Residents wait outside the North Bend Theater on the opening night of North Bend Film Fest on Thursday, July 15. Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record

Residents wait outside the North Bend Theater on the opening night of North Bend Film Fest on Thursday, July 15. Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record

North Bend Film Festival returns to in-person

In a return to normalcy, a small crowd gathered at the North Bend Theatre to watch “Swan Song,” the opening night film of this year’s North Bend Film Festival.

“We’re together, in-person, watching a movie,” senior film programmer Joseph Hernandez said prior to the screening. “My heart is full.”

The North Bend Film Festival returned, mostly in-person, for its fourth year this past weekend, after going completely virtual in 2020. The four-day festival showcased 16 featured films, from eight different countries, in addition to eight short films and several immersive events.

All films were presented in a hybrid format, with viewing available both in-person and online throughout the festival’s four-day run.

“What we felt like was lost most last year was the physical connection to North Bend,” said Jess Byers, one of the founders of the festival. “This year we tried to focus on the idea that this festival is meant to bring films to town.”

The festival celebrates vanguard film making, a style that promotes experimentation or boundary pushing ideas in either style or subject.

“We’re bringing films that premiered at Sundance or the Portland Film Fest to North Bend that focused on pushing the boundaries of cinema,” Byers said. “We had an idea that we would love to do a film festival that tries to promote different ideas or artists, whether they’re BIPOC or queer or whatnot, and try to bring them to a community that might not have access to that.”

Byers said early on in the development process for this year’s festival, the group focused on developing a program that could be available online and in-person, depending on what happened with the pandemic.

“When we were developing, we had no idea we would be in-person,” he said.

In January, the festival was scheduled to be just five films, as the festival was expecting to navigate logistical hurdles, including the possibility of multiple hours of turnaround for cleaning between film screenings.

By May, the team began expanding the festival, doubling the amount of films playing and moving some of the interactive elements, including a storytelling hour, to in-person events.

“I would say this is a transition year for us. The entire arts community has been harmed by COVID, so it feels really good to be back in the theater and to have a full slate of films and filmmakers,” Byers said. “Although it’s maybe not as large as it was a few years ago, we’re really excited to be back.”

Some of the festival’s virtual events can still be accessed through July 23 at bit.ly/2UrLFTh


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

NW Carpenters Union members strike in front of downtown Bellevue construction site (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
Carpenters union strike interupts some prominent Eastside construction projects

Union representative says members are prepared to strike “as long as it takes.”

Map of proposed landfill expansion sites (screenshot from King County website)
Waste management expert knocks county’s plan to expand landfill

The waste management advocate said the decision to expand seems pre-determined despite assessment.

Participants in fundraiser previous event (courtesy of Alzheimer’s Association Washington State Chapter)
Walk To End Alzheimer’s returns to Eastside on Sept. 25

Alzheimer’s Association moves forward with plans for an in-person event.

file photo
State employees including first responders sue state over vaccine mandate

The lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 90 plaintiffs claims Inslee’s order is unconstitutional.

Masked spectators watch Mount Si’s Sept. 10 football game against Yelm High School. Photo Courtesy of Calder Productions.
Snoqualmie Valley schools deal with COVID cases, staffing shortages

Enrollment numbers rose as students in the Snoqualmie Valley School District successfully… Continue reading

North Bend City Council. 	Courtesy photo
North Bend limits restrictions on low-income housing

The North Bend City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Sept. 7 in… Continue reading

Cars lined up at Snoqualmie Valley Hospital on March 26, 2021, as people awaited their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as part of the hospital’s first mass vaccination event. File Photo contributed by Snoqualmie Valley Hospital.
Valley COVID case rates decrease, but remain high

COVID-19 case rates across the Snoqualmie Valley decreased in some areas over… Continue reading

Pixabay photo
Union carpenters to go on strike, expected to impact Eastside Microsoft projects

Members authorized strike after rejecting AGC offer for the fourth time.

Most Read