BendFilm Announces the Jury for 18th Annual BendFilm Festival

Filmmakers, Industry Executives & Media Members to Give out $12,500 in Prizes Throughout the 18th Annual BendFilm Festival

BendFilm 2021 Will Present More than 40 Features & 75 Short Films

BendFilm, Central Oregon’s premiere and internationally celebrated independent film organization, has announced that this year’s jurors made up of 18 artists, journalists, executives and cultural leaders, will award $12,500 in cash prizes —  including $5,000 cash for “Best of Show” —  to short and feature films during the 18th annual BendFilm Festival.

Jurors will announce the awards in a ceremony during the Festival. Select jurors will also help with Festival events including panels, guided discussions and the Future Filmmakers program for student storytellers. Audience awards will be voted on by virtual and in-person attendees over the course of the 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. Following the festival, BendFilm will submit the winning shorts in the following categories to be considered for Oscar nominations: Best Narrative Short, Best Animated Short, and Best Indigenous Short.

Passes are on sale now for the in-person festival events October 7-10 and the streaming events October 11-17. The film schedule is live with more movie, panel and honoree announcements planned for the coming weeks.

Documentary Features Jurors For BENDFILM 2021:

Timothy Horsburgh:
Tim Horsburgh is an independent producer and distribution consultant. He is currently working with National Geographic Documentary Films on their 2021 slate. Between 2009-2021 he held various roles advancing the reach and reputation of Kartemquin Films, a period during which the organization received three Academy Award nominations, won five Emmy Awards, and was the recipient of an Institutional Peabody Award. As Kartemquin’s Director of Film Strategy, he managed an annual slate of 20+ original documentaries, with responsibilities covering acquisitions, development, creative guidance, production management, legal and business affairs, financing, and marketing, distribution and impact campaigns. Tim’s experience covers the theatrical, broadcast, and digital releases of over 60 completed films, series, and shorts; founding and managing filmmaker development programs; leading successful advocacy movements on behalf of the independent documentary field; and teaching and consulting on audience engagement and impact campaign strategies.

Rebecca Wyzan:
Rebecca Wyzan is a NY-based talent manager and producer. She supports the careers of a diverse group of emerging filmmakers, actors, musicians and activists. Her focus has been in guiding creatives through the release of their first projects and then nurturing the launch of their careers using her experience in branding, publicity and creative development.

Previously, Rebecca worked at Untitled Entertainment as a talent manager, at Tribeca Film Festival in a publicity role and at the Video Art and Experimental Film Festival in programming and coordination. She has also freelanced as a music video and commercial producer. She graduated with honors from Wesleyan University.

Cullen Hoback:
Investigative filmmaker Cullen Hoback has spent much of the last decade illuminating the intersection of technology and civil liberties. He’s appeared as a digital rights expert on outlets across the political spectrum. Hoback’s digital privacy expose Terms and Conditions May Apply (2013) has been seen by tens of millions. His scandalous political thriller What Lies Upstream (2017) aired on PBS, exposing coverups and regulatory corruption around the entire system meant to protect drinking water. His most recent HBO series, Q: Into the Storm (2021), revealed the forces behind QAnon.

Narrative Features Jurors For BENDFILM 2021:

KJ Matthews:
K.J. Matthews is an award-winning entertainment journalist. For ten years, she successfully shaped CNN’s entertainment coverage of the film and TV industry. She reported, wrote, developed and produced for all CNN platforms, including CNN International, HLN, and CNN Digital. She was also the driving force behind some of the most watched CNN stories including, CNN entertainment primetime specials, CNN Heroes and various entertainment documentaries. She was also a co-creator of the network’s coverage of the Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes and the Grammys.

Currently, she’s a regular entertainment contributor to the BBC, Germany’s DW English, and Sky News. K.J. has a bachelor of arts degree from UCLA and a master of arts degree from NYU.

Christopher Coppola:
Christopher Coppola has been a leader in digital media and cinema syntax for over a decade.  He has directed eleven feature films, television shows and produced content for alternative distribution, interactive platforms. He lectures at CES, NAB, SHOWWEST and many film festivals. Christopher is currently the Director of Cinema Projects and Studies and a tenured professor at the San Francisco Art Institute. Plaster City, his production company, is producing low-budget feature films on which film students can intern and learn by working on set alongside professionals. He has been a member of the Directors Guild of America for 24 years.

Brandon Harris:
Brandon Harris is a former Amazon Studio Executive and Filmmaker Magazine Contributing Editor, author of Making Rent in Bed-Stuy: A Memoir of Trying to Get By in New York City (HarperCollins Publishers, 2017), and writer/director of the 2012 feature film Redlegs.

Narrative Short Film Jurors For BENDFILM 2021:

Christine Dávila:
Christine Dávila is currently the Head of Development and Production for Ojalá, founded by Tanya Saracho, creator, showrunner and executive producer of Vida on Starz. Prior to Ojalá she was director of development at Warner Bros’ Stage 13, a content studio/pod.  Among the series she was lead executive and oversaw production was the Emmy nominated comedy series It’s Bruno, and the half-hour psychological horror anthology series Two Sentence Horror Stories. Previously, Davila worked on the programming teams of such festivals like the Sundance Film Festival.

Erik Jambor:
Erik Jambor co-founded the Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, Alabama in 1999. He served as Director for Sidewalk’s first eight years and, in 2006, produced the organization’s inaugural Birmingham SHOUT, Alabama’s first LGBTQ film festival. Erik ran the 2007 BendFilm Festival and was at the helm of Indie Memphis from 2008-2014. He returned to BendFilm in 2016 as Head of Festival Programming through 2020, when he went in pursuit of a film editing MFA from Ravensbourne University in London. Erik has served on numerous festival juries including Slamdance, South by Southwest and the Biografilm Festival in Bologna, Italy. This is his first year on the BendFilm Festival jury.

Warren Etheredge:
Warren Etheredge is a Storyfinder, a successful producer, published author, staged playwright, veteran festival programmer and much sought-after public speaker. He has conducted over 3,500 interviews. As a producer, his previous credits include PERSONHOOD (d. Jo Ardinger), FUREVER (d. Amy Finkel), HAPA (d. Abby Alishio), LAST REQUESTS (d. Courtenay Johnson), THE LOST MARINER (d. Tess Martin), EVEN THE WALLS (d. Saman Maydani & Sarah Kuck), LOVE BIRDS (d. Ashley Mosher), THE RAIN PONCHO (d. Andrea Rosen), EVERY BEAUTIFUL THING (d. Sonya Lea) and the webseries, THE ENCHANTED KITCHEN with Sasha Graham. He teaches screenwriting and filmmaking at the University of Washington and Cornish College for the Arts. He is one of the founding faculty of TheFilmSchool and The Red Badge Project. He has hosted multiple television series including The High Bar, Scene! & Heard, Reel NW on KCTS and ArtsLink. He is the Co-founder and Curator for the Walla Walla Movie Crush, shorts programmer for The Seattle Jewish Film Festival and director of Film Programming for the Gesa Power House Theater. Additionally, Warren is the founder of The Warren Report.

Documentary Short Film Features Jurors For BENDFILM 2021:

Michael Scheuerman:
Michael is co-producer of HUNGER WARD (2020), director Skye Fitzgerald’s Oscar-nominated documentary short on the war and famine in Yemen — a spotlight film at this year’s Bend Film Festival. His initial exposure to the film industry was working on the set of HAVANA in 1990, Sydney Pollack’s narrative on the Cuban revolution filmed in the Dominican Republic. Subsequently, he spent 25 years in the tech industry and retired in 2018. A resident of Bend, he enjoys hiking, biking, all forms of skiing, and also serves on the Advisory Board of the Bend Film Festival.

Ayo Kepher-Maat:
Ayo Kepher-Maat is the SVP of Acquisitions at DECAL. Recent acquisitions include South African eco-horror GAIA and Jake Johnson starring comedy RIDE THE EAGLE. She previously worked as director of Acquisitions at NEON, where she recently acquired Jamila Wignot’s AILEY and Theo Anthony’s ALL LIGHT EVERYWHERE at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Other acquisitions include Oscar-shortlisted DEAR COMRADES and Independent Spirit John Cassevate’s nominated KILLING OF TWO LOVERS. Ayo has previously held positions at Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, The Film Arcade and Creative Artists Agency. She’s based in Los Angeles.

Jenny Shi:
Jiayan “Jenny” Shi is a Chicago-based documentary filmmaker and video journalist who is passionate about stories that find shared humanity and compassion. Her debut documentary Finding Yingying (MTV Documentary Films) has won numerous awards including a Special Jury Recognition at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival and a China Academy Award of Documentary Films. Jenny’s work has appeared on Paramount +, BBC News, Discovery, PBS, Business Insider, Google, Tencent, etc. Jenny is a graduate of Kartemquin’s Diverse Voices In Docs program, a TFI Network alum, a fellow of the inaugural Women at Sundance Adobe Fellowship and a DOC NYC “40 Under 40” filmmaker.

Outdoor Feature and Short Film Jurors For BENDFILM 2021:

David Holbrooke:
Founder David Holbrooke is a filmmaker and cultural entrepreneur who bought in 2004, believing that film was the best way to convey the big ideas that were missing in the public dialogue. Holbrooke was a TV News Producer with the Today Show, CNN and CBS News before moving into filmmaking after watching 9/11 happen and believing that he needed to tell stories with more depth and purpose. In 2008, he became festival director of Telluride Mountainfilm, inspiring and entertaining thousands of people every year with his innovative programming. In 2015, he premiered The Diplomat on HBO, a documentary about his father, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, which told a personal story as well as a look at five decades of American foreign policy. In 2018, he started the Original Thinkers ideas festival in Telluride, CO, which has since become a burgeoning media company with live events, films and other media assets. Holbrooke lives in Telluride, CO with his wife Sarah and three kids where he rides bikes and skis.

Laurenne Ross:
Laurenne Ross was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and has been an Oregonian for 20 years since. Laurenne grew up in the mountains: skiing, exploring, and marveling at their wonder. She raced on the World Cup alpine skiing circuit for 10 years; has been to 5 World Championships and raced in the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympic Games. She has two World Cup podiums, and is a 3-time US National Champion, but an athlete is not all that she aspires to be… Art, community, and sport are her three biggest passions — she is reluctant to call herself an “artist,” but art is a fundamental driver for Laurenne. While she strives to express herself through skiing, she most loves to do it with people she connects with and to bring creativity into those actions.

Ellen Shelton:
Ellen Shelton has been involved with film festivals for a long time. She was among the small group that started Mountainfilm in Telluride in 1979 and years later became its Tour Director. After that, as Education Director, she designed “Making Movies That Matter,” a documentary film-editing program used in high schools around the country. Ellen worked full-time for The Telluride Film Festival during its early years and later programmed and wrote educational materials for a monthly film series for local students. She was part of every Telluride Film Festival from 1975-2006 and now feels very much at home with BendFilm.

Indigenous Short Film Jurors For BENDFILM 2021:

Carina Miller:
Carina Miller is a proud Warm Springs, Wasco, and Yakima mother. She was raised on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Central Oregon, where she continues to live and work for the Warm Springs Community Action Team. She has served as the Chair of the Native American caucus for the Democratic party of Oregon, the Vice-Chair of the Columbia River Gorge Commission, the treasurer of the Oregon ACLU board and was a Wasco representative on the 27th Warm Springs Tribal Council. All of her work is founded in a dream of institutional restructure and power shifting that allows for a decolonized world that empowers BIPOC people to thrive, institutionally, and generationally.

Boise Esquerra:
Boise Esquerra is a Native (Hopi) and Mexican American filmmaker who is currently enrolled in the Colorado River Indian Tribes in Parker, AZ. He is a recent graduate of the New York Film Academy (Screenwriting), where he was at the top of his class. He holds a BA in Digital Filmmaking and Video Production with an MFA in Filmmaking and has always had a great passion for the entire spectrum of his craft. Being Native American allows him an opportunity to de-stereotype much of the tropes about his culture while bringing these stories to a much more modern, universal and truthful platform. He has gone on to write and direct multiple projects, including Blackwater and Cowboy.

LaRonn Katchia:
LaRonn Katchia is a 30 year-old award-winning filmmaker and tribal member from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Oregon currently pursuing a passionate filmmaking career in Pawhuska, OK. His mission is to change the Indigenous stereotypes of film and to represent the Indigenous perspective through an authentic lens. LaRonn is currently employed by Ryan Redcorn and his ad Agency Buffalo Nickel Creative working on: A behind the scenes segment for Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi’s Reservation Dogs and the first indigenous episode of PBS’s Roadtrip Nation.

About BendFilm:
BendFilm hosts an annual independent film festival, year-round film exhibitions and programs, and is the proud owner of the Tin Pan Theater – a boutique arthouse cinema located in downtown Bend’s Tin Pan Alley. 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 18th year, BendFilm is proud to bring diverse voices and visions to the Bend community. The BendFilm Festival runs every October in Bend, Oregon. Make plans to join us October 7-17, 2021 for in-person and virtual cinema plus filmmaker workshops, panels and more. Bend is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, foodies, beer lovers and stunning natural scenery. BendFilm is made possible by a dedicated crew of volunteers and generous donors, members and sponsors. For more information, call (541) 388-3378 or visit Connect with BendFilm on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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