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Making the Moments Count 

The Source Weekly's film buff plots an entire BendFilm Festival schedule so you don't have to

Between working for BendFilm, Tin Pan Theater and the Source Weekly, I haven't been able to go to the BendFilm Festival just as a spectator in several years. I'm either working at one of the venues, writing about the movies or, if I'm really lucky, interviewing the filmmakers as they roll through Bend. This year will be no different as I'm stretching my time as a house manager or bartender at Cascades Theatrical Company and Tin Pan Theater over the four days of the festival.

With that said, I like to imagine exactly how I would spend every minute of the festival if I had a pass and had nothing to do but watch movies and schmooze at the parties. So, if you want to maximize the in-person festival this year on Oct. 6-9, let me show you what I would do if I had the freedom to wander freely over those four magical days.

click to enlarge “Butterfly in the Sky” reminds us of the joy of reading. - COURTESY OF BENDFILM
  • Courtesy of BendFilm
  • “Butterfly in the Sky” reminds us of the joy of reading.

Thursday, Oct. 6

12:45pm-
Documentary: "Retrograde" From the filmmaker behind the searing documentary "Cartel Land" comes this powerhouse look at the final nine months of the war in Afghanistan. An expertly crafted doc like this is the perfect way to begin a film festival. At Regal Old Mill

2:30pm-
Grab some lunch/early dinner and keep hydrated.

5:30pm
Opening Night Film- Documentary: "The Pez Outlaw" A deliriously fascinating documentary about Eastern European Pez dispenser smuggling. Just go into this blind and be blown away. At the Tower Theatre. Filmmaker in attendance.

8pm
Opening Night Reception: This is always a blast. Meet the filmmakers and network with them or just get your drink and dance on. Quite the party. At Open Space Event Studios.

10pm- Go home and sleep the sleep of a contented puppy.

click to enlarge “Sam Now” is unforgettable — the one documentary you should see at this year's fest. - COURTESY OF BENDFILM
  • Courtesy of BendFilm
  • “Sam Now” is unforgettable — the one documentary you should see at this year's fest.
Friday, Oct. 7

9:45am
Documentary: "Butterfly in the Sky" The documentary about "Reading Rainbow" you didn't know you needed. At Regal Old Mill. Filmmaker in attendance.

11:45am
Panel: "The Sexy Side of Filmmaking: A Panel of Industry Insiders" A panel of experts in the field of actually getting your film distributed and seen. With people from NEON, Magnolia and Vox, this should be unmissable for people who want to make a living in the industry. At Deschutes Library - Brooks Room.

12:45pm- Eat foods and hydrate some more.

1:45pm
Panel: "Screenwriting From Page to Screen" This is the panel I'm the most excited for since it will have the great Jim Taylor ("Election" and "Sideways") and Tamara Jenkins ("Slums of Beverly Hills") discussing screenwriting and the art of adapting novels for film. At Deschutes Library - Brooks Room.

3:45pm
Panel: "Beyond Sundance with John Cooper" Hear the former Sundance director tell inside stories about one of the most respected film festivals on the planet. At Deschutes Library - Brooks Room

5:30pm
Television Show: "Reservation Dogs" You'll have to drive fast to make it in time, but it will totally be worth it. "Reservation Dogs" is one of the best shows on TV and to have the great Gary Farmer and Tatanka Means in attendance is a big deal. At the Madras Performing Arts Center. Actors in Attendance.

Eat something, you animal. You can't survive off of beer and dreams.

8pm
Shorts: Music Videos: Watch a gorgeously curated lineup of music videos including one from She and Him as well as local musician Kelsey Beck Kuther. This will be a blast. At Open Space. Filmmakers in attendance.

9:45pm
Shorts: "Late Night Shorts" Close the night on a bonkers note with some deeply strange and wonderful short films. At Cascades Theatrical Company. Filmmaker in attendance.

Sleep and dream of movies.

click to enlarge The timely and crowd-pleasing “Jacir." - COURTESY OF BENDFILM
  • Courtesy of BendFilm
  • The timely and crowd-pleasing “Jacir."

Saturday, Oct. 8

10:45am
Documentary: "Sweetheart Deal" A brutal and unforgettable look at sex workers in Seattle. As tough as it is to watch, this is ultimately a humane and life-affirming example of how to make a truly non-judgmental avant-garde documentary. At Regal Old Mill. Filmmakers in attendance.

11:45am
Have lunch and drink some water.

1pm
Documentary: "Sam Now" Sweet, thoughtful and ultimately very fascinating look at generational trauma and how our parents have the power to shape almost our entire future. If you see one doc at the fest, this should be the one. At Regal Old Mill. Filmmakers in attendance.

3:30pm
Panel: "First Features Panel" Here's another chance to hear Tamara Jenkins talk, as well as Jude Chun (The wonderful "Unidentified"), David Siev ("Bad Axe"), Elise Levine ("Sweetheart Deal") and Reed Harkness, ("Sam Now") about their first films.

5:15pm
Conversation with IndieWoman of the Year, Tamara Jenkins: Do you see a pattern here? Tamara Jenkins is an indie film legend and her movies "Slums of Beverly Hills," "The Savages" and "Happy Accidents" helped shape me as a cinephile and a writer. Having her here is a dream come true for me. At the Tower Theatre.

5:45pm
Have some dinner and dranks.

7pm
Awards Reception and Ceremony: I mean, you gotta see who wins and hear the acceptance speeches. At the Boys and Girls Club.

9:30pm-
Closing Night Party: This is always a really fun party where everyone can mingle with the award winners, the festival goers and the folks who make the festival happen. At Bunk + Brew

Get that rest...only one more day to go.

click to enlarge “Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest” documents the inspiring story of the first Nepali woman to summit Mt. Everest. - COURTESY OF BENDFILM
  • Courtesy of BendFilm
  • “Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest” documents the inspiring story of the first Nepali woman to summit Mt. Everest.

Sunday, Oct. 9

10am
Award Winner TBA: This will be one of the big winners of the fest and if it's one you missed, then this will be the perfect time to catch it. At Regal Old Mill

12:45pm
Narrative: "Close" An astonishingly lovely French language drama about the unbreakable bonds of childhood friendship. Simply fantastic. At Regal Old Mill

2:40pm
EAT FOOD.

4pm
Documentary: "Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest" An inspiring doc about the first Nepali woman to summit Mount Everest that will inspire a whole new generation to follow their dreams. Madras Performing Arts Center. Filmmakers in attendance.

6pm
Narrative: "Corsage" A fantastic period character study that follows the Empress Elisabeth of Austria in the latter half of the 19th Century. The lead performance by the great Vicky Krieps is a banger. Regal Old Mill.

You did it! Get some rest and know you did a fantastic job bouncing around to all the different venues and stuffing your brain with movies.

Several of the films will be available to watch virtually from Oct. 10-23, so here's a few more I would definitely try to catch while you can:

Documentary- "Bad Axe" The hateful and xenophobic dogwhistle of "traditional American values" is unveiled in this deeply infuriating documentary following an Asian American family in 2020, striving for the American dream and being beaten down over and over by racist hate in the face of the pandemic. An unforgettable look at Trump's rural America.

Narrative- "Jacir" Great performances and a timely message make this an easy pick for one of the biggest crowd-pleasers of the fest.

Narrative: "Unidentified" A beautifully strange and wonderful Korean sci-fi/comedy/dance movie about the most banal alien invasion of all time. Bonkers in the very best way.

Documentary: "Au Revoir" Some of the finest water sports cinematography I've ever seen.

Shorts Block-"Togetherness." "Ice Merchants" shows the limitlessness of animation, "Concrete and Steel" is a Spanish riff on a Tarantino crime dramedy, "The Originals" focuses on a lost lifestyle in Brooklyn, "Takilma Stories" looks at some 1970s Oregon weirdness and "North Star" features a stunning performance from "Euphoria's" Colman Domingo.

About The Author

Jared Rasic

Film critic and author of food, arts and culture stories for the Source Weekly since 2010.
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