Industry Executives, Culture Leaders & Media Members to Give out $12,000 in Prizes Throughout the Oscar-Qualifying Indie Film Fest
BendFilm, announced yesterday the 17 artists, film executives and culture leaders who will award $12,000 in cash prizes — including $5,000 cash for Best of Show — to short and feature films during the 19th annual BendFilm Festival.
Short film jurors will have the honor of making three filmmakers eligible to win an Oscar as 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.
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.
Jurors will announce the awards in a ceremony, moderated by Senior Programmer Warren Etheredge, on Saturday, October 8. Select award-winning films will screen on Sunday, October 9 and tickets are live now at BendFilm.org.
Narrative Feature Film Jury:
Emily St. James
Emily St. James is a senior correspondent at Vox, where she covers American identities. She was the first culture editor for the site and the first TV editor of The A.V. Club. Her writing has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Criterion Collection, and The Baffler. She is the co-creator of the podcast Arden and co-author of the book Monsters of the Week: The Complete Critical Companion to the X-Files. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife and an ever-shifting number of cats.
For three decades, John Cooper was a member of the Sundance Film Festival programming team. In the early years, he moved from a programmer to the Director of Programming before eventually being named director in 2010. From 2010 to 2020 he oversaw all aspects of the annual Sundance Film Festival in addition to expanding ventures to Sundance Film Festival: London and Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong. Other work includes guest curator and juror at major festivals around the world. From 1995 to 1998 Cooper also served as director of Outfest held annually in Los Angeles. In 2020 he was accepted into the Academy of Motion Pictures.
Kim Kalyka is a 20 year veteran of the independent film industry who began her career at Miramax marketing such titles as Bridget Jones’ Diary and Amelie. In 2002, she joined IFC Films working on such films as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Boyhood, The Trip, Blue is the Warmest Color, Pina, and Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Currently an executive at NEON, she’s part of the team that released such notable titles as the Oscar nominated I, Tonya, Spencer, Flee, Worst Person in the World, Honeyland, and multi- Academy Award-winning Parasite.
Documentary Feature Film Jury:
Danielle McCarthy-Boles is the VP of Publicity at Magnolia Pictures. She has overseen publicity and promotion for independent film hits including Man On Wire, Melancholia, Shoplifters, The Square, and the Oscar-nominated documentaries I Am Not Your Negro and RBG among many others. McCarthy-Boles produced the critically acclaimed documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me which was released theatrically nationwide by Magnolia Pictures in 2013 and was released internationally by Universal Music Group in 2014. She holds a BFA in Cinema Studies from New York University and an MA in Media Studies from The New School.
Jeanelle Augustin is a Haitian-American film programmer and grants professional interested in redefining investment and embracing risk. Currently, Jeanelle leads the Original Voices Fellowship presented by NBCU Academy and NBC News Studios. She has programmed for CIFF, True/False, and Big Sky, led filmmaker labs and seminars for BlackStar Projects, Firelight Media, and UnionDocs, served on festival juries and funding panels for BAVC, Chicago Media Project, Creative Capital, Define American, Doc Society, Film Independent, IDA, Mezcla Media, Open City, SFFILM, and Sundance Institute.
Matt Fagerholm is the Literary Editor at ROGEREBERT.COM and a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association. He spent four years writing film coverage for HOLLYWOODCHICAGO.COM and has contributed to a variety of publications including Time Out Chicago, The A.V. Club, No Film School, and Magill’s Cinema Annual. His writing/editing experience includes serving as Assistant A&E Editor at the Columbia Chronicle and interviewing such icons as Betty White, Ed Asner and Judy Collins for the Woodstock Independent. He is the founder of Indie Outlook, a blog featuring exclusive interviews with some of the most exciting voices in modern independent filmmaking.
Indigenous, Environmental and Outdoor Jury:
Brett Campbell joined Red Bull Media House in 2015 to help manage Red Bull’s global documentary film slate, and since expanded to look after Content Partnerships across all areas for the North American market. Brett has managed campaigns and for critically acclaimed and awarded documentaries including The Alpinist, The Dawn Wall, Dear Rider, and Any One of Us. Collectively, these campaigns yielded millions in box office and streaming deals with the likes of HBO, Netflix, Discovery, BBC, and Amazon. Brett’s passion lies in building opportunities for creatives, and finding audiences for impactful, inspiring people and stories.
Cara Jade Myers
Cara Jade Myers is a Native American actor and writer who is an enrolled member of the Wichita tribe. She was accepted into the fourth annual Native American Writers Lab where she developed a TV pilot from pitch to third draft, and was a semifinalist in the ABC/Disney writers’ program. In early 2020, Cara was among 12 selected as part of A3 Artist Agency’s The Colony program, creating a TV pilot that is now in pre-production. She finished the year as a fellow of the Native American Feature Film Writers’ Lab. She has acted in a variety of indie and short films. In 2019, she was cast in an episode of the Emmy-Award winning series, This is Us. In 2021, she wrapped her role as Anna Brown in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film, Killers of the Flower Moon.
Elizabeth Zingg (they/them) is a queer Ho-Chunk person who grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and spent much of their adult life in much of the southwest/northwest and thru-hiking up the east coast. With a passion for ecology and the political frameworks of tribal, state, and federal governments, they are currently pursuing a Master’s Degree at ASU Sandra Day O’Connor with an emphasis in Environmental Law, Tribal Sovereignty, and American Indian Law.
Joanne Feinberg is an award-winning filmmaker and curator. She brings over 25 years of film production experience, and thousands of hours of thoughtful film viewing, to her work. She is currently the Senior Programmer at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, and previously Director of Programming at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and the Ashland Independent Film Festival. Joanne graduated with honors from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a combined degree in Cinema Studies and Film & TV Production. A deep love and understanding of cinema informs all of her endeavors.
LaRonn Katchia is an award-winning filmmaker and tribal member from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, currently pursuing a passionate filmmaking career in Portland, Oregon. LaRonn grew up on the Warm Springs reservation and has lived there for 18 years of his life, transitioning to the city of Portland for film school. His love and passion for film reside from the influence of the commonly mistreated portrayal of indigenous peoples in Hollywood films today.
LaRonn has recently worked on a behind-the-scenes featurette for the FX hit show Reservation Dogs and helped shoot and edit the first all-indigenous episode of PBS’ Roadtrip Nation: Native Way Forward in collaboration with Buffalo Nickel creative. Today, in collaboration with the Warm Springs Community Action Team: LaRonn is working on his first feature documentary about the transformation of a 125-year old, historic Commissary Building as it is moved and restored into a small business incubator to serve tribal
Short Film Jury:
Erik Jambor co-founded the Sidewalk Film Festival in 1999 and was Director for its first eight years. He ran the 2007 BendFilm Festival, was at the helm of Indie Memphis from 2008 to 2014, and returned to BendFilm in 2016 as Head of Festival Programming through 2020. Erik has since returned to his filmmaking/editing roots, with his short doc Tin Sandwich Blues recently completing its festival run. He has served on the jury of numerous festivals including Slamdance, SXSW, and the Biografilm Festival in Bologna, Italy. Sometimes he plays ukulele.
Jiayan “Jenny” Shi is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker who is passionate about stories that find shared humanity and compassion. Her debut documentary Finding Yingying has won numerous awards, including the Special Jury Recognition at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival and a China Academy Award of Documentary Films, and was nominated for an Emmy. Jenny’s work has appeared on Paramount +, MTV, BBC News, PBS NewsHour, among many others. Jenny is a graduate of Kartemquin’s Diverse Voices In Docs program, a Logan Nonfiction Program fellow, a Women at Sundance Adobe fellow, and a DOC NYC “40 Under 40” filmmaker.
Liz Cardenas is a 2022 Independent Spirit Award winner for Duplass Brothers Productions’ 7 Days and a 2019 Spirit Award Nominee for Never Goin’ Back. One of two narrative producers to receive the inaugural 2022 Dear Producer Grant (an unrestricted $50,000 grant), she was included in the 2019 LATINXT, a curated list of emerging Latinx creators from an initiative by Zoe Saldana, Robert Rodriguez, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Other notable credits include Alex Lehmann’s Acidman, starring Thomas Haden Church and Dianna Agron, and David Lowery’s A Ghost Story, starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck.
Michael Scheurerman is an Oscar-nominated producer of Hunger Ward, director Skye Fitzgerald’s short documentary on the war and famine in Yemen. His initial exposure to the film industry was working on Havana in 1990, Sydney Pollack’s narrative on the Cuban revolution filmed in the Dominican Republic. After 25 years in the tech industry, he retired in 2018. A Bend resident, Michael hikes, bikes, skis, and also serves on the Advisory Board of BendFilm.
Robin Honan is an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, and co-produced the Oscar-winning documentary Freeheld. In 2020, she produced the Netflix documentary What Would Sophia Loren Do?, which was shortlisted for a Best Documentary Short Subject Academy Award in 2021. Her Oscar-nominated HBO film Mondays at Racine follows a Long Island hair salon that offers free services to women undergoing cancer treatment, helping them restore a sense of beauty following the ravages of chemotherapy. With Ross Kauffman, she produced the short documentary Fire With Fire, which currently has over 25 million views on YouTube, and tells the tale of a renegade oncologist who has cured leukemia in thousands of patients by using a disarmed form of the HIV virus to attack cancer cells. Robin also directs short films and branded content for a wide range of organizations.
Tallie Medel (diverse pronouns) is an educator, multidisciplinary artist, and award-winning actor in New York City. Medel is one-third of dance comedy trio Cocoon Central Dance Team and the host of Darling Tallie, a dance comedy show and party. Film credits include Everything Everywhere All at Once, Dan Sallitt’s Fourteen and The Unspeakable Act, Caleb Johnson’s The Carnivores and Joy Kevin, and Snowy Bing Bongs Across the North Star Combat Zone, a collaboration with Rachel Wolther, Alex H. Fischer and Cocoon Central Dance Team. They teach clown, they’re a gif, and they have big juicy eyeballs.