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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

BendFilm: Twenty Million People

Posted By on Wed, Oct 2, 2013 at 10:00 AM

The modern romantic comedy is a joke. The genre fosters the fantasy of charming men who stalk ex-lovers through airports (creepy), come to the church to break up your wedding (annoying), and Peter Gabriel fans who are willing to stand stoically in the rain with boom boxes all in the name of undying love (also creepy).
Twenty Million People, an independent comedy that will show at BendFilm in October, asks the next intuitive question of the rom-com: What happens after the big kiss? After the music swells and the leads finally admit their quirky flaws and their love for each other? With a healthy dosage of jaded cynicism and what nearly every rom-com lacks (e.g., reality), writer, director, producer and actor Michael Ferrell asks how it can be that in New York City, a metro area of nearly 20 million, it's nearly impossible to find someone you're genuinely interested in—and the mess that can come after you do.

Twenty Million People Official Trailer from Escape Pod Films on Vimeo.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

BendFilm: Finding Hillywood

Posted By on Tue, Oct 1, 2013 at 2:38 PM

SHOWING Friday, October 11; 12:30 @ Oxford; Saturday, October 12 @ 10:30 am @ Regal 2

FINDING HILLYWOOD (2013) documentary trailer from Inflatable Film on Vimeo.

In April 1994, the central African nation of Rwanda was ripped apart in ethnic violence. Over one month, more than one million Rwandans were murdered; many hacked to death by machetes. It is one of the most gruesome genocides in world history—and, at 2 minutes 25 seconds into the hour-long documentary film Finding Hillywood, the horrific event is first mentioned in a chilly personal story from Ayuub, the stoic man at the center of this movie.
After being lured into a church, being promised safe haven, his mother was killed with several other hundred women when other villagers locked the doors and threw several hand grenades into the building. At the time, Ayuub was living in nearby Uganda. The event sent his life into a decade-long struggle with drugs and mental anguish. He still carries pain and defeat on his face, but film, quite literally, is redeeming his life.
The genocide rightfully underscores this entire film, yet Finding Hillywood is actually an uplifting film, a raw story about redemption and, more generally, a case-study about exactly how and why film matters.
After the genocide, a few motion pictures were filmed in the country—namely, Forest Whitaker’s “The Last King of Scotland.” Interactions with international media and filmmakers inspired a few enterprising men—and a couple women—to start their very own film school, and to try to germinate their own “Hillywood,” a modest industry that produces narrative films—most based on personal stories from the genocide, and attempts at articulate the horror that the country has undergone. And each year, these films travel over 14 days to be screened in seven different cities and villages at an inflatable screen.
Finding Hillywood is a lush film that carefully and calmly profiles several of the men and women producing these films. It is a sincere, and ultimately inspiring, movie about why film actually can and does matter.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

BendFilm Kick Off Party!

Posted By on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 4:26 PM

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The BendFilm 10th anniversary kick off party starts at 6pm tonight at Deschutes Brewery (upstairs, 1044 NW Bond St.). The event features live music, IPA tasting, and a chance to check out the new BendFilm lineup for this year. Tickets are $25 at the door.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Best Movie of the year! (So far)

Posted By on Wed, May 29, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Can we talk about Matthew McConaughey for a bit? Okay, we can talk about him all day long if you want.
We are in the middle of watching an extraordinary career arc. For a while, the once-promising career seemed to be sagging into mundane, easy-to-digest but forgettable films (How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, some other films where he lounges shirtless). But in recent years (like, the last two) McConaughey has cashed in on the original promise he showed - as a dangerous, leering but likable character in Dazed & Confused.
This latest, Mud, is remarkable. Moody and southern, the film is a love story and a mystery, reverberating with themes of love, loyalty and betrayal. Really until the final scenes, it isn't clear whether McConaughey's character, Mud, is good or evil, crazy or clever - and he plays that line wonderfully; never pandering, just being.
Yes, he does go shirtless (and the woman next to me in the theater audibly gasped when he finally "revealed" late in the movie), but it is his profoundly earnest acting that is finally propping up his career. Hoo-RAY for McConaug-HEY!

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

BendFilm Makes Top 50 List

Posted By on Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 2:53 PM

MovieMaker.com just named BendFilm in the top 50 best bang for your buck film festivals in the world.

bend_film.jpg

The decade old festival takes place every fall in downtown Bend. Last year, flicks were shown at the Tower, McMenamins, 2nd St. Theater, Tin Pan and in the Old Mill.

It may not be SXSW or Sundance, but we've got a gem here for movie makers and film goers alike.

The accolade is presented from the perspective of filmmakers, who spend thousands of dollars submitting their art to festivals, which can be especially rough on small independent film budget.

BendFilm will host a fundraiser for the festival tonight at Desperado with members of BendFilm's Inde Women project and an opportunity to renew 2013 BendFilm membership. 10 percent of any purchase will go to BendFilm. —404 NE Norton Ave.

Here is what Movie Maker had to say about BendFilm:

BendFilm Festival
Bend, OR; www.bendfilm.org
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Bend has stayed committed to the ideal that, at a film fest, the moviemaker is king—and should be treated as such. The fest offers a range of generous cash awards, including a $5,000 grand prize for Best in Show, as well as $500 cash prizes in six other categories. One of the most coveted awards is Best Narrative Feature, the winner of which receives a Panavision camera package worth $60,000.

See the full list of winners here.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

SCREENING TONIGHT: It's a Disaster

Posted By on Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 10:52 AM

David Cross is hilarious. You may remember him from such awesome shows as Arrested Development, where he played Tobias Fünke.
Cross is back in It's a Disaster, a comedy about four couples who, while enjoying a casual Sunday brunch, are faced with an unsavory possibility: The world may be coming to an end just outside their door (See trailer). The movie won "best script" at the 2012 BendFilm event. You can watch the 2012 release tonight at McMenamins.

Man, Cross is really great. Subtle.

It's a Disaster
6pm (doors at 5pm) Thursday, Feb. 7 (TONIGHT!)
McMenamins, 700 NW Bond St.
$10

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

BendFilm Announces Documentary Film Series

BendFilm is bringing hit documentaries to local theaters this winter and spring.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 11:32 PM

While the BendFilm festival remains a painful nine months in the future, BendFilm is giving Bend a much-needed shot of indie cinema in venues throughout the area this winter and spring.

The series kicks off on January 26 with a screening of the documentary, Becoming Chaz, a film that documents Chaz Bono's journey through his transgender reassignment. The film is co-presented by COCC and the Human Dignity Coalition and tickets are $10. The screening is at 6:30pm in the Hitchcock Auditorium.

Here's a look:

You need to use a flashplayer enabled browser in order to view this video

Then on Sunday, January 29, BendFilm brings My So Called Enemy, a documentary about Palestinian and Israeli girls who become friends, to the Sisters Movie House. That kicks off at 1pm. Tickets are $12 at the door or at bendfilm.org. The director will be available for a Skype Q&A following the screening.

You need to use a flashplayer enabled browser in order to view this video

Then on February 9, you can get a look at the Best in Show winner from the 2011 BendFilm festival, This Way of Life, which tells the story of a white man raised by a Maori family in New Zealand who faces incredible obstacles as he raises his own family. The filmmakers will be Skyped in for a Q&A all the way from New Zealand following the screening at the Tower Theater.

You need to use a flashplayer enabled browser in order to view this video

Finally, on April 12, you can get your eyes on my favorite documentary of the entire festival, The Clean Bin Project. This film follows a young couple through a year in which they try to produce zero waste. It's funny and personable, but also makes you think twice about whether you really need that plastic straw that comes in your cocktail. Directors (who double as the stars) Jen and Grant, will be on hand to discuss the film. 7pm, Tower Theatre. 

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

BendFilm: A Roundup of Saturday's Films and the Winners!

Short reviews of several movies that screened on Saturday at BendFilm, as well as a list of the winners.

Posted By on Sun, Oct 9, 2011 at 6:23 PM

I wrapped up my 2011 BendFilm Festival experience yesterday with another three films, which were all really great. The festival continues today with screenings in Sisters, as well as the winners showing in Bend down at the Old Mill. Here's a round up of the films I saw yesterday, as well as a list of the winners. Now get out there and see some truly amazing independent films while you can!

Connected: An Autoblogography about Love, Death & Technology
I loved this documentary! Though the title may lead you to believe it's tech-heavy, it's not and that's definitely a good thing in this case. I am pretty sure I only saw one or two iPhones in the whole thing. Rather than concentrate on modern technology, filmmaker Tiffany Shlain takes us back through history in her stream of consciousness to delve into the interconnectedness of humankind, nature and progress. Shlain finds the correlation between progress in global society's connection to developments like the alphabet and the computer and relates them to left vs. right brain thinking. If you the chance, check out this doc. And contrary to what you might think, you won't leave the theater feeling scorned for all the tweeting and texting you do.

Rid of Me
This dark comedy was far and away my favorite film of the entire festival. Shot Primarily in Portland, the story follows Meris, a socially awkward woman who moved to Laurelwood with her husband from California and now must try to fit in with his high school friends. The film finds Meris working at a candy store, making friends with some young punks (who hang out with a dude name Virgil, played by Everclear's Art Alexakis), and doing something truly disgusting to her husband's high school sweetheart. Katie O'Grady, who played Meris, attended the screening with the writer/director/editor/producer/superman James Westby. The two offered some great insight on the making of the film, which was inspired by Westby's ex-wife's high school friends. Don't worry, if you didn't get a chance to see this amazing comedy, O'Grady announced the film was picked up for distribution and will have a run in New York, LA, and Portland, which could result in opening in more theaters.
East Fifth Bliss
Mike Bookey and I had the opportunity to both attend a panel where director Michael Knowles sat on the panel, as well as meeting and interviewing him on Friday night.  We were both excited to see his film, East Fifth Bliss, which stars Dexter's Michael C. Hall, Peter Fonda, Lucy Liu, and Brie Larson. Bookey saw the film of Friday and assured me I'd like it when I saw it on Saturday. The acting in East Fifth Bliss was incredible, as was the story. If you can make it out there, this film screens again in Sisters at 1pm, so hurry and get your tickets now! If you can't make it, Knowles announced during the Q&A last night that the film's been picked up for distribution and should hit theaters in March.
The Winners:
Best of Show - This Way of Life
Best Narrative Feature - How to Cheat
Best Documentary - This Way of Life
Best Documentary, Honorable Mention - Darwin
Katie Merritt Audience Award - Wild Horse, Wild Ride
Best Narrative Screenplay - Fanny, Annie & Danny
Best Directing - Eleanor Burke and Ron Eyal for Stranger Things
Best Acting, Narrative - Kent Osbourne, How to Cheat
Best of the Northwest - Rid of Me
Best Conservation Film - The Clean Bin Project
Best Short - The Interview
Best Short Screenplay - Crazy Beats Strong Every Time
Best acting, Short - Treasure Bulose, Protect the Nation
Best Student Short - The Candidate
Best Student Screenplay - Girls Named Pinky
Future Filmmaker - Cooper Anderson, Alone
72-Hour Shootout Winner: Johnny Hammond, Operation Stewardship
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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Seen at BendFilm: The Clean Bin Project

A review of The Clean Bin Project, which screened at BendFilm.

Posted By on Sat, Oct 8, 2011 at 11:25 PM

I just returned from the Old Mill Regal 16 where The Clean Bin Project just screened to a mostly full auditorium for BendFilm. In a word, the film is impacting.

The documentary, starring and produced by Grant Baldwin and Jen Rustmeyer, follows the Canadian couple as they try to spend a year generating next to no waste. They can't buy anything besides food and try not to use anything that can't be recycled or composted.

When I met friends for lunch after the film, I looked at the straw from my drink and felt pretty damn bad about it. I wouldn't have thought of this before, but the film definitely makes you ponder all the waste you generate.

I sat down with Grant and Jen last night and we talked a bit about the film and their insane year, which has led to some major changes in their lives. If you get a chance to say hi to these folks tonight around town, do it -- they're incredibly interesting people. The film screens again tomorrow at 1:30pm at the Sisters Movie House.

Here's a look.

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Festival Friday: My day dedicated to BendFilm

One of The Source's film reviewers spent all day Friday at BendFilm and reports back on the days films, panels, and events.

Posted By on Sat, Oct 8, 2011 at 5:27 AM

There's something in the air. Can you feel it? You can always feel it around this time of year, it's inspiration and it comes from being in the presence of talented filmmakers, watching awesome movie you might never have gotten the chance to see otherwise, and attending a variety of panels, parties, and mixers all in the name of independent cinema. It's the kind of feeling that makes me want to open up my laptop, grab that copy of Screenplay: Writing the Picture from my college screenwriting class that's collecting dust and start writing. 

I gladly took a half day at work today and dedicated the rest of my day to BendFilm. Here's a roundup of the movies I saw and more!

 

The Color Wheel
In this film, whose cinematography was a grainy looking black and white, JR entrusts her brother Colin to drive her to her professor-turned-lover's apartment, after he's kicked her out, in order to retrieve her things. The Colin character reminded me of a less innocent character Michael Cera would play, and the JR character seemed to be the certain kind of trainwreck that we all know and avoid from high school. The film ended with a big, "WTF!?" moment, which had I read the film's description closer maybe I wouldn't have been as shocked.

How to Cheat
Strangely enough, half of the movies I plan on seeing this weekend deal with infidelity and crumbling relationships. How to Cheat has an honest approach to a messy modern marriage, in which the husband in a couple that's struggling to conceive goes to the internet with hopes of finding a woman to have an affair with. Amber Sealey, the film's writer/director, who also plays the wife, attended the screening and participated in a Q&A after the film, but sadly I had to run to make the next movie and missed it. How to Cheat screens for a second time at McMenamins Old St. Francis Theater. Saturday, Oct. 8 at 5:30pm.

The Dish & The Spoon
For my second affair film of the evening, The Dish & The Spoon took a different approach. Rose (played by indie film darling Greta Gerwig) has become a hot mess ever since her husband admitted to having an affair. While seeking out the other woman in order to get revenge, she meets a teenage British boy who becomes her companion. This film is likely my favorite of the festival, so far. Gerwig (who you may remember from Hannah Takes the Stairs, which showed at BendFilm a couple years ago) shines as the wronged woman. I've yet to see better acting in a film at this year's festival. Though, the weekend is still young and I've got three movies lined up to see tomorrow.

In addition to the three movies, I also attended the panel titled, "From Screen to Pen: The Creative Process". Filmmakers from this year's festival, including those who wrote, produced, or starred in Rid of Me, Bucksville, and East Fifth Bliss, to name a few, shared their thoughts on screenwriting, structure and the creative process. I jotted down a few good notes and definitely feel like I learned a thing or two.

Finally, Mike Bookey and I stopped in at the festival's Hub, located at the Liberty Theater, to rub elbows with some of the filmmakers. We were fortunate enough to get on-camera interviews with Bill Plympton, also known as the King of Indie Animation (he even did a drawing for us!), and Michael Knowles, who wrote and directed East Fifth Bliss. Bookey will be posting those videos soon!

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Local Documentary Sells Out at BendFilm

Locally produced film, Boom Varietal: The Rise of Malbec, sells out BendFilm screening at Regal Cinemas.

Posted By on Sat, Oct 8, 2011 at 12:37 AM

Luckily, today has been a refreshing day to stand outside and wait in line to get into the plethora of films screening at BendFilm. Unfortunately for some, the wait for the 3pm screening , and world debut, of Rage Production's Boom Varietal: The Rise of Malbec didn't result in a viewing of the locally produced film.

I happened to be walking out of a screening of The Color Wheel, and saw the thick line of people waiting to be let into the screening of Boom Varietal. Back at the office, we spoke to several people who waited in line and weren't able to gain entrance because for the first time a locally made film sold out at BendFilm. It's definitely great to see people coming out in support of local film.

In case you missed it, Boom Varietal screens at least once more (depending on whether or not it wins any awards and earns a Sunday screening. Check out our feature story on the film to get a little background and then buy your tickets early for the Saturday screening at The Oxford Hotel. 

Boom Varietal: The Rise of Malbec

Saturday, October 8, 3:30pm

The Oxford Hotel


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Friday, October 7, 2011

Free BendFilm Block Party Downtown Tonight

A free party for BendFilm. See a movie and drink!

Posted By on Fri, Oct 7, 2011 at 11:17 PM

Sure, the movies are reason to go to BendFilm. We acknowledge that.

But the festival also provides some raging* parties and for the first time I'm aware of, one of those is free for this year's event. Tonight at 5 p.m. , at the Wells Fargo bank parking lot in downtown Bend, is the first-ever BendFilm First Friday Block Party.

At the party you can take a look at a film produced by sponsor American Licorice, which is debuting its new product, Natural Vines. You can also check out other short films that were selected to playing during the festival. And you can buy a beer or cocktail to help support the festival.

We'll be heading down there pretty soon here. You should come, too. You can also walk down the street and check this out.

*I realize that people have varying opinions of what qualifies something as "raging." Whatever.


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