(Once Upon a River | Photo Courtesy of BendFilm)
Opening Night Will Feature The Oregon Premiere of Ski Bum: The Warren Miller Story by Patrick Creadon, Followed by a Reception at 10 Below at the Oxford Hotel
Bend, OR – BendFilm announced today the feature films selected to screen in competition at the 2019 BendFilm Festival running October 10-13 at iconic locations around Bend including the historic Tower Theatre, Tin Pan Theater, McMenamins-Old St. Francis and the Regal at the Old Mill District. The 2019 BendFilm Festival will present 45 feature films and award over $10,500 in prizes directly to independent filmmakers.
BendFilm was recently designated one of the Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals In The World by leading film trade MovieMaker Magazine. The festival takes place in the scenic town of Bend, which is regularly included in the Best Towns roundup for Outside Magazine. BendFilm fully embraces its town and gorgeous surroundings which features craft breweries, breath-taking hiking trails, miles of paths along the Deschutes River and a historic district full of delectable dining. In turn, the town of Bend, fully embraces the festival which is home to a thoughtful community of cinephiles who religiously attend films and proudly support the last Blockbuster in the world.
Todd Looby, director of BendFilm said, “This year’s festival theme is focused on ‘action’ and we hope audiences take that theme to heart in a broad yet personal way. I encourage attendees to see a film that you may not normally choose, ask a filmmaker a question and continue that conversation after the film is over. Movies have a way of creating connections and we look forward to an exciting celebration of cinema and community connections next month.”
Erik Jambor, BendFilm Festival programmer said, “This year’s film line up is a treasure trove of stories that will surprise, entertain, challenge and enchant audiences. I am thrilled to welcome this class of films and filmmakers to Bend, to generate discussion, cultivate creativity and bring our vibrant theaters to life.”
BendFilm will soon announce additional feature films, short films, panel discussions, musical acts, more special guests and intriguing street art that audiences can experience during the Festival. Previously announced are two honorees who will attend this year’s Festival: Director Ron Shelton, selected as the First Features Honoree, will host a discussion after a screening of Bull Durham. Additionally Producer Christine Vachon has been selected as the Indie Woman of the Year and the Festival will screen Four films she helped produce including First Reformed, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Boys Don’t Cry and Carol.
The Feature Films screening in the 2019 BendFilm Festival are:
OPENING NIGHT FILM:
Director: Patrick Creadon
For decades, the ski season didn’t really begin until the latest spectacular skiing film was released by Warren Miller Productions, filled with balletic, slow-motion mountain footage of death-defying ski and snowboard stunts. Director Patrick Creadon’s Ski Bum — titled after the moniker the Seattle-area legend often used for himself — celebrates the life and art of one of the most prolific sports-documentary pioneers. Based on a 2018 interview the 93-year-old Miller gave shortly before his death at his Orcas Island home, Ski Bum explores the techniques used by the veteran filmmaker, who also served as cinematographer, editor, producer — and often live narrator — of his films. Using interviews with famous daredevil skiers, never-before-seen outtakes and home movies, Ski Bum is a must-see for any ripper or shredder forever in search of the gnarliest powder. Special guests attending the screening will be announced at a later date.
NARRATIVE FEATURES COMPETITION:
Writer/director: Daniela De Carlo
It is almost Halloween as Hurricane Sandy descends upon New York, leaving destruction in her wake. As tensions rise, so do the winds, until a group of friends is abruptly plunged into darkness. Friends and neighbors come together surrendering to the purest form of human connection: face to face conversation amidst confections, libations and confessions.
Director Daniela De Carlo and producer Alexandra Creswick are scheduled to attend.
Writer/director: Lara Jean Gallagher
A heartbroken woman becomes entangled with a younger girl after breaking into her ex’s lake house in the Pacific Northwest. Equal parts psychological drama and sexual coming-of-age story, Clementine is a tense rumination on who to love and how to let go.
Writer/director Lara Jean Gallagher and producer Aimee Lynn Barneburg are scheduled to attend.
Writer/director: Tom Quinn is scheduled to attend
When the Colewell post office is slated for closure, Nora Pancowski is faced with sudden retirement. As she weighs relocating, a young woman causes Nora to reflect on her youth and the choices that led her to Colewell. Starring Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Hannah Gross (Mindhunter). Writer/director Tom Quinn is scheduled to attend.
Directors: Ruckus Skye and Lane Skye
After the disappearance of her husband, a struggling farmer in an isolated Appalachian community discovers she is a pawn in a blood-soaked revenge plot and the only way out for her and her son could mean destroying a decades-old truce. Ruckus Skye or Lane Skye is scheduled to attend.
Writer/director: Hannu Aukia
Milla is a young mother who has one last shot at making her dreams come true. Kentrell works on a web series with a partner he is falling for. Miska is so ashamed of his failed stand-up career that answering calls from his mother is out of the question. Alexis is homeless but wants to redefine what the transsexual experience is through her script. All these people hope that someone somewhere would just give them a shot. Presented in English and Finnish with English subtitles. Writer/director: Hannu Aukia is scheduled to attend.
Standing Up, Falling Down
Writer/director: Matt Ratner
Things are not going according to plan for Scott, a stand-up comedian returning to Long Island after striking out on the Los Angeles comedy scene. Wracked with doubt, Scott finds an unexpected connection with Marty, an alcoholic dermatologist with a penchant for karaoke. As their unlikely friendship evolves, they find the strength to start confronting their long-simmering regrets. Starring Billy Crystal (When Harry Met Sally), Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) and Eloise Mumford (Fifty Shades of Grey). Writer/director Matt Ratner is scheduled to attend.
Writer/director: Will Dennis
A freewheeling comedian determined to save her family business invites an uptight entrepreneur on a road trip to sell a van with a complicated history. Things are going well until their relationship is tested as they discover each other’s secrets along the way. When the van sale deteriorates, they must decide if their very new connection is worth more than a very old van. Writer/director/actor Will Dennis is scheduled to attend.
Writer/director: Paul Starkman
Max is a 19-year-old from Brooklyn who wants to make it big as a professional DJ. He has been the sole provider for his sick grandmother, DJing parties for a neighborhood shark, but things change when Max’s brother returns home after three years in prison and he finds himself at a crossroads between family obligation, the streets and pursuing his dream. Writer/director: Paul Starkman is scheduled to attend.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURES COMPETITION:
Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly
Directed by Cheryl Haines, Co-Directed by Gina Leibrecht
Central Oregon Premiere
Following the arrest and detention of the famous activist artist in China, Ai Weiwei remotely transform Alcatraz into a remarkable expression of socially-engaged art focused on the plight of the unjustly incarcerated. Human rights become profoundly personal when this monumental exhibition inspires thousands of visitors to write to prisoners of conscience worldwide. What no one expected was that the messages would actually get through and what they would mean. Presented in English, Mandarin and Arabic with English subtitles. Co-director Gina Leibrecht and producer Christy McGill are scheduled to attend.
Boom: A Film About The Sonics
Director: Jordan Albertsen
Boom tells the untold story of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s wildest and most influential bands, The Sonics. Boom takes a deep dive into exploring how a relatively unknown band from the Pacific Northwest became a worldwide phenomenon 50-years after their heyday. Featuring interviews with homegrown heroes and breakthrough artists like Pearl Jam, The Sex Pistols, Heart, Mudhoney and many, many more. Director Jordan Albertsen is scheduled to attend.
Cooked: Survival by Zip Code
Director: Judith Helfand
This film is Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand’s searing investigation into the politics of “disaster” — by way of the deadly 1995 Chicago heatwave, in which 739 residents perished. Asking open-ended questions that push people to consider what it might mean to redefine the term “disaster” and reframe the concept of “resilience,” Helfand forges inextricable connections between the cataclysmic natural disasters we’re willing to see and prepare for and the slow-motion disasters we’re not. Director Judith Helfand is scheduled to attend.
I, Pastafari: A Flying Spaghetti Monster Story
Director: Mike Arthur
West Coast Premiere
With millions of believers worldwide, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) is the world’s fastest-growing religion. I, Pastafari follows a few brave members of the church, the Pastafarians, as they fight for their religious freedom to access privileges and exceptions in law granted to other religions. Along the way, the Pastafarians force intolerant skeptics to answer the question, “What is a real religion anyway?” R’Amen. Presented in English, Dutch and German with English subtitles. Director Mike Arthur and subject Niko Alm are scheduled to attend.
Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl
Directed by Amy Goldstein
At 18, Kate Nash reached the stratosphere of pop music, vaulting from a working-class family to worldwide tours. A few years later, she is nearly homeless. Kate struggles to retain creative freedom and remain an innovative voice in the industry. A testament to the struggles of the independent artist, Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl follows one woman into hard-won maturity as a businesswoman and a creative spirit, showing other women that they can live on their own terms.
Directed by David Hambridge
Central Oregon Premiere
With the northern white rhino species on the brink of extinction, two ranger recruits are mentored by a seasoned ranger with an unorthodox approach to caring for the last northern white rhino male. Spanning over the course of the recruits’ first four years on the job, Kifaru allows viewers to experience the joys and pitfalls of conservation firsthand through the lens of the men that look into the eyes of extinction on a daily basis. Presented in English and Swahili with English subtitles. Producer Andrew Harrison Brown is scheduled to attend.
Little Miss Westie
Co-Directors: Joy E. Reed and Dan Hunt
Little Miss Westie follows two transgender siblings as they navigate puberty, family and transitioning during the Trump era. Ren is competing in the Lil Miss Westie Pageant as the first out trans-girl; coaching her is her older brother, Luca, who knows his stuff because he competed when he was Ren’s age and living as a girl. Steering clear of sentimentality, the film shines thanks to the family’s fantastic sense of humor and ‘be yourself’ ethic. Director Joy E. Reed is scheduled to attend.
WBCN and The American Revolution
Director: Bill Lichtenstein
The untold story of the radical underground radio station WBCN, set against the dazzling and profound social, political and cultural changes that took place in Boston during the late-1960s and early-70s. Told through a compelling cast of characters who connected through the radio station, militant anti-war activism, civil rights struggles and the emerging women’s and LGBTQ-liberation movements, it is the incredible true story of how a radio station, politics and rock ‘n’ roll changed everything. Director Bill Lichtenstein is scheduled to attend.
ENVIRONMENTAL / OUTDOOR ADVENTURE FEATURES:
Last Man Fishing
Director: JD Schulyer
West Coast Premiere
A cinematic look at the vastly changing seafood system through the lens of small-scale fishermen across the United States. Narrated by best-selling author Mark Bittman, the film explores the dichotomy between the industrial model of extracting food from the ocean and sustainable fishing methods that focus on conservation and quality.
Seasons of Change on Henry’s Farm
Director: Ines Sommer
For a quarter-century, Henry Brockman has worked alongside nature to grow delicious organic vegetables on his idyllic Midwestern farm. But farming takes a toll on his aging body, and Henry dreams of scaling back. While his former apprentices run the farm, Henry spends a “fallow year” with his wife Hiroko in Japan. However, things don’t turn out as planned, and Henry must grapple with the future of farming on personal, generational and global levels.
Eating Up Easter
Director: Sergio M. Rapu
Central Oregon Premiere
In a cinematic letter to his son, native Rapanui (Easter Island) filmmaker Sergio Mata’u Rapu explores the modern dilemma of their people, descendants of the ancient statue builders, as they face the consequences of their rapidly developing home.
Director: Alexander Glustrom
Central Oregon Premiere
A centuries-old Black community in Louisiana is contaminated and uprooted by petrochemical plants. As the community comes to terms with the loss of their ancestral home, one man standing in the way of a plant’s expansion refuses to give up.
Native Wisdom – The Peoples of Eastern Oregon
Directors: Tim Keenan Burgess, Lawrence Johnson
Central Oregon Premiere
Indigenous scientists and elders from several Oregon interior tribes, including the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Reservation, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde share observations of their changing environment, natural resource issues and the beauty of tribes’ traditional arts, music and storytelling.
Director: Catharine Axley
West Coast Premiere
The story of dogsled champion George Attla, from his childhood as a TB survivor in the remote Alaskan interior, through his rise as ten-time world champion and mythical state hero, and finally as a village elder resolutely training his grandnephew to race his dogs one last time.
Once Upon a River
Writer/director: Haroula Rose
The story of Native American teenager Margo Crane in 1970s rural Michigan. Margo is forced to journey on the Stark River in search of her estranged mother. As Margo uses the skills she was taught by her father to survive, Margo meets many characters along the way. Most importantly Smoke, and the two strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite the challenges, Margo is able to stay true to herself as she discovers what it means to live.