By Scott Hammers

The Bulletin

BendFilm has hired a new director, filling a position that has been vacant since the film festival board reorganized its management in December.

Friday, the group announced it has selected Todd Looby. BendFilm board member April Munks said Looby is scheduled to start work April 18.

A onetime construction manager, Looby transitioned to full-time filmmaking in 2008 and has written, shot and directed a variety of films and commercials. Looby also has served as the executive director of a nonprofit that operates a boarding school in Liberia.

Munks said Looby made a good impression on her and other board members when he visited Bend to interview for the position.

“I think what really struck us is he’s passionate about independent film and values what that can add to our community,” Munks said.

In December, the BendFilm board split the director’s role into two positions, creating a director and a program manager. Orit Schwartz, director for the four prior film festivals, left the organization.

With the reorganization, Looby will take on the role of serving as the “face of BendFilm,” Munks said, overseeing fundraising and setting the overall vision for the organization.

The program manager will work more closely with filmmakers, Munks said, helping to select the lineup of films for each year’s festival. Munks said BendFilm has not yet hired a program manager, but expects to do so shortly after Looby starts work.

Munks said Looby has a track record of fundraising success with his work with the Liberian boarding school and seems to have a good sense of how to approach fundraising efforts in Central Oregon.

“Anybody can fundraise and some people are more successful than others, but he really understood how important it is to build and maintain relationships in the community to build and sustain BendFilm,” she said.

This year’s festival is scheduled for Oct. 9-12.

— Reporter: 541-383-0387,