Todd Looby has been with BendFilm for a few years now, and with his team of programmers, workers and volunteers, has crafted a festival that Bend can be proud of. Here Todd takes a few minutes to talk about his favorite movie, the culture of film and what he's looking forward to in this year's festival.
What is your favorite film? Why?
My favorite film is "Dances With Wolves." I say that always feeling the need to qualify it despite the fact that the film won something like 12 Oscars. So...we know it's a great film, but why does it seem strange (even to me) as a favorite film pick?
Anyway, the film came out at the same time we first got cable/HBO at home and I watched the movie almost every day for a summer. Since I was really young, I'd always been enamored with frontier and Native philosophy and stories and this was the first time I saw a movie that humanized all characters—both heroes and villains and spoke to the wonder of the sacred outdoors and what is lost when we don't give it proper attention.
Why do you feel film is important to the culture of a community?
Film is the newest of all art forms and at a little over 150 years old (or whatever it is) it is still in its infancy if we compare it to music, literature and the performing arts. It is also unique in that it combines each of the art forms that came before it: music, photography, performing arts and written word. And, as with all great art and art forms, film is an incredible tool to helping us understand all the abstract things going on around us at such a quick pace. Watching a relevant and great film slows time and makes you see the world differently after walking out of the theater. At the past two fests, I've heard dozens of stories from audience members and filmmakers who have changed perspectives or learned something through simultaneously experiencing a film and making a connection afterward.
Who is your favorite film character?
I'm going with the first that popped in my mind: "Rupert Pupkin" by DeNiro in Scorsese's "King of Comedy." I never knew of De Niro's comedic early career before reading Shawn Levy's biography of him. And even though it's not really a comedic part, it just screams of De Niro's talent and range. We all know that you can't take your eyes off De Niro in any role, but little is said about his incredible range—especially in his prime. And Pupkin is—in itself—such a perfect embodiment of tragi-comedy. The concluding monologue in the film is one of the most engaging character studies that exists in film.
If you could describe your life as a film, which one would it be?
My life as a film would be "Brian's Song" meets "Stand by Me" meets "Breakfast Club" meets "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" meets "Dazed & Confused" meets "Office Space" meets "Men with Guns" meets "Limbo" meets "8-1/2." So...yeah...make sense of that!
Which BendFlim entry are you most excited to see this year?
"Return of the Secaucus 7." I included two Sayles films in my answer above...so that says something about what an honor it will be to host John Sayles and Maggie Renzi.