Liyana, directed by Amanda Kopp and Aaron Kopp
Liyana

Liyana, directed by Amanda Kopp and Aaron Kopp won the top prizes – Best of Show and Audience Awards at the 2017 BendFilm Festival. In total, the festival awarded 14 films and filmmakers with jury recognized and audience voted prizes.

Todd Looby, Director of BendFilm said, “I want to thank everyone who came to contribute to the creative culture of the 14th annual BendFilm Festival.  […] I know the conversations sparked by these films will live on well past these 4 days.”

Erik Jambor, Festival Programmer for BendFilm said, “This year’s Festival was one of BendFilm’s funniest, deepest, most adventurous and most heartfelt programs to date. Though the awards could only go to a few, we are honored to have been able to screen and share all 105 with the our festival audience. Through dialogue and sharing stories together we strengthen our sense of community locally and around the world.”

2017 BendFilm Festival Jury Award Winners

Best of Show
Liyana – directed by Amanda Kopp and Aaron Kopp

Five orphaned children in Swaziland collaborate to tell a breath-takingly beautiful story of perseverance drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams. Their fictional character’s journey to rescue her young twin brothers is interwoven with poetic and observational documentary scenes to create a genre-defying celebration of collective storytelling.

Best Director
Bomb City – directed by Jamie Brooks

Based on the true story of Brian Deneke, Bomb City is an intense and illuminating crime-drama about the cultural aversion of teenage punks and artists in a conservative Texas town. Their ongoing battle with a rival, more-affluent group of jocks leads to a controversial hate crime that questions the morality of American justice–especially relevant today.

Best Cinematography
Relationtrip – directed by Renée Felice Smith and C.A. Gabriel

At an age when everyone around them is settling down and finding love, Beck and Liam are self-proclaimed loners. After bonding over their mutual disinterest in relationships, they decide to go away together on a ‘friend’ trip. And that’s when things get weird. Really, surreally weird.

Best Narrative Feature
Mr. Roosevelt – directed by Noël Wells

After an auspicious death in her family, struggling LA-based comedian Emily Martin (Noel Wells, Master of None and SNL) returns to Austin. There she finds herself in the awkward position of staying with her ex and his new girlfriend until the funeral while trying to close old doors from her past.

Best Documentary Feature 
Forever ‘B’ – directed by Skye Borgman

In 1974, in the quiet town of Pocatello, Idaho, 12-year-old Jan Broberg was kidnapped by her family’s best friend and neighbor. 18 months later, out on bail and awaiting trial for kidnapping, Robert Berchtold abducted Jan a second time, triggering a nationwide FBI manhunt.

Special Documentary Jury Award for Most Lovable Character
Big Sonia – Directed by Leah Warshawski and Todd Soliday

When Sonia Warshawski (90) is served an eviction notice for her iconic tailor shop (in a dead Seattle mall), she’s confronted with an agonizing decision: either open up a new shop or retire. For a woman who admits she stays busy “to keep the dark parts away,” facing retirement dredges up fears she’d long forgot she had, and her horrific past resurfaces.

Special Short Film Jury Award
A Shepherd – directed by Vern Moen

A young shepherd in Oregon’s Willamette Valley struggles with the life and death circle of his ancient job in a modern era.

Special Short Film Jury Award
Homegrown – directed by Quentin Hamberham

Francis learns that what is right for himself may not be best for his son.

Special Short Film Jury Award
Mixtape Marauders – directed by Peter Edlund

Two young burnouts live in a world of mindless day jobs, petty drug deals, and wildly unconventional musical tastes.

Best Student Short 
How Far She Went – directed by Ugla Hauksdóttir

Adapted from the Flannery O’Connor Award-winning short story by Mary Hood, How Far She Went takes an unflinching look at family, personal sacrifice, and the lengths we will go for those we love.

Best Documentary Short 
The Last Honey Hunter – directed by Ben Knight
Maule Dhan Rai is the last man in the remote Nepal village of Saadi who has been visited in a dream by a spirit called Rongkemi. If no one else in the village has the dream, a generations-old tradition may die.

Best Animated Short
Pittari – directed by Patrick Smith
A horned creature’s destructive rampage is halted by a stubborn adversary.

Best Narrative Short
Emergency – directed by Carey Williams

Faced with an emergency, a group of young Black and Latino friends carefully weigh the pros and cons of calling the police.

Best of the Northwest Short 
Running Eagle – directed by Konrad Tho Fiedler
An American Indian girl escapes from captivity in the oil fields of North Dakota and hitchhikes back to her home in Blackfeet country, Montana.

2017 BendFilm Katie Merritt Audience Award
Liyana – directed by Amanda Kopp and Aaron Kopp
Five orphaned children in Swaziland collaborate to tell a breath-takingly beautiful story of perseverance drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams. Their fictional character’s journey to rescue her young twin brothers is interwoven with poetic and observational documentary scenes to create a genre-defying celebration of collective storytelling.

Share this article ...