Bend, Oregon / October 10-13, 2019 / bendfilm.org
Bend’s unofficial motto of, “Be Nice. You’re in Bend,” captures the laid-back vibe of BendFilm, where the festival’s small size makes it easier for first-time filmmakers to hang out with more established veterans at a level that is impossible at larger festivals. BendFilm’s best-of-show prizes are awarded $5,000. Panel discussions get into the details of filmmaking. Past topics have included the art of the pitch, first features, and navigating the unknowns of documentary storytelling. Bend is known for its craft beer, and said beer plays a role—at the filmmakers’ lounge and elsewhere. In the 2018 competition program, 50 percent of the films were directed by women. Reps fromFox Searchlight Pictures, Factory 25, and Amazon Studios attended. Highlights included Skye Borgman’s Abducted in Plain Sight (Forever “B”) which has garnered attention on Netflix and got strong reviews.