Portland Film Festival 2015. Image provided.
Portland Film Festival 2015. Image provided.

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Written by: Matthew McGuire
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The 3rd Annual Portland Film Festival is scheduled to showcase the magic within motion picture featuring over 200 screenings in the first week of September.

In 2013, the festival first begun, but its history goes back to 2009. When the Portland Film Club was founded as a film club to bring film lovers together to view and discuss films. The club has now expanded to over 2300 members, and is one of the largest movie clubs on the west coast.

“Portland audiences are the most enthusiastic, film-savvy crowds in the nation, and we’re proud to bring them a stellar festival schedule this year.  We’ve created an incredibly diverse and large program of films and events that honor cinema legends, celebrate new approaches and experimentation in film, and showcase the best in contemporary cinema,” said Josh Leake, Portland Film Festival Founder and Executive Director.

Screenings take place across the city at seven venues, including some of the oldest historic theaters in Oregon, and includes outdoor screenings as well.


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Portland Film Festival’s weeklong extravaganza will include:
Lifetime achievement tributes for Academy Award-winning stop-motion pioneer Will Vinton and acclaimed creature sculptor and puppet maker Wendy Froud, who will be recognized for her work as a fabricator on Yoda for “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,” and contributions to such films as “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth.
Zombie Day Apocalypse. A live all-day Labor Day event featuring several thousand festival goers as extras in a Guinness Book World Record-setting film shoot, “Zombie Day Apocalypse”, to be directed by George Cameron Romero, son of legendary filmmaker George A. Romero. Event will include a night time screening of a surprise zombie film.
One of the largest educational platforms for a film festival anywhere. Lead by award-winning professionals in their fields, this year’s festival will offer over 70 workshops, classes, panels and networking events for actors, screenwriters, and filmmakers.
Screenplay Competition. Four finalists from 380 submissions have been chosen to be read by actors live to an audience. One finalist will win a  production grant worth $20K.
A jury of industry professionals and acclaimed filmmakers will be presenting awards to competition films in the following categories: Jury Award for Feature Doc, Jury Award for Narrative Feature, Audience Award for Feature Doc, Audience Award for Feature Narrative, plus additional awards to be announced.
NARRATIVE COMPETITION
10 films to celebrate the best of independent cinema by filmmakers who push the boundaries with imagination and style.
6 Angry Women  / U.S. (Director: Sridhar Reddy, Screenwriters: Alexandra Bennett, Barbara Figgins, Katelin Healy, Danielle McConnell, Fawzia Mirza, Alison Plott, Sridhar Reddy) A young, unarmed black teenager is shot by a white neighborhood watchman, and it is up to a jury of six women to determine if the man is guilty of murder. Cast: Alexandra Bennett, Barbara Figgins, Katelin Healy, Danielle McConnell, Fawzia Mirza, Alison Plott. WORLD PREMIERE
Aimy in a Cage / U.S. (Director, Screenwriter: Hooroo Jackson) A creative teenage girl is placed into a mind-altering procedure to civilize her, while news of a virus epidemic spreads throughout the world. Cast: Crispin Glover, Allisyn Ashley Arm, Terry Moore, Paz de la Huerta, Michael William Hunter. WORLD PREMIERE
As Good as You / U.S. (Director: Heather de Michele, Screenwriter: Gretchen Michelfeld) A woman chases her dream to start a family by asking her late wife’s brother to be her sperm donor and craziness ensues. Cast: Laura Heisler, Anna Fitzwater, Raoul Bhaneja, Annie Potts, Bryan Dechart, Peter Maloney. WORLD PREMIERE
Divine Access / U.S. (Director, Screenwriter: Steven Chester Prince) Jack Harriman becomes a spiritual celebrity after debunking an evangelical host of a local public-access TV show.  Cast: Billy Burke, Gary Cole, Patrick Warburton, Sarah Shahi, Joel David Moore, Adrienne Barbeau. NORTHWEST PREMIERE
Drama  / U.S. (Director, Screenwriter: Sophie Mathisen) Life is a difficult script to learn.  Cast: Sophie Mathisen, François Vincentelli, Jonathan Burteaux, Tom Wren, Nicole da Silva. WORLD PREMIERE
For Love & Broken Bones / South Africa (Director: Tebogo Malope, Screenwriters: Tebogo Malope, Libby Dougherty) When a lonely and isolated debt collector falls in love with his latest assignment, he must choose to follow his heart. Cast: Mduduzi Mabaso, Lerato Mvelase, Mashala Letsoalo. WORLD PREMIERE
The Makings of You / U.S. (Director, Screenwriter: Matt Amato) Frank Wallis and Judy Meadows are comfortably numb to their lives, but when a chance encounter brings them together, their love for each other reignites life’s sweet, unimagined possibilities. Cast: Jay Ferguson, Sheryl Lee, Grace Zabriskie. WEST COAST PREMIERE
Odd Brodsky / U.S. (Director: Cindy Baer, Screenwriters: Cindy Baer, Matthew Irving) A quirky comedy about following your dreams. Cast: Tegan Ashton Cohan, Matthew Kevin Anderson, Scotty Dickert, Jim Hanks. NORTHWEST PREMIERE
Oloibiri / South Africa (Director: Curtis Graham, Screenwriter: Samantha Iwowo) Based on true events, a story about the first oil well drilled in Nigeria and how the impact affects a small Nigerian Delta Village and the lives of those involved. Cast:  Diana Colmar-Espinosa, Bradley Gordon, Olu Jacobs. WEST COAST PREMIERE
Touched with Fire  / U.S. (Director: Paul Dalio, Screenwriter: Sophie Mathisen) Two manic depressives meet in a psychiatric hospital and begin a romance that brings out all of the beauty and horror of their condition. Cast: Katie Holmes, Luke Kirby, Griffin Dunne, Bruce Altman, Christine Lahti. WEST COAST PREMIERE
DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
10 new films from around the world that tackle real life stories with bold vision and energy.
Audition / U.S. (Director: Matt Herron) A romance is portrayed by one hundred actors who compete for two lead roles and a chance to perform the final terrifying scene. WORLD PREMIERE
Business of Amateurs / U.S. (Director: Bob DeMars) An ex-athlete turned filmmaker seeks answers regarding student-athlete rights and discovers uncorrected injustices. WORLD PREMIERE
Congo Beat the Drum / Israel, Jamaica (Director: Ariel Tagar) A musical journey into the forgotten corners of Jamaican reggae and its past champions. WEST COAST PREMIERE
Generation Maidan / Ukraine (Director: Andrew Tkach) A group of Ukrainian filmmakers capture history in the making. What began as a peaceful protest, turned into revolution and finally war. U.S. PREMIERE
I Am Thalente / South Africa, U.S. (Director: Natalie Johns) A homeless teenager from South Africa attracts international attention with his effortless style on a skateboard and is invited to travel to the US to skate with the pros.  NORTHWEST PREMIERE
Kings of Kallstadt / Germany, U.S. (Director: Simone Wendel) A humorous documentary about German small village life and its famous American relatives: Donald Trump and Heinz Ketchup. WORLD PREMIERE
Lost and Found / Japan, U.S., Canada (Directors: Nicolina Lanni, John Choi) One year after Japan’s largest earthquake, beachcombers along the Pacific Northwest coastline started finding Japanese items washing ashore. In turn, the unlikeliest of friendships, across two continents, were forged in the wake of this massive natural disaster. WORLD PREMIERE
Made in Japan / Japan, U.S. (Director: Josh Bishop) A journey through music, marriage and the impact of the corporate world on the dreams of one woman. WEST COAST PREMIERE
Sweet Micky for President / Haiti, U.S. / (Director: Ben Patterson) Musician Pras Michel of the group The Fugees goes up against the corrupt government of Haiti by mobilizing a presidential campaign for controversial pop star Sweet Mickey. NORTHWEST PREMIERE
Tyke: Killer Elephant / Australia (Directors: Susan Lambert and Stefan Moore) Tyke the circus elephant breaks free in front of thousands of onlookers. Her break for freedom leaves the city in shock and sparks a global battle over the use of performing animals. WEST COAST PREMIERE
OPENING NIGHT FILM (DOCUMENTARY)
GRU-PDX / Brazil, U.S. (Director: Daniel Barosa) Set amidst the rich contemporary music scene of Portland, Oregon, Brazilian indie band Quarto Negro journeys to the city to record their second album. During a six month stay, they discover the highs and lows of  musical life in Portland, and that recording their new album isn’t a task for the faint of heart. WORLD PREMIERE
OPENING NIGHT FILM (NARRATIVE)
Birds Of Neptune / U.S. (Director: Daniel Steven Richter, Screenwriters: Steven Richter, Flavia Rocha and Michael Lea) Two sisters live alone in their Portland childhood house trying to keep memories of a mysterious past intact. When a man enters their world and starts to pull at the fragile threads holding everything in place, they find themselves facing harsh truths about their past. Cast: Britt Harris, Molly Elizabeth Parker, Kurt Conroyd. NORTHWEST PREMIERE
CLOSING DAY  EVENT – ZOMBIE DAY APOCALYPSE
To be held on Labor Day during the festival, a special all day and night event will set a Guinness Book of World Records for ‘most extras in a short film’. Director George Cameron Romero, son of iconic horror director George A. Romero (Dawn of the Dead), will direct. Award-winning makeup artists will oversee effects for an anticipated cast of thousands. Event will also include a nighttime surprise zombie film screening.
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around The World / U.S. (Director: Dana Nachman)The Make-A-Wish Foundation and the city of San Francisco join forces to grant a five-year-old boy’s wish to become Batman for a day, drawing worldwide attention. PORTLAND PREMIERE
TRIBUTE: VISIONARIES
Special tribute events, awards, and discussions with masters of cinema, celebrating  visionary pioneers of their field.
Will Vinton – The world renowned Claymation® pioneer and Academy Award winner Will Vinton will receive a lifetime achievement award for his innovative contributions to the history of animation. Event will also include a 30th anniversary screening of his legendary stop-motion classic, “The Adventures of Mark Twain,” and his Academy Award Winning Short, “Closed Mondays.”
Wendy Froud – An American doll-artist, creature sculptor, and puppet-maker, Wendy Froud is a profound contributor to the history of pop culture and cinema.  She is best known for being a member of the fabrication team of the iconic character Yoda for the 1980 film “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” and also fabricated timeless creatures for the Jim Henson films “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth”.  In appreciation of her work, LucasFilms will generously share unique behind the scenes archival images from her Star Wars work, and Wendy will be honored with a lifetime achievement award.
Amy Vincent – Trailblazing cinematographer Amy Vincent created an indelible impression with her debut feature film, “Eve’s Bayou”, and she’s been making unforgettable images ever since in a series of classic films, including “Hustle and Flow”, “Black Snake Moan”, and “Footloose”. For its 10 year anniversary, she will screen “Hustle and Flow’ and offer insight into the making of the fan favorite.
MUSIC MAVERICKS
Honoring musicians, music and culture, these documentaries celebrate a diversity of genres and influences through the power and love of music.
Congo Beat the Drum / Israel, Jamaica (Director: Ariel Tagar) A musical journey into the forgotten corners of Jamaican reggae and its past champions. WEST COAST PREMIERE
The Glamour & the Squalor / U.S. (Director: Marq Evans) The story of Marco Collins, a legendary Seattle DJ who played the music that defines the 90’s grunge generation. Featuring: Carrie Brownstein, Shirley Manson, Macklemore,
Mike McCready, Ben Gibbard, Kurt Cobain. PORTLAND PREMIERE
Morphine: Journey of Dreams / U.S., Italy (Director: Mark Shuman) The in-depth tale of the “low-rock” nineties Boston band who blazed like a comet across the global music scene. Interviews with Henry Rollins, Joe Strummer, Dana Colley, Steve Berlin, Mark Sandman,Billy Conway. WEST COAST PREMIERE
The Whole Gritty City / U.S. (Director: Richard Barber) An immersion into the world of three New Orleans school marching bands. WEST COAST PREMIERE
SPECIAL SCREENINGS
Unique one-time film events, marquee names, and highlights of the best of modern film.
Bereave / U.S. (Directors: Evangelos Giovanis, George Giovanis, Screenwriter: George Giovanis) Garvey thinks he has figured out how to die alone. When his beloved wife goes missing; he must live to save her. Cast: Malcolm McDowell, Jane Seymour, Keith Carradine, Vinessa Shaw, Mike Starr, Mike Doyle. PORTLAND PREMIERE
The Frontier / U.S. (Director: Oren Shai, Screenwriters: Oren Shai & Webb Wilcoxen) A desperate young woman discovers a violent gang of thieves at a desert motel and hatches a plan to steal their loot. Cast: Kelly Lynch, Jim Beaver, Izabella Miko, Liam Aiken. PORTLAND PREMIERE
Like Me / U.S. (Director: Michael Kuell) A documentary about NYC comedian and actor Micah Sherman attempts to overcome his lack of boundaries and social anxiety to find his digital voice through social media.  Featuring: Micah Sherman, Hannibal Burress, Jim Gaffigan, Grace Helbig, Maria Bamford, Janeane Garofalo. WORLD PREMIERE
The Makings of You / U.S. (Director, Screenwriter: Matt Amato) Frank Wallis and Judy Meadows are comfortably numb to their lives, but when a chance encounter brings them together, their love for each other reignites life’s sweet, unimagined possibilities. Cast: Jay Ferguson, Sheryl Lee, Grace Zabriskie. WEST COAST PREMIERE
The Resurrection of Jake the Snake / U.S. (Director: Steve Yu) A documentary portrait of legendary wrestler Jake “The Snake” Roberts as he charts his personal and professional comeback while battling crippling addictions. Cast: Jake Roberts, Dallas Page, Chris Jericho, Steve Austin, Adam Copeland. NORTHWEST PREMIERE
This is Happening / U.S. (Director, Screenwriter: Ryan Jaffe) Two estranged siblings. Five pounds of pot. One runaway grandmother. Cast: James Wolk, Mickey Sumner, Judd Nelson, Cloris Leachman. WEST COAST PREMIERE
We are Twisted F***ING SISTER / Germany, U.S. (Director: Andrew Horn) A documentary about the history of the iconic 80’s metal band Twisted Sister, tracing their origins in the bar scene of early 1970s Long Island to their pre-MTV rise as a popular regional, New York-based band in the mid 1970s and early 1980s. U.S. PREMIERE
Yosemite / U.S. (Director, Screenwriter: Gabrielle Demeestere) Set in 1985, intertwining tales of three fifth grade friends unfold as the threat of a mountain lion looms over Palo Alto. Cast: James Franco, Henry Hopper, Calum John, Alec Mansky, Everett Meckler. PORTLAND PREMIERE
MIDNIGHT SPOTLIGHT
After dark movies full of wonderfully weird, provocative, and comedy highlights of new cinema.
Dude Bro Party Massacre III / U.S. (Directors: Tomm Jacobsen, Michael Rousselet, Jon Salmon, Screenwriters: Michael Rousselet, Alec Owen, Ben Gigli, Brian Firenzi, Jon Salmon, Joey Scoma, Michael E. Peter, Mike James, Timothy Ciancio, Tomm Jacobsen) A hysterical and bloody twist on 80’s slasher flicks, in which a dorky loner must infiltrate a party-centric fraternity to solve the murder of his twin brother. Cast: Alec Owen, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Patton Oswalt, Larry King, Nina Hartley, Greg Sestero. PORTLAND PREMIERE
Mega Summer Hit: A Slam Dunkumentary / U.S. (Director: Ryan Max O’Meila, Screenwriters: Thomas Kellogg, Kyle Newacheck, Ryan Max O’Meila)A mockumentary about a social media contest that sends its makers into the deepest corners of their minds as they struggle to finish the film. Cast: Thomas Kellogg, Kyle Newacheck, Ryan Max O’Melia, Blake Anderson, Adam Devine, Anders Holm. WORLD PREMIERE
Space Program / U.S. (Director: Van Neistat, Screenwriters: Van Neistat, Tom Sachs)Two female astronauts go to Mars in a handmade space program to answer humankind’s ultimate question…are we alone? A provocative collaboration between acclaimed artist Tom Sachs and director Van Neistat. WEST COAST PREMIERE
NORTHWEST
Celebrating narrative and documentary films made in the Northwest area, as well as unique films made by Northwest filmmakers.
The Black Sea / U.S. (Director, Screenwriter: Brian Padian) Five friends arrive at a beach house on the Oregon Coast for a holiday weekend, where one of them mysteriously disappears overnight. Cast: Cora Benesh, Erin McGarry, Corrina Repp. WORLD PREMIERE
Deep Dark / U.S. (Director, Screenwriter: Michael Medaglia) A failed sculptor, is about to end it all until he finds a strange, talking hole in the wall. Cast: Sean McGrath, Anne Sorce, Denise Poirier. US PREMIERE
Vintage Tomorrows / U.S. (Director: Byrd McDonald)A documentary about the Steampunk movement’s explosive growth, origins, and cultural significance, which explores the fundamental question: what can we learn about tomorrow from Steampunk’s playful visions of yesteryear? NORTHWEST PREMIERE

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