengthen the relationship between BendFilm and local businesses. Now close to 20 businesses are helping fund award prizes for BendFilm.

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 13th 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, Cascades Theatrical Company, and the historic Tower Theatre. Make plans now to attend October 6-9, 2016, 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 www.bendfilm.org.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *