Naming my favorite Oregon event is easy. It’s BendFilm, set to light up lives October 7 through 10 in Bend.

In its seventh year, the BendFilm Festival has evolved from a little engine that could into a force to be reckoned with. It brings together independent filmmakers and the people who love their work for a life-enriching experience that educates and entertains. The work of BendFilm has drawn acclaim from both the film industry for its bold support of alternative cinema, and the Central Oregon community for its jammed-pack, four-day event of film viewing, lectures and other special events.

And it falls on my birthday. Last year, I delighted in the gift of a press pass and threw myself into the event, barely pausing from film watching and party-hopping to eat or sleep.

The magic started with Bend Film’s opening night party and didn’t let up for four days. In between were a hundred tiny miracles.

I drank Rainier beer with a filmmaker who made a movie about D.B. Cooper, my grandfather (okay, his movie ( was about the hijacker; my grandfather was just a regular guy with the same name). I met a woman who journeyed to Antarctica with the eco-conservation group Sea Shepherd to fight illegal whaling four years in a row; I sat next to her while watching footage of her in a Zodiac, zipping under the prow of a Japanese ship ( I met a trio of filmmakers in their 20s whose film was flipping brilliant and who swept the awards (

I saw a movie about a guy and a bike and cancer that made me want to go right home and hug everyone I love. I did. Then I went back downtown and hugged all sorts of other people, because after four days of soaking up tons of energy and story and creativity in the company of others, I loved everyone. I finished those four days last year with such an existential buzz that I might venture to say that powerful joy and connection is always out there somewhere, should we just be bold and brave enough to go searching for it. Be certain—you can find it at BendFilm.

Still plenty of time to plan your trip to Bend for this year’s BendFilm Festival.

about author Kim Cooper Findling

Kim Cooper Findling grew up on the Oregon Coast and became a Central Oregon girl in the mid-90s, taking in the sunny skies and never looking back (except a few wistful glances at the ocean). She is the editor of “Cascade Journal” and the author of “Bend, Oregon Daycations: Day Trips for Curious Travelers,” "Day Trips From Portland: Getaway Ideas for the Local Traveler” and “Chance of Sun: An Oregon Memoir.” Catch her around the state sampling microbrews, hiking river trails, walking beaches, and hanging out with her family.

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  1. jon hill says…

    Howdy Kim!

    Thanks for supporting a great lil’ fest with a huge heart!

    We’re thrilled to be screening four times during the fest – three with Mark Claywell’s flick, AMERICAN JIHADIST, which won Best Doc at Slamdance this year. Our short is called THE FARM ( & Would love for you to catch a screening!

    Peace, Love & Rockets,
    Jon Hill, Director/Producer

    Written on October 7th, 2010 / Flag this Comment
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