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BendFilm buys Tin Pan Theater for movie showings


BendFilm announced this week the purchase of the 28-seat Tin Pan Theater in downtown Bend “to expand its rich tradition of programming the best independent, foreign and leading-edge films.”

BendFilm said in an announcement Wednesday it “has been steadily increasing its year-round offerings in response to community demand for more independent cinema.”

“In addition to the cutting-edge programming the Tin Pan already showcases, BendFilm will add special programming, leveraging all the incredible films screened at the festival that don’t typically have the opportunity to enjoy wide release at public theaters,” the organization said.

BendFilm said it “sees the Tin Pan as the perfect venue to expand its mission to bring the community together through the art form of film to start conversations, connections and inspire action about the things most important to its community members.”

The film festival said the previous Tin Pan owners, Micah Jordan and Esme LaVoy, “have built something incredibly special that the Bend local community and visitors have come to cherish. BendFilm wants to expand on all of its visionary work to make this theater a true community resource.”

“Creating a space for our community and festivalgoers is something we have been working towards for many years as part of our vision and strategic planning,” BendFilm said. “The Tin Pan will bring our supporters and partners more visibility, as well as opportunities to engage with all film lovers local and visiting.”

BendFilm said it purchased the Tin Pan, at 869 NW Tin Pan Alley, for $131,500 “after consulting with ours board of professionals and an experienced business valuator with more than 15 years experience, and Micah and Esme agreed. The BendFilm business plan for running the theater saw this opportunity as a way of furthering our mission in a financially sustainable manner.”

BendFilm said it will roll out a special film education series for a wide range of audiences, from youth to the retirement community. Almost Immediately, they’ll host a four-part series on important genres of world cinema such as Iranian films, which will be hosted by year-round BendFilm programmer Ellen Shelton.

BendFilm will also start Food for Thought, a weekly series of matinee films that will precede a meal at partnering restaurants like Joolz.

“Anyone who has entered the Tin Pan immediately falls in love with the space,” said BendFilm Executive Director Todd Looby. “The filmmakers we host, Bend cinephiles and travelers who relax after long days enjoying all Bend has to offer. Micah and Esme built a truly unique space that brings something new to the cinematic experience.

“At BendFilm, we know film has an undeniable power to connect people and this intimate theater makes that experience all the more powerful. We cannot wait to bring even more community-building programming to this space-building on the existing fan base and bringing in new film-lovers.”

Another program BendFilm hopes to roll out in the fall is the “Early Release Wednesday Film Club,” where students from local schools come to the Tin Pan to be introduced to classic and important cinema accompanied by short lectures from local experts.

The theater will also allow BendFilm to expand Festival operations and programming as any excess revenue from the Tin Pan will be reinvested in the festival.

BendFilm said it wants to continue hosting great events at the theater such as Armchair and Bend Design, and additionally serve as an incubator for new ideas, like what happened with The Night Light Show with Shanan Kelley.

BendFilm also said it “is currently seeking benefactors to lighten the financial load of the purchase in exchange for recognition and VIP treatment.” Inquiries can be directed to Tracy Pfiffner, BendFilm’s marketing and development manager, at

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