The Academy qualifying 20th annual BendFilm Festival is confirmed to take place October 12th-15th in-person, and virtually October 16th-22nd, 2023! With consideration to current and potential COVID 19 protocols, guidelines and limitations, the 2023 Festival may be a hybrid of virtual and in-person screenings and events.

***Short films that receive BendFilm's Best Narrative Short, Best Animated Short, and Best
Indigenous Short awards may now be eligible to enter the Academy Award Short Films competition for the concurrent season, provided that the films meet all the requirements set forth in the official rules for that season which can be found at

Named as one of the "Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World" and a near-constant fixture of MovieMaker magazine's "50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee", BendFilm celebrates independent films and the risky, passionate, tough and talented people who make them. The 2022 festival screened 126 narrative and documentary features and short films, with 47% of features and 33% of shorts directed by women. This year's 20th Annual Festival runs from Thursday, Oct. 12 - Sunday, Oct. 22, with most venues located in Bend's historic downtown and the nearby Old Mill District. $11,500 in cash prizes including the $5,000 cash "Best of Show!"

See end of 'Rules & Terms' section for discount codes currently available.

BEST OF SHOW* - $5,000 Cash Prize
All films accepted into the juried Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Outdoor/Environmental Feature, and Indigenous Feature competitions are eligible for this award.



BEST DIRECTOR* - $500 Cash Prize



BEST NARRATIVE SHORT* - $500 Cash Prize (plus Qualification for an Oscar Nomination)


BEST ANIMATED SHORT* - $500 Cash Prize (plus Qualification for an Oscar Nomination)

BEST INDIGENOUS SHORT* - $500 Cash Prize (plus Qualification for an Oscar Nomination in applicable category)


BEST STUDENT SHORT* - $500 Cash Prize

KATIE MERRITT AUDIENCE AWARD for a Feature Film* - $500 Cash Prize

KATIE MERRITT AUDIENCE AWARD for a Short Film* - $250 Cash Prize

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY for a Narrative Feature*

BEST EDITING for a Documentary Feature*

BEST MUSIC VIDEO - $250 Cash Prize

* includes a BendFilm award sculpture


Submission to the 2023 BendFilm Festival constitutes an agreement with all festival terms and conditions, and permission to exhibit the work during the festival if selected. Entrants warrant that they have the legal right to submit the work to BendFilm, that all statements made in this application are true and accurate, and that all necessary rights and clearances have been secured to exhibit the work at the festival.

Submitted work must have been completed after January 1, 2022, and, unless prior approval has been granted, may not have been publicly screened or broadcast in Central Oregon prior to the 2023 festival dates.

Films accepted to screen at the festival will be programmed in competitive and non-competitive categories at the sole discretion of BendFilm, and may be accepted into a category other than the one to which it was submitted. Films not accepted into a juried competition may still be eligible for an Audience Award, as determined by the BendFilm programming committee. Venue(s), program time(s) and number of screenings of selected work are also at the sole discretion of BendFilm. The number of scheduling slots available for competitive and non-competitive narrative features, documentary features and short films may vary from year to year.

BendFilm DOES NOT provide screening fees or honorariums for submitted work — or for any film screening as part of the festival’s juried competition. Feature films available online or on VOD prior to the festival dates will not be considered for competition slots.

BendFilm may deny acceptance of any film at its sole discretion.

ENTRY FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE. Please note: if the 2023 BendFilm Festival is canceled or completely virtual because of an act of God, natural disaster, epidemic, or for any other reason beyond our control, submission fees cannot be refunded.

Online screeners must be provided for submissions to be reviewed by the BendFilm programming committee. If not provided through the submission platform, a direct Vimeo link and password must be emailed to after submission. (In Vimeo, please set the "Where Can This Be Embedded?" privacy setting to "Anywhere" to allow our screening committee to view the film within our review platform. Also, enabling “Watch Later” will give committee members greater flexibility by allowing them to watch your film on TVs and set-top devices enabled with the Vimeo app.)

Entrants will be notified of their submission’s selection status on or before September 1st. If accepted, the entrant agrees to provide an exhibition file in BendFilm's required format along with a BluRay backup posthaste -- or by September 15th at the latest.

Accepted feature films and most short films are required to deliver a DCP. All filmmakers must be prepared to deliver their films in both DCP and ProRes HQ 422 Quicktime File formats. Online delivery may be required instead of, or in addition to this. Final format required for filmmakers is determined by the BendFilm schedule. Foreign language films must be subtitled in English. Any costs necessary to deliver the exhibition file to BendFilm in the required format, or for any necessary subtitling, is the sole responsibility of the entrant.

All accepted films grant BendFilm and their designated agents permission to utilize clips, trailers, and images from the film for BendFilm and BendFilm Festival promotional content. The entrant agrees to notify BendFilm if or when they may lose ownership of the clips, trailers, and images and no longer be able to grant said permission.

If the submission becomes an "Official Selection" and/or wins a Jury or Audience Award, BendFilm requests that this be noted on promotional materials. Festival laurels are available to all Official Selections and Award winners.

All materials sent from outside the United States must be sent "free domicile" to the BendFilm office, with all transportation charges, duties and taxes prepaid by shipper. BendFilm will not handle customs clearances, so please be sure to include all of the proper customs documentation required by your shipping service. BendFilm will cover return shipping to the address designated as the Print Source, or to another festival or destination, within the continental United States via ground shipping.

Although every possible care will be taken with exhibition material in our possession, BendFilm is not responsible for loss or damage. Please do not send originals, special prints or master tapes.



The below discount codes are available for students, women, BIPOC filmmakers, BendFilm alumni, and for films produced in the Northwest. Only one discount may be used per submission. Any misuse of discount codes will result in automatic disqualification without refund.

BFNW23: $5 discount for films produced in the Northwest. To qualify, submitted film must have been filmed in Oregon, Washington, Idaho or Montana. Qualification details must be included in your cover letter.

BFBIPOC23: 75% discount for female and non-binary directors of color.

BFBIPOCM23: 50% discount for male directors of color.

BFFD23: $10 discount for female directors. To qualify, submitted film must have been directed by a woman. This discount is in recognition of the challenges that women face having their voices heard in a predominantly male-dominated film industry.

BFSTU23: $10 discount for student films. To qualify, submitted film must have been produced or directed by individuals who were enrolled in school (college or graduate level) and carried a valid student ID at the time of the film’s production. Qualification details must be included in your cover letter; a copy of the producer or director’s student ID may be required.

BFALUM23: 75% discount for returning BendFilm Alumni. To qualify, the submitted film must include an above-the-line crew member (producer, director, writer, lead actor) who has screened their film at the BendFilm Festival in a previous year (2004-2022). Qualification details must be included in your cover letter.

Overall Rating
  • Had an amazing time premiering my short film Rencontres Paysannes-Farmers Dating with Bend. I thought that the programming and how Selin pairs films together was an art, in itself. Loved the whole festival team too!

    January 2023
  • BendFilm is a filmmaker first festival, and the whole team was incredible. I felt that everyone at the festival was truly excited for me to be there. As an independent filmmaker, most of my time is spent struggling to get projects off the ground, and it was such a wonderful weekend to celebrate the reasons we do this in the first place with all the other filmmakers who were there to celebrate the films themselves. Highly recommend a visit!

    October 2022
  • Yemaya Film

    What an amazing festival! Really grateful to the BendFilm team for including us in this year's program!

    October 2022
  • Ana Lazarevic

    BendFilm truly embodies the spirit of independent cinema. This was one of my favorite festival experiences. I left feeling inspired and uplifted. I hope to be back!

    October 2022
  • Courtney Campbell

    It was an honor to be part of the BendFilm Festival this year! Thanks to all of the staff and volunteers at BendFilm for their hard work and putting on an incredible festival during difficult circumstances. Can't wait to come back!

    October 2021