The Vision — BendFilm Flourishes with Indie Women

BendFilm is an inspiring, passionate and economically beneficial event embraced by the community in a pretty big way. An independent film festival that was once a dot on the radar is now one of the top 50 film festivals in the world named by MovieMaker Magazine for the fourth year in a row. By Pamela Hulse Andrews

The four-day dream catcher gives our community a firsthand glance at documentaries that are gut wrenching, films that will make you laugh or cry or ponder along with a chance to meet innovative and hopeful filmmakers who are sure to find a spot in history.

BendFilm is growing in both size and national prestige. In 2015, BendFilm hosted over 60 filmmakers including Alexandria Bombach (FRAME by FRFAME), Erik Shirai (Birth of Sake), Onur Tukel (Applesauce), Todd Rohal (Uncle Kent 2), Frank V. Ross (Bloomin’ Mud Shuffle), Stephen Cone (Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party), Nicole Bernardi-Reis (Radical Grace) As well as a prestigious jury made up Film Critic Anne Thompson, Filmmaker Leah Meyerhoff (I Believe in Unicorns), Distributor Matt Grady (Factory 25) and Filmmaker Mike Ott (Lake Los Angeles).

MovieMaker Magazine included BendFilm on its list of festivals it describes “50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.” The description reads, “No, gorging on craft beer isn’t a priority for everyone... but it doesn’t hurt. Besides the 23 breweries surrounding this fest’s hub, visitors can rent out a 12-seat bar-on-wheels (the CyclePub) if they fancy. Just don’t party so hard you miss the intriguing panels, which in 2015 included a second-edition talk from Film Fatales founder Leah Meyerhoff about overcoming female filmmaker obstacles, and another about effective social media usage.

 Bendfilm thrives because it is a gift for our community and offers us the privilege, opportunity and responsibility to view great works of thought and visual integrity through film.

Five years ago, several local women fathomed the idea to create a special ‘club’ so to speak, whereby 100 women would each contribute $100 each to raise $10,000 for BendFilm awards especially for women filmmakers and directors. The group is appropriately called Independent Women for Independent Film.

Money raised is also needed to fund valuable festival activities such as filmmaker visits, lectures and workshops, as well as attendee gatherings that have helped to make the BendFilm festival successful in past years.

With four years and more than $30,000 under our belt, we are well on our way to raising another $10,000 that will help the festival’s inspiring director, Todd Looby, put on another fabulous festival in 2016.

If you want to join Indie Women, it is most assuredly not exclusive, please contact me at or just send a check made out to BendFilm to me at 404 NE Norton Ave., Bend, OR 97701.

We give in order to continue the amazing tradition of BendFilm.



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