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BendFilm 2014: Shorts 

A Better Path: Stewardship of the Metolius River

SW: There were really some really beautiful underwater shots. How much footage—or how much time did your cameraperson need to spend underwater—to get those shots?

Darek Staab (producer): We were really lucky to capture great footage in a fairly short amount of time. We basically focused on our underwater footage for two days, but much of that time was spent getting to our sites and getting the necessary gear ready for the shots.  Michelle Alvarado provided full dive gear and captured all the footage, using a dry suit to keep the cold water out and an oxygen tank for breathing comfortably underwater, while letting the fish come to her. Nate Dachtler was also incredibly helpful as a fisheries biologist for Deschutes National Forest, as his extensive knowledge about fish in the river allowed us to focus on key sites that were safe and provided good opportunity to capture the beauty of the river, the fish, and the habitat underwater. 

SW: Obviously, this isn't a traditional documentary, and has an agenda. Beyond the film festival, how do you plan to get the film circulating?

DS: You are right, we do hope this film builds awareness and inspires people to improve their behavior while visiting a local river. Though we believe in our message of being a steward and taking care of spring-fed rivers like the Metolius, we also didn't want to be preachy and we wanted the river to speak for itself. Though the Metolius River is special and unique, we also would be happy if viewers disagree because they love their local river even more. All rivers and natural areas need advocates and stewards, and the bottom line is that we want people to be passionate enough to act on behalf of their river and conserve the habitat we all share. To circulate our film, we have mainly been working through local organizations, blogs, newsletters and film festivals, trying to reach any recreational groups who visit or care about the river.  We are also hoping to expand our outreach through regional lodges, tourism organizations, and fly fishing stores, since it is quite simple to add a link to the film and help reach visitors who might impact the Metolius River. Lastly, I am always happy to come present to a group to share more about the project and film, and I have given around 10 presentations to local groups with the film integrated into a custom presentation. (PB)

Bis Gleich

A simple story about the very essence of human connecting points, Benjamin Wolff's Bis Gleich touts action in relationships rather than words; authentic gestures rather than meaningless and routine small talk. When two neighbors become curiously enamored with each other and then one goes missing, it sets off a creative endeavor to discover the cause of the disappearance and remain connected. The short film is a greeting card, come to life. (EM)

The Missing Scarf

Albert the squirrel, who looks surprisingly like a crumpled up paper bag, goes on an "Are You My Mother"-style adventure to find his lost scarf. Sounds kid-friendly, but gets very existential as Albert learns lessons about life and nihilism. Narrated by George Takei, the film is mostly a charming rant about the death of the universe. (BB)


Reminding audiences that couples in Portland love to be polyamorous, and that millennial relationships based in technology are doomed to be terrible, Subtext is a love/lust story told entirely by text message. While the ending comes off a little bit like a cellphone commercial, the film makes its points eloquently and the non-dialogue based acting is fun to watch. (BB)

Shawnsey's Revenge

When he's rejected by a woman after watching his stand-up routine, Shawnsey decides to take his fate into his own hands. In this case, revenge is a dish best not served at all, but Shawnsey's character, even in the brief film, is hilarious and depressing all at once. (BB)

Last Shot

"Bourbon, five shots." So begins the twisted mess of a short, Last Shot.

The ongoing ominous music throughout hints at the twist ending. Filled with death and drinking, while slightly overdone, the film is an interesting concept piece about people getting what they deserve. (BB)

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