BendFilm Announces Spotlight & Local Focus Films for 18th Annual BendFilm Festival

((L-R) The Capote Tapes, The Rescue, Becoming Cousteau | Photos courtesy of BendFilm)

BendFilm has announced the Spotlight and Local Focus films selected to screen during the 18th annual BendFilm Festival running October 7-17, 2021. The film schedule is live and passes are on sale for Central Oregon’s premiere independent film festival. New this year, BendFilm Festival is now recognized by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as one of 64 film festivals in the world (27 festivals in the USA) that is Oscar-qualifying for short films.

Selin Sevinc, BendFilm head programmer, said, ”Spotlight films are curated by our staff after rave receptions at film festivals around the world including Cannes, Toronto and Sundance and more. BendFilm is delighted to bring these gripping, dramatic and poetic stories to Central Oregon audiences in October.”


Becoming Cousteau | directed by Liz Garbus

Two-time Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus takes an inside look at Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s life, iconic films, inventions and the experiences that made him the 20th century’s most unique and renowned environmental voice — and the man who inspired generations to protect the Earth.

For the Left Hand | directed by Gordon Quinn and Leslie Simmer

At age 5, Norman discovered he was a natural at the piano. Tragically, when he turned ten, his father attacked him with a hammer to the head, leaving him paralyzed on his right side. Undaunted, Malone began a lifelong quest to reclaim his place at the piano and launched a much-delayed, triumphant concert career.

No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics | directed by Vivian Kleiman

Five scrappy queer comic book artists journey from DIY work and isolation to the cover of Time Magazine and the international stage, offering a fascinating window into everything from the AIDS crisis and workplace discrimination to the search for love and a good haircut.

The First Wave | directed by Matthew Heineman

The first wave of the pandemic and one of New York’s hardest-hit hospital systems. A group of doctors’, nurses’ and patients’ distinct storylines each serve as a microcosm through which we can view the emotional and societal impacts of the pandemic, and are a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

The Rescue | directed by E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin

An outing to explore a nearby system of caves after soccer practice transformed into a two-week saga of survival and a story that would capture the world’s attention. The story of the imagination, determination and unprecedented teamwork displayed during this heroic edge-of-your-seat mission with life-or-death stakes. Closing Night Film.

Torn | directed by Max Lowe

In Torn, National Geographic Explorer Max Lowe turns the lens on his own family, as the body of his father is uncovered 17 years after his death.

The Capote Tapes | directed by Ebs Burnough

Using the tapes, animation and new on-camera interviews with people who knew him, the film explores the impact of Capote’s explosive unfinished novel Answered Prayers.


Bergman Island | directed by Mia Hansen-Løve

A couple retreat to the island that inspired Ingmar Bergman to write screenplays for their upcoming films when the lines between reality and fiction start to blur.

Language Lessons | directed by Natalie Morales

Adam’s (Mark Duplass) husband surprises him with weekly Spanish lessons. When tragedy strikes, his Spanish teacher, Cariño (Natalie Morales), becomes a lifeline he didn’t know he needed.

Paris, 13th District | directed by Jacques Audiard

Paris, 13th District today. Émilie meets Camille who is attracted to Nora, who crosses the path of Amber. Three girls and a boy redefine what modern love is.

The Humans | directed by Stephen Karam

Erik Blake has gathered three generations of his Pennsylvania family to celebrate Thanksgiving at his daughter’s apartment in lower Manhattan. As darkness falls outside and eerie things start to go bump in the night, the group’s deepest fears are laid bare. The piercingly funny and haunting debut film from writer-director Stephen Karam, adapted from his Tony Award-winning play, The Humans explores the hidden dread of a family and the love that binds them together.

The Novice | directed by Lauren Hadaway

An obsessive novice rower climbs the ranks of her college’s rowing team.


Films made by Central Oregon filmmakers, stories with local themes or filming locations.

Built to Burn | directed by Courtney Campbell

Can we ready ourselves to manage fire, or will we continue to scramble in disbelief? Either way, the fires are coming.

Farm to Families | directed by Katherine Roselli

Here’s how Rogue Valley community volunteers collaborated to address food insecurity in the 2020 Summer of Covid.

Getting A Head | directed by Jacob Logan Barth

An absurd and dark-comedic tragedy about a man, his best friend and their new roommate.

Link Sar | directed by Graham Zimmerman

An elite American alpinist navigating his relationships and motivations while attempting to climb and survive one of the world’s most challenging unclimbed peaks: Link Sar, in the high mountains of Pakistan.

Near/Miss | directed by Benjamin Higgins & Dan Attias

The prelude to a love story which focuses on the serendipitous encounters and dream life of a young man and woman.

Tai Chi Spirit | directed by Tim Cash

There are three levels of Tai Chi: the physical, the mental and the spiritual. This documentary follows martial art students from Bend to China as they learn that to pursue your passion takes perseverance, understanding and heart, with guidance from a local master from China. • 541-388-3378

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