Tag Archives: Tim Burton

BendFilm Festival 2012 Is Here

BendFilm opens its ninth annual run in downtown Bend tonight. And I personally am halfway through my ninth year as a citizen of Bend.
Coincidence? Yeah, probably. But the international festival of independent film has enmeshed me in its web — first as a magazine editor that emblazoned its cover with the first festival, later as a volunteer member of the selections committee.
For the past four years, I have been a member, albeit a quiet one, of BendFilm’s board of directors.
Memories? I have many of them, starting with festival founder Katie Merritt. She built a successful event from scratch, showing amazing creativity, skill and pure moxie in shaping what has become an institution not only in Central Oregon but also among aspiring Hollywood filmmakers.
Perhaps my favorite movie ever screened here was “Born into Brothels,” which subsequently won the Academy Award as best documentary of 2004. But I recall many more, such as “9” (2005), a UCLA animated student short that Tim Burton turned into a full-length movie; “Outsourced” (2007), which later became a popular television series; and “Den Osynlige (The Invisible)” (2004), a supernatural Swedish thriller that was remade into an American feature, “The Invisible” (2007).

Personalities? I won’t forget actress Rosanna Arquette devoting much of her time in Bend developing a friendship with a young cerebral palsy victim. Actor C. Thomas Howell describing an intimate moment in his early film career to awards-banquet attendees who didn’t really want to hear it. Director John Waters enthralling Tower Theatre goers with ribald tales of “Polyester” and “Cecil B. Demented.”

This year, the roster of foreign-produced films extends well beyond neighboring Canada. Germany, Denmark, Ireland and Poland all have entries, along with Thailand, Brazil, Tunisia and South Korea. That’s five continents’ worth, in case you weren’t counting.

But the movies to which I’m really looking forward are two documentaries — “Ethel,” which opens the festival program with a 5 p.m. showing today at the Tower, and “The Revolutionary,” to be presented at 2 p.m. Friday at McMenamins and at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Oxford Hotel.

“Ethel” is a full-length documentary biopic of the life of Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert Kennedy, as directed by their daughter, filmmaker Rory Kennedy. “The Revolutionary” tells the story of Sidney Rittenberg, an American who invested 35 years of his life in Maoist China.

Here’s a trailer for “The Revolutionary”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH9w34onSC8

I’m also looking forward to the West Coast premiere of “Deadfall,” with a stellar cast that includes Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Sissy Spacek and Kris Kristofferson. Set in Canada in wintertime, it is billed as an “icy thriller (with) a shocking climax.”

Go online to www.bendfilm.org for complete festival information, or drop by the festival office at downtown Bend’s Liberty Theatre, just north of the Tower Theatre on Wall Street.

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BendFilm Festival: Take Three

Fans of Tim Burton movies — and there are many of them — may recall the animated feature film “9,” which the dark fantasy master co-produced and released last year: on 9-9-09.

I wonder how many Burton fans realize that “9” was based upon a short film that won the 2005 BendFilm Festival award for best animated short, and subsequently was an Oscar nominee in the same category.

Produced and directed by Shane Acker, then a UCLA film student, the animated short (about a burlap doll struggling for survival in a post-apocalyptic world) captured Burton’s eye and was expanded into a full-length movie.

That may give you an idea of the regard with which BendFilm is held in the world of film making.

A wide selection of short films, animated and otherwise, again will be an important element in the 2010 BendFilm festival, which begins on Thursday and runs through Sunday (Oct. 7-10).

Don’t be surprised if this year’s animated sleeper is The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger, a six-minute short by Bill Plympton.

The legendary cartoonist, who was a featured speaker and presenter at last year’s festival, has produced a children’s fable about the meaning of life, the power of advertising and, ultimately, the test of a mother’s love.

A more serious production is Every War Has Two Losers, based upon the journals of William Stafford, the late Oregon poet laureate and a Second World War conscientious objector.

Clara’s Carma features prolific actor Stephen Tobolowky (Groundhog Day, Deadwood, Glee) as a frustrated therapist treating a young woman (Alex Dawson) who sees omens everywhere and suffers a spiritual meltdown.

The great Jonathan Winters, now 84 years old, co-wrote (with Dan Pasternack) The Babe & the Kid, a new take on the baseball legend about Babe Ruth’s promise to hit a home run for a critically ill child.

Movies will be presented at five different venues in Bend and Sisters.  Individual movie tickets are $10; a full film pass is $95.  Order online: http://www.bendfilm.org

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