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Festival Friday: My day dedicated to BendFilm

One of The Source's film reviewers spent all day Friday at BendFilm and reports back on the days films, panels, and events.



There's something in the air. Can you feel it? You can always feel it around this time of year, it's inspiration and it comes from being in the presence of talented filmmakers, watching awesome movie you might never have gotten the chance to see otherwise, and attending a variety of panels, parties, and mixers all in the name of independent cinema. It's the kind of feeling that makes me want to open up my laptop, grab that copy of Screenplay: Writing the Picture from my college screenwriting class that's collecting dust and start writing. 

I gladly took a half day at work today and dedicated the rest of my day to BendFilm. Here's a roundup of the movies I saw and more!


The Color Wheel
In this film, whose cinematography was a grainy looking black and white, JR entrusts her brother Colin to drive her to her professor-turned-lover's apartment, after he's kicked her out, in order to retrieve her things. The Colin character reminded me of a less innocent character Michael Cera would play, and the JR character seemed to be the certain kind of trainwreck that we all know and avoid from high school. The film ended with a big, "WTF!?" moment, which had I read the film's description closer maybe I wouldn't have been as shocked.

How to Cheat
Strangely enough, half of the movies I plan on seeing this weekend deal with infidelity and crumbling relationships. How to Cheat has an honest approach to a messy modern marriage, in which the husband in a couple that's struggling to conceive goes to the internet with hopes of finding a woman to have an affair with. Amber Sealey, the film's writer/director, who also plays the wife, attended the screening and participated in a Q&A after the film, but sadly I had to run to make the next movie and missed it. How to Cheat screens for a second time at McMenamins Old St. Francis Theater. Saturday, Oct. 8 at 5:30pm.

The Dish & The Spoon
For my second affair film of the evening, The Dish & The Spoon took a different approach. Rose (played by indie film darling Greta Gerwig) has become a hot mess ever since her husband admitted to having an affair. While seeking out the other woman in order to get revenge, she meets a teenage British boy who becomes her companion. This film is likely my favorite of the festival, so far. Gerwig (who you may remember from Hannah Takes the Stairs, which showed at BendFilm a couple years ago) shines as the wronged woman. I've yet to see better acting in a film at this year's festival. Though, the weekend is still young and I've got three movies lined up to see tomorrow.

In addition to the three movies, I also attended the panel titled, "From Screen to Pen: The Creative Process". Filmmakers from this year's festival, including those who wrote, produced, or starred in Rid of Me, Bucksville, and East Fifth Bliss, to name a few, shared their thoughts on screenwriting, structure and the creative process. I jotted down a few good notes and definitely feel like I learned a thing or two.

Finally, Mike Bookey and I stopped in at the festival's Hub, located at the Liberty Theater, to rub elbows with some of the filmmakers. We were fortunate enough to get on-camera interviews with Bill Plympton, also known as the King of Indie Animation (he even did a drawing for us!), and Michael Knowles, who wrote and directed East Fifth Bliss. Bookey will be posting those videos soon!

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