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BendFilm: Ten years in, a mutual attraction

By Femi Abebefe
Published On: Oct 10 2013 10:21:04 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 10 2013 10:29:10 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Femi Abebefe reports about the BendFilm Festival kicking off today.

BEND, Ore. -

One of the special things about the BendFilm Festival is the dialogue that takes place between filmmaker and audience -- at least, that’s what filmmaker Christopher Oscar appreciates and is looking forward to this week.

“I’m looking forward to the response we’re going to get from the people who are coming to see our film,” Oscar said Thursday. “That’s No. 1.”

“Every time we’ve shown this film, it’s as if we’ve inspired people to take action immediately, because this is a big issue,” Oscar said.

He directed the short film: "Project Censored the Movie: Ending the Reign of Junk Food News."

Visit Bend president and CEO Doug LaPlaca said most tourists come to Bend for the outdoor activities, but the festival brings in a new type of visitor.

“BendFilm is one of our flagship cultural events that brings in a new type of traveler, and that’s the cultural tourist,” LaPlace said, “That’s a critically important piece to maintaining a healthy and vibrant tourist economy.”

One of the reasons BendFilm has last for a decade is the volunteers who are committed to the festival. Elain Redman-LeRoy has been a volunteer from the beginning because she felt it was good for the community.

“It brings notoriety to Bend as a place where fun things happen, and it brings money into our economy for sure,” Redman-LeRoy said, “Also just an opportunity for filmmakers to have one more place to do their thing.”

Co-filmmakers Morse Bicknell and Greg Wagrowski are in from Albuquerque and said they’re honored to be a part of the festival, and have been eager to see the town.

“We’ve heard great things about Bend, the town and film festival too," Bicknell said. "So we were excited for our film to get in here, and excited for the opportunity to come out here and check out the town and festival.” 

What has film enthusiast Carol Schunk excited is the different types of films showing this weekend. The festival, to her, is another reason to celebrate what the city has to offer.

“Bend has so many celebrations, and it’s just another venue of the arts coming to Bend, and to provide entertainment for locals and people to come to,” Schunk said.

Find out all about the movies in town, the venues, events, tickets and more at www.bendfilm.org.

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