Bend Film Festival Commands a Global Spotlight


Lucy Jones, Former Crest Editor

The 16 year long festival has transformed from a local jamboree to something that brings together all of the film junkies from the Pacific Northwest. Bend Film festival fabricates a platform for local producers to exhibit their arduous films that usher viewers to see outside of the “bubble” of Central Oregon.

“If you are an indie film advocate or are just looking for a one-of-a-kind experience, our festival in Bend, Oregon is well worth the visit. For one weekend each year our small community welcomes and showcases the world!” said Bend Film in a public statement on their website.

The festival brings the community together both artistic individuals and those who simply enjoy a good film.

“The beauty and power of the art form of film is that it has a unique ability to elicit empathy from the audience for the characters on screen despite how different their backgrounds might be,” Todd Looby, executive director of Bend Film said.

Named by MovieMaker magazine as “Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World”, Bend film has created a national name not only for their festival but for their producers they showcase as well.

As an expert of independent festivals, Looby attests that Bend Film holds numerous unique qualities that protrude it from competing locations: diversity of venues, robust assortment of best new films, direct access to the filmmakers themselves and accessibility to nature.

“Film enthusiasts need a variety in their festivals to make them worth while, and Bend Film makes a conscious effort to hit all the marks,” Beth Davies, 16 year volunteer said.

Central Oregon forges the most prime location for a well rounded experience. During October visitors can go on sunrise hikes and make it back in time for a full day of high quality films with others who have most likely made their way outside as well.

“The star of is Bend itself: the intimacy of the town, the amazing people and the entire community which loves and supports the festival in so many ways,” Kaari Vaughn, 16 year long volunteer, said.

The small community forges a prime location for a well rounded experience. With Central Oregon being significantly smaller than competing festivals around the world, a dynamic is created formed by connections between locals and out of towners that is effortlessly molded in.

The festival has acquired enough means to provide for year long screenings of movies that can not be seen on the big screens. Now labeled as a Bend film cinema, the Tin Pan Theaters calendar showcases that they will continue to show the highly esteemed movies from the past festival year-round, reinstating the growth of exposure for the festival and the producer.

“The attendance at Tin Pan has actually been up ten to fifteen percent since we took over, mostly because of our festival programmer who plans the screenings of the films. He [Eric Chambers] has had twenty years of mastering what films best suit Bend Oregon and how our audience will react to them,” Looby said.

Coming on year 17, producers executives and volunteers alike all continue to work for the united coterie of Bend Film Festival. The newly claimed prestigious title along with the expansion to the Tin Pan theater not only broadens the name of the festival in the community but also to any film enthusiast.