Why BendFilm? As the fest nears, a word from a local film lover. | Film | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Screen » Film

Why BendFilm? As the fest nears, a word from a local film lover.

Michelle Haynes Alvarado; Owner and Director at Wahoo Films



arly in my career, I thought I knew everything. I was fortunate enough to work for National Geographic, land a production job at one of the best aquariums in the country, and even snagged Best of Show at the EPIC film festival. I felt ready to make my own feature documentary. Age 24, I had a camera and microphone, a boyfriend and some frequent flyer miles, so I quit my job and set off to the Patagonia region in South America.

For six months, I traveled the country by foot and van, capturing penguins, foxes, salmon, beavers, alpacas and giant glaciers with loud rumbles. When I returned, I sat in front of an editing computer only to discover ...I had no story! And without a story, I had no film. It was this moment that made me realize I had been so focused on technology, I lost sight of what really matters...a meaningful visual story with conflict, characters, and plot. Quickly I returned to the storytelling books from college (with a newfound attentiveness) including my favorite "A Hero's Journey" by Joseph Campbell. Though I couldn't recover the six months in Patagonia, I learned an important lesson: story first.

"Since then, I've studied talented documentary filmmakers like Howard Hall, MacGillivary Films and attend numerous film festivals like BendFilm to spark new ideas on how to make a good story become great."

This is the first feature in a series of stories from filmmakers and film-lovers about how storytelling enhances our lives. #ItsAllAboutTheStory #IndieFilm #BendFilm

14th Annual BendFilm Festival

Thurs. Oct. 12- Sun. Oct. 15

Various Bend locations


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