The annual BendFilm Fest draws filmmakers from across the country for a weekend of good parties, great conversations and, of course, fabulous films.

The 2012 BendFilm Festival will run October 11-14 and promises to be the fantastic, artistic, community-driven event it has evolved into during its nine-year tenure. Known as a very filmmaker-friendly fest, it draws filmmakers from across the country for a weekend of good parties, great conversations and, of course, fabulous films. One of the best things about the fest is the opportunity to hob knob with the creatives behind what’s seen on the screen.

“BendFilm is truly an event that people look forward to,” says Festival Director Orit Schwartz. “We’ve got some really spectacular films this year.”

The opening night film is ETHEL, about Ethel Kennedy and made by her filmmaker daughter, Rory Kennedy. Other highlights include Deadfall, starring Eric Bana and Sissy Spacek, a heist thriller set in the wintry Canadian countryside. Melissa Leo stars in The Sea is All I Know, about a family coming to terms with the death of their daughter. Lily Tomlin lights up The Procession, a comedy that chronicles the travails of a family stuck in a funeral procession. Ron Howard and Bryce Dallas Howard produced When You Find Me, the story of two sisters whose childhood bond is tested by a tragedy they are too young to understand. An all-star cast in It’s a Disaster revel in self-absorption while the apocalypse knocks on the front door. Lovers of the 80s will love the Rick Springfield-tribute documentary An Affair of the Heart.

BendFilm is known for awesome parties, too. Friday night marks the return of the fabulous DJ dance party, held this year in the black box theater of the Cascades Theatrical Company. Every night, in fact, a great party with live music will offer the chance to mix and mingle with filmmakers and fellow film lovers. On Saturday night, the awards ceremony is the culminating event of the weekend’s competition.

Tickets are on sale now at www.bendfilm.org. Membership begins at $50, film festival tickets run $12 per film, and full weekend passes begin at $125 for films-only and $200 for a full festival passes. New this year is the Indie Pass, for $1000, which allows a pass holder to jump to the start of the line and guarantees a seat. Many free events will be offered, as well, including panels of filmmaker and industry experts at the Nature of Words office,  and the BendFilm Kids Sunday free morning event at McMenamins, which screens a film particularly intended for a younger audience. Many of the after-parties are held at local restaurants and bars and require no entry ticket.

Opening night of BendFilm is on my birthday this year. You better bet I’ll be there and I hope you will be too! See www.bendfilm.org for more information.

About the 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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