BendFilm, Inc and OUT Central Oregon have signed a joint venture agreement to create and launch the inaugural OUT IN FOCUS FilmFest. The new annual film festival is scheduled for March 2-4, 2023 in Bend and will bring filmmakers and films focused on celebrating LGBTQ+ life experiences, diversity in the outdoors and include premieres of some of the best new films of the year.
The OUT IN FOCUS FilmFest will present recently released leading edge films to provide a winter opportunity for the community to convene, view and connect around important topics. Select screenings will include panel discussions where filmmakers and actors will be invited to provide a first-hand perspective on the filmmaking process and on issues important in our community. The festival will run concurrently with OUT Central Oregon’s annual Winter PrideFest. Films will be screened exclusively at the Tower Theatre and the Tin Pan Theater in downtown Bend.
The new festival builds on BendFilm’s 20 year legacy of bringing innovative film festival experiences to Central Oregon and continues its mission of using film’s unique power to unite the community and inspire social action. “We have collaborated with OUT Central Oregon on film events over the past several years and are excited to now take this partnership to the next
level by launching this new festival,” said BendFilm Executive Director Todd Looby. “This is a perfect opportunity to better serve our community by celebrating life experiences that have been traditionally underrepresented. We hope many smaller towns follow.”
“This Festival is timed perfectly to catch new films and filmmakers and help these important works and their artists reach larger audiences,” said BendFilm Advisor and Director Emeritus, Sundance Festival and former OutFest Director/Board Member, John Cooper. “There are very few LGBTQ+ festivals hosted in towns the size of Bend and with similar character to Bend. This Festival led by BendFilm marks a big step forward for an already remarkable organization.”
OUT Central Oregon promotes inclusivity, visibility and equality for the local Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Q+ community. “We are very excited about our innovative partnership with BendFilm on the OUT in Focus FilmFest, which allows us to bring queer film to Central Oregon on an annual basis,” Jamie Nesbitt, president of OUT Central Oregon said. “FIlm has the power to educate and inspire us all, and we hope the OUT IN FOCUS FilmFest will promote thought-provoking conversation, through the medium of film, on topics important to our community.”
Founded in 2003, BendFilm, Inc is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating independent cinema’s unique power to enrich lives, promote diversity and inspire change through vibrant educational programs and film festival experiences across Central Oregon. BendFilm’s signature event is the annual Bend Film Festival, named in 2019 as one of MovieMaker Magazine’s Coolest Festivals in the World and one of only 27 Academy-qualifying film festivals in the United States. With more than 6,000 attendees, the festival showcases more than 130 professional independent and student films and hosts a variety of public educational panels and post-screening talks with visiting filmmakers and award jurors. It also owns and operates the Tin Pan Theater – a boutique arthouse cinema located in downtown Bend’s Tin Pan Alley.
OUT Central Oregon is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that promotes inclusivity, advocacy and visibility for LGBTQ+ people by enabling and fostering community engagement through their work within the social, cultural and economic landscape of Central Oregon. Developing and building partnerships with businesses, government and other organizations to promote and support the LGBTQ+ community, OUT Central Oregon educates the LGBTQ+ community and the public by providing public discussions, lectures, documentary screenings, social gatherings and outdoor activities.