Ready to get weird? Yes, if you’re here, reading this then we already know your answer is an enthusiastic and heartfelt “hell yes.” What better place to get weird than the original shooting location for David Lynch’s iconic Twin Peaks. A film festival set against the backdrop of North Bend just sort of lends itself to a little extra weird. The North Bend Film Festival returns in person to the historic North Bend Theatre August 4 – 7, 2022. This year’s fest is serving up a diverse lineup of feature-length and short films spotlighting unique voices and compelling perspectives that the festival has become known for.

This year’s first Centerpiece film comes from filmmaker Mali Elfman, who is also the recipient of the festival’s Dulac Vanguard Filmmaker Award, honoring extraordinary achievement in filmmaking from a director as seen in their first or second feature. 

Next Exit

Elfman’s directorial debut feature Next Exit, centers on a scientist who proves the existence of an afterlife, causing two deeply tormented strangers to travel cross-country together to take part in the study and voluntarily end their lives. “Elfman has gifted us with a compassionate work of genre fiction, taking a bold premise and balancing terror, humor and empathy with a graceful hand,” says Senior Programmer Joseph Hernandez. “Dedicating her career to a love of genre film, championing female filmmakers and building a separate body of work in the medium of immersive experiences, Mali Elfman is the kind of multi-disciplinary artist that completely embodies the spirit of North Bend Film Festival. We’re elated to award her the second-ever Dulac.”

The second Centerpiece film is director Carter Smith’s (The Ruins) Swallowed. Two best friends mix drug smuggling, bugs, and horrific intimacy in a way that promises to leave audiences’ skin crawling. Jena Malone returns to collaborate with Smith in this dirty and disturbing nightmare, along with “an unforgettable supporting performance” from A Nightmare On Elm Street II queer horror icon Mark Patton.

Don Coscarelli’s Bubba Ho-Tep will celebrate its 20th anniversary at the festival, telling the real story (or is it?) of Elvis and JFK. Supernatural buddy comedy The Civil Dead is also on our radar. Lots of fantastic fare rounding out the shorts programs, with three different blocks; Home Transmissions, featuring shorts from filmmakers in the PNW, Something Strange, bolstering short films that are wonderfully weird, and Cinema Vista, which highlights genre-bending shorts.

StrangeStorytellingHour

But wait…. there’s more! In addition to feature and short film screenings, the festival has an array of events for attendees to enjoy. Strange Storytelling Hour returns, hosted by Seattle-based storyteller, comedian, and weirdo Emmett Montgomery. For those looking to get a little spooky, there is Ghost Hunting 101, an introduction to paranormal investigation and ghost hunting with local area haunts also explained.

The North Bend Film Festival badges are now on sale. The four-day fest has returned to a completely in-person event. The Vista Badge includes tickets to ten films, and access to select events and meetups. Individual tickets go on sale Friday at noon, including the popular locals-only discount! Get your pass at the official festival website.

Check out some of the festival highlights below.

Centerpiece Film

SWALLOWED – Pacific Northwest premiere

United States | 2022 | 92 Min. | Dir. Carter Smith

What was supposed to be a quick, easy drug run quickly turns into body horror hell when two best friends are forced to smuggle the drugs by ingesting them. A dirty and disturbing queer nightmare from Carter Smith (director of THE RUINS), featuring a take-no-bullshit Jena Malone (DONNIE DARKO, THE NEON DEMON) and a delightfully unhinged supporting turn from Mark Patton (SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET).

Retrospective Screening

BUBBA HO-TEP – 20th Anniversary Presentation

United States | 2002 | 92 Min. | Dir. Don Coscarelli

After a long run with the PHANTASM franchise, writer/producer/director Don Coscarelli gave the genre film world yet another long-favored midnight movie gem in the form of 2002’s BUBBA HO-TEP. Starring Bruce Campbell in his other role-of-a-lifetime as Elvis Presley and the brilliant Ossie Davis (DO THE RIGHT THING) as John F. Kennedy, this cult classic imagines the two legendary figures as senior home residents waging war against an evil soul-sucking mummy. Courtesy of The Silver Sphere Corporation and American Genre Film Archive.

THE CIVIL DEAD – Pacific Northwest Premiere

United States | 2022 | 103 Min. | Dir. Clay Tatum

Clay Thompson writes, directs and stars in this grungy, supernatural buddy comedy. Struggling artists and childhood friends Clay and Whit reconnect after a chance encounter and make a spooky discovery, which binds them together and puts old friendships to the test. A Utopia Release.

Home Transmissions: PNW Shorts

Experience another dimension of fantasy, horror, and sci-fi that only our region could breed. No, this isn’t The Twilight Zone, but it may as well be. Next stop—The Pacific Northwest.

RACHELS DON’T RUN, dir. Joanny Causse, DEATH IN A BOX, dir. Simeon Gregory, PAST LIFE, dir. Rose O’Shea, PAPER PLAIN, dir. Rana San, William Myers, NO SPECTATORS ALLOWED, dir. Kanani Koster, THAT PIECE OF YOU, dir. Jessica Barr, Baby Fever, dir. Hannah May Cumming

Something Strange

From retro video dating services and dark family secrets, to vampire therapy and bloodthirsty locals, we’ve gathered seven strangely compelling shorts you won’t want to miss.

KAFKAS, dir. Nick Blake (UK), WILD CARD, dir. Tipper Newton (USA), SCOOTER, dir. Chelsea Lupkin (USA), THEY SEE YOU, dir. Jared Januschka (USA), THE LIVING, dir. Cleo Handler (USA), WILD BITCH, dir. Rebekka Johnson, Kate Nash (USA), BREAK ANY SPELL, dir. Anton Josef (USA, Canada)

Cinema Vista

Pushing boundaries and opening minds, Cinema Vista isn’t for the faint of heart. Find your new favorite short in this collection of intense and unforgettable genre-bending films.

OTHER BODIES, dir. Alyssa Loh (USA), BLACK DRAGON, dir. Alexander Thompson (USA), BUG BITES, dir. Daniel DelPurgatorio (USA), URSULA, dir. Hannah Heller (USA), CREEP BOX, dir. Patrick Biesemans (USA), WHILE MORTALS SLEEP, dir. Alex Fofonoff (USA), DARKER, dir. Frank van den Bogaart (Belgium)

Live Screenplay Reading: THE OLYMPIANS 

Written by Jenah Silver

Presented by Valley Center Stage

Join NBFF for our very first screenplay reading with Jenah Silver’s THE OLYMPIANS, a horror-thriller currently in development. As we expand our festival programming into different facets of filmmaking and storytelling, let’s go to where it all begins: the written word. We’ve teamed up with Valley Center Stage and their regular staged reading series to bring you this soon-to-be major motion picture, an exhilarating and terrifying roller coaster of a story from an impressive new voice who writes female characters with strength and depth amidst high-octane thrills.

THE OLYMPIANS blends action, sports, and horror in a gruesome tale of survival as we follow a group of five female athletes running from the monster stalking their remote training camp. But the closer they get to escaping, the higher the stakes become as individual dynamics and old rivalries threaten their chances of survival. They say every Olympian dies twice: once when they retire, and once when they actually die. Hopefully retirement happens first…

Campfire Conversation with… Mali Elfman

Witness an in-depth conversation with producer, writer, director, immersive creator and 2022 Dulac Vanguard Filmmaker Award recipient Mali Elfman. The multi-hyphenate talent will discuss her debut feature NEXT EXIT as well as the many ways she’s left her imprint all over the genre film space producing films such as Mike Flanagan’s BEFORE I WAKE and the horror anthology SCARE PACKAGE, co-founding horror short film distributor Fun Size Horror and creating multiple live experiences as a member of the immersive company All of Them, Witches!

Strange Storytelling Hour

Presented with Northwest Film Forum 

This year’s theme: “Float”. A great monster once told me “we all float down here”. These days, this expression seems more relevant than ever as we see time and geography broken, with the things that once kept us tethered to our home now seemingly drifting away. Join storytellers as they share moments in time where gravity felt like just another lie.  

This event will be hosted by Seattle-based storyteller, comedian, and weirdo Emmett Montgomery — NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Seattle Weekly’s Best Comedian 2015, 2017, 2018, and host and curator of the community based “comedy” show Joketellers Union (with Brett Hamil) and the experimental basement/storytelling show The Magic Hat.

Ghost Hunting 101

Presented by Hidden Northwest Tours

Join Hidden Northwest Tours for an introduction to paranormal investigation, ghost hunting and more. From location discovery, historical research to folkloric influences, learn what it takes to collect and archive the unexplained. Local sites will be discussed in detail as well as tools and special materials used. See ya there!

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