Making Audiences Care

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Tin pan alley
Photo by Vera Holiday | The Broadside

The Bend Film Festival concludes its 10th anniversary with a vast array of independent films

During the second weekend of October, Bend transforms from an outdoor-recreation paradise into a cultural mecca for filmmakers.

Filmmakers gathered at Drake Restaurant for a filmmaker meet-and-greet on Oct. 12. David Renaud, his wife, Mia Faith Renaud, Harrison Givens, and Chris Voss all discussed the metamorphosis each of them had to make to remain in the filmmaking industry.

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The filmmakers discussed how Bend Film Festival breaks the modern movie mold by shifting the spotlight away from profit margins and ticket sales, and directs the attention back to the foundation of filmmaking: Telling a story that is entertaining and inspiring. Filmmaking today, when movies seem to require everything from pyro techniques to digitized special effects in order to succeed, the idea that less is more seems foolish.

However, according to the filmmakers, the Bend festival stands out from others because it is incredibly successful.

Bend Film “worth the entry fee”

In four days, the Bend Film Festival showed 82 movies ranging from short films, to documentaries and even feature length films. This past April, Movie Maker Magazine

listed the Bend Film Festival as one of the best independent film festivals to enter in its annual

article “Top 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.” The Bend Film Festival offers prizes

for category winners including cash awards up to $5,000 and a Bend Film Festival statue.

But to the filmmakers, what makes the Bend event a unique gem is the fact that even after ten years of entertaining filmmakers and audiences, it has stayed true to the roots of filmmaking and the festival itself:

In the eyes of the filmmakers, the stories told during the Bend festival are not the typical, “formulaic” stories that have begun to “plague” movie theaters throughout the United States. Instead, each story is a tool to provide a different perspective on life, love, and logic, weaving dreams and reality together on the big screen.

“The festival does a great job organizing and creating a cohesive event with films that go well together,” said Mia Faith Renaud, executive producer of The Morning After, a romantic comedy her husband, David Renaud, directed and entered into the Bend Film Festival this year.

Starting a conversation

The Bend festival provides one of the necessary components to being a successful film festival: an audience.

“Bend attracts a great quality of film… it’s about having an audience, and the audience in Bend is hungry,” said Mia Faith Renaud.

Harrison Givens, writer and producer of the film There is No God and We All Die Alone said: “If you tell people what to think in a film, you aren’t entertaining… a good piece of art starts a conversation.”

Whether the story was about geriatric gorillas at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio in the short Past Their Prime or processing the transformation of a child becoming a caretaker toward the end of their parent’s life in the film Obit, the audience was singing nothing but praise for the Bend Film Festival.

Sean Creane, a film enthusiast from California, travelled to Bend to enjoy the event the day before the festival opened.

 

Emily Frances Kalei
The Broadside

 efgarcia@cocc.edu

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