The River Bend Film Festival will soon be returning to Goshen. This year’s theme: Making a Splash.
About three years ago, the festival moved from South Bend to Goshen. The festival works with the city of Goshen as well as other groups and individuals, like David Kendall, associate professor of communication, and his wife, Carrie Lee Bland-Kendall. The two run Kendall Pictures and have several film industry relationships, making them a key connection between the college, the city, and the festival.
“When the film festival moved here, they really wanted to partner with Goshen entities,” said Bland-Kendall.
“We’re the people out doing the work, trying to get our special guests here,” said Kendall. Personal relationships with people in the film industry has been pivotal in bringing guests to the film festival.
“It has to be relationship based because you’re asking people to take time out of their busy schedules to be here. They really have to like you to want to come. Money can’t bring them here,” said Kendall.
“There’s so many layers on how GC is connected to the festival,” said Bland-Kendall.
One such connection is through 5 Core Media, which does the videography for the festival.
Students are also given the chance to be emcees and interns at the festival because of arrangements made by Kendall and Bland-Kendall.
“Some of [the students] are able to actually then get a paid position through David’s connections,” said Bland-Kendall.
Students are also able to connect with the festival through their bumper contest. A bumper is a 45 second video related to the festival’s theme. The videos are shown in between films during the festival. Kendall works the creation of the bumpers into his classes, offering students a chance to make their own video.
“Students are creating bumpers for the film festival, which they get credit for in school,” said Bland-Kendall. “Their work [also] gets to be seen by thousands of people that come in from out of town for the film festival. So even if they might not have a film in the festival, GC works are being shown through the bumpers.”
Attendance is another great way students can be involved in the festival. There is something for everyone.
“It’s an international film festival, so we have movies from all over the world,” said Bland-Kendall. “These blocks of films are so entertaining and there’s one [where] we highlight student filmmakers as well.”
Students can volunteer to work at festival at concession stands, ushering, ticketing or helping with crowd control among other jobs. By volunteering, students get a ticket to the festival and a t-shirt.
“It’s an absolute blast when people come and volunteer,” said Bland-Kendall. “It becomes kind of like a family, in a way. Everyone’s coming together to orchestrate this beautiful event.”
“If a student is interested in volunteering, they should act quickly on that. The volunteer base fills up pretty quickly,” said Kendall. The base is almost at capacity for this year and information can be found at the festival’s website.
Highlights of this year’s festival include the 2018 Oscar-winning short film, “The Silent Child,” which will be shown Thursday, May 3. A coffee talk will be held Friday with Rachel Shenton, who wrote the screenplay, and director Chris Overton.
Other featured guests include Indian director Shubhashish Bhutiani and cinematographer Amanda Kulkoski. Their films will be shown during the festival as well.
The festival begins May 3 and runs through May 5. A full lineup of what to expect can be found at the website, www.riverbendfilmfest.com.