Broaden Your Horizon at BendFilm

BendFilm 1
Photo Courtesy Barb Gonzales

One of the events that I most look forward to each fall is Central Oregon’s independent film festival.

For 14 straight years, BendFilm has been wowing movie lovers with a plethora of smart, funny and thought-provoking films, both long and short, and doing so in a creative way.

During this four-day festival, downtown Bend buzzes with energy. I love being on the streets during this time, amongst all the filmmakers, directors, actors and moviegoers. The autumn air is full of excitement as locals and visitors alike come together and support the arts. If you haven’t been to a BendFilm festival before, now’s your chance.

BendFilm 2
Photo Courtesy Steven Addington

This year the festival runs from October 11-14 at venues such as the historic Tower Theater, the eclectic McMenamins at the Old St. Francis School, the edgy Volcanic Theater Pub and even the Tin Pan Theater will feature films from around the country. The line-up promises something for everyone.

For example, a couple of years ago I viewed a feature depicting a long distance love long story, a film about a struggling New York business owner, a wild skateboard documentary and a psychological thriller. The great part about all of it was each film was shown in a different spot. Afterwards the folks at BendFilm encourage you to vote on what you’ve seen and stick around to hear the directors and writers discuss their work. The experience makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger, not just a spectator viewing art from afar.

Mcmenamins Theater
McMenamins Old St. Francis School

Here’s a list of things to remember if you go:

• Reserve Lodging Early: I recommend staying downtown at The Oxford Hotel or the Double Tree. The Old Mill’s Hilton Garden Inn is also a good location as it’s near the larger theaters.

View of king guest room at motel in Bend, Oregon
Hilton Garden Inn

• Dine Out: From Pacific Northwest cuisine to Japanese fusion, there’s a long list of restaurants from which to choose. Make reservations at 900 Wall, 5 Fusion and Sushi Bar or Greg’s Grill to name just a few.

• Stroll the Streets: Between the vibrant fall colors and mix of happy people, wandering both downtown and the Old Mill District is half the fun of attending the festival. Get out and mingle with fellow moviegoers!

5 Fusion & Sushi Bar
5 Fusion and Sushi Bar

• Try Something New: This is a good time to view films with varied perspectives.

Sit back and take in a genre you might not normally go see. It’s also a perfect time to poke around in establishments that you don’t typically frequent.

Check out the Festival Guide online and plan your visit soon. I hope to see you there!

Nicole Meier
Nicole Meier
Nicole Meier is a writer, travel blogger and social media consultant. The Source Weekly named her travel blog, Have Tote Will Travel, ( among the best local blogs of Central Oregon in 2013. When she’s not running her three kids from pillar to post, Nicole and her husband can be found skate skiing, paddle boarding or camping in Central Oregon’s playground.
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