‘Lucky’ weekend for indie film buffs; Starting tonight, a record 105 indie films will be screened at BendFilm Fest

The BendFilm Festival returns Thursday, once again kicking off a dream weekend for cinephiles and filmmakers vying for prizes totaling $10,500 in prize cash — including the coveted $5,000 Best of Show.

Continuing through Sunday, BendFilm offers panel discussions, opportunities to rub elbows with filmmakers at parties and, of course, see an array of films from across the movie spectrum — from animated short films to international documentaries and feature-length films starring virtual unknowns to grizzled veterans such as Burt Reynolds and Bill Pullman (the latter of whom star in two of this year’s films).

The common denominator across the great variety of films: All are independent productions. This year, BendFilm accepted a total of 105 films, four more than the 2016 BendFilm Festival.

“It’s a record, as far as I know,” said BendFilm Executive Director Todd Looby.

Some 68 films, more than half the films in this year’s crop, are shorts: 30 minutes or less in length and screening in blocks.

Festival programmer Erik Jambor said, “There are some great shorts programs that come pre-bundled for people that like short films. Part of what I like about those programs is you get to see so many different things in one sitting. … If you don’t really respond to one of the films, you don’t have to worry too long, because another one is going to come up right behind it.

“The Documentary program (has) a lot of different things you get to learn about in a short amount of time,” he added. “Narrative (Shorts Block One) and the Northwest Shorts are very eclectic in the program. It’s not just one type of movie, not just all…

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