BendFilm Festival 2021

FIRST FEATURES Conversation with Narrative Competition Filmmakers

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Taking that first big leap into the great unknown world of feature filmmaking is an incredibly difficult step. The filmmakers on this panel will talk about how they mustered the courage and assembled the resources to make their first feature film, their transition from shorts to features, the challenges that they faced to make their first films, and what they plan to do next.

Moderated by our Festival Director Todd Looby, panelists include Mylissa Fitzsimmons (Director, Everything In the End), Kaveh Nabatian (Director, Sin La Habana), hazart (Directors, A Hard Problem), and Brad Bischoff (Director, Grasshoppers).

Mylissa Fitzsimmons

Mylissa has been a finalist for various film programs and grants including, The Lynn Shelton “of a certain age” grant, HBO Directing Fellowship, and a 2 time Screencraft short film finalist and a Screencraft finalist for her short story writing. In 2017 she won the Sun Valley Film Festival Short Film Lab for her script Who Decides. In 2018 she was invited to participate in The Reykjavik Talent Lab in Iceland. Her award winning shorts That Party, That One Night and Who Decides have played at various festivals and can be seen online. She is the co-founder of The Los Angeles Women’s Film Collective, has worked as a producer on many short films and is an Executive Producer on the feature film A Black Rift Begins To Yawn (Slamdance 2021 winner). Everything in The End is her debut feature film.


The filmmaking duo hazart has been collaborating since 2002. Based in Los Angeles, the pair spent a decade working in the production of feature films, television shows and commercials. After being mentored by talented artists and craftspeople, in 2013 hazart shifted their focus from physical production to creating their own work. Directing five short films and a series of fine art photography, A Hard Problem, marks their feature film debut.

Kaveh Nabatian

Nabatian has spent the last decade directing and shooting narrative films, music videos, television series, and feature-length documentaries all over the world. A musician by trade, he also makes music for film, dance, various ensembles, orchestra, and theatre. He has taught filmmaking at the Cine Institute in Haiti, where he continues to work and develop projects with Haitian filmmakers and writers, as well as in the Algonquin community of Kitigan Zibi. An IFP Narrative Lab Fellow and an alumnus of TIFF Writers’ Studio, Berlinale Talent Campus, TIFF Talent Lab, and TIFF Pitch This, he aspires to make films that have the immediacy of music, and to make music that has the evocative of film.

Brad Bischoff

Recently named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film,” Brad Bischoff is an award-winning director whose work has been staff-picked by The Atlantic, Vimeo, Short of the Week, YouTube, and screened throughout film festivals all over the world. He is an alumni of the Telluride Film Festival student symposium program (’07) and an honors graduate of Columbia College Chicago (’09) with a Bachelor’s degree in Film/Video. He's a proud father of two children, an Australian Shepherd, and a flock of chickens living in Ventura, CA. Notable work includes a national campaign for Oscar Mayer, Michelob, and Kool-Aid.