Every year, BendFilm gives independent filmmakers the exposure they deserve—even if those filmmakers are still in grade school. Now in its 11th year, the Future Filmmaker Festival coincides with the Bend Film Festival and celebrates the talent of young Central Oregon artists. It gives contributors the opportunity to share their talent and receive recognition and a cash prize, just like their adult peers.
According to BendFilm Director Todd Looby, Michele Alvarado of Wahoo Films founded Future Filmmakers in 2006 as a way to incorporate film education into the Film Festival. He says, "We... wanted a way to inspire youth to enter the filmmaking fray. It's been a tremendous success."
In its biggest year, local youth submitted approximately 50 films to the festival. "We...had to jury (the submissions) to see which ones would play during the (screening) event," says Looby. Besides experience, Looby believes the festival gives contributors a strong sense of confidence.
Several youth participants, including Wes Coughlin, Max Reisfar and recent high school graduate Mackenzie Hice—who participated in a past Future Filmmaker Festival—are now what Looby refers to as "Present Filmmakers," while others have gone on to attend film school.
Students in fifth through 12th grade can enter the contest. Submissions should be films that run from one to five minutes and were made in the last year. A jury of film and video professionals selects a winner for a cash prize and provides each submitter critical feedback of their work to help mentor them in their craft. One additional chance to win a cash prize comes when the audience gets a chance to vote at the screening event.
Young filmmakers can also enter a television commercial contest hosted by Zolo Media, the City of Bend and BendFilm. The winner will have their commercial screened at the Future Filmmaker event and their idea converted into a professionally-produced commercial that will air on TV throughout Central Oregon.
Future Filmmakers Screening Event
McMenamins Old St. Francis School
700 NW Bond St., Bend
Open to the public