In its twelve-year tenure, the BendFilm Festival has cemented itself as a relevant and fantastic artistic force in the independent film world. Known as a very filmmaker-friendly fest, BendFilm draws filmmakers from around the globe for a weekend of great conversations, good parties, and fabulous films. Set to run October 8-11 this year, BendFilm will offer the best program yet.

This year’s opening night film will be Breaking a Monster, which will screen at the Tower Theater in downtown Bend at 5:30 p.m. on October 8. In this musical, coming-of-age documentary, Director Luke Meyer focuses on a band of 12 and 13-year old musicians called Unlocking the Truth. The film chronicles the band’s journey to stardom as well as its obstacles.

“Breaking a Monster” debuted to great acclaim at SXSW this Spring. Variety writes: “What makes Luke Meyer’s documentary interesting isn’t so much the music or even the incipient stardom, but rather the push-pull between high-stakes biz pressure and subjects who — being 13 years old or so — hardly have the attention spans for the drudgery and minutiae a “career” requires.”

“This is an incredible film,” says BendFilm Director Todd Looby. “Such a crowd pleaser. These kids are just so endearing. The crowd will love watching them resist the seedy side of the recording industry. It’s a perfect opening night film and we’re thrilled to screen it.”

In competition for this year’s cash prizes are 9 Narrative Features, 9 Documentary Features and 41 Shorts. A total of over 80 films will screen, selected by Looby, Festival Programmer Mimi Brody, and the BendFilm Selections Committee.

“We feel that this year’s line-up is the best in the history of the festival,” says Looby.  “We received three times as many submissions as we did last year, which was a record year, and are grateful for the interest and support in this regional festival.”

Other highlights include Bob and the Trees, in its West Coast premier. In deep winter in rural Massachusetts, we meet Bob, a 50-year old logger with a soft spot for golf and gangsta rap, who is struggling to make ends meet in a merciless industry. When a rotten investment threatens the family business, Bob (played by real-life logger Bob Tarasuk) begins to heed his darker instincts to get by. Another much-anticipated film is Songs My Brothers Taught Me, set on the Great Plains and the Badlands of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. This is a compelling and complex tale that explores the bond between a brother and his younger sister, who find themselves on separate paths to rediscovering the meaning of home.

BendFilm is known for awesome parties with great opportunity to converse with the creatives behind the screen, too. The opening night party will be held at the Oxford Hotel. On Saturday night, the awards ceremony is the culminating event of the weekend’s competition and will be held at McMenamins Old St. Francis School.

Tickets are on sale now at Membership begins at $50, film festival tickets run $12 per film, and full weekend passes begin at $150 for films-only and $250 for a full festival passes. Many free events will be offered, as well, including panels of filmmaker and industry experts. Several after-parties are held at local restaurants and bars and require no entry ticket.

about author Kim Cooper Findling

Kim Cooper Findling grew up on the Oregon Coast but became a Central Oregon girl in the mid-90s, taking in the sunny skies and never looking back (expect a few wistful glances at the ocean). She is the editor of “Central Oregon Magazine” and the author of “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, taking silly pictures with her iPhone, and camping with her husband and two daughters in the family tent trailer, Brutus.

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