The Portland Film Festival may be broadcasting online again, but that means you have more time to check out all 300+ deals.


Deep down, no community film festival wants to go virtual. But if he has to migrate online, like the Portland Film Festival did for another year, he might as well blow it up.

Spanning a full month of programming (October 6 to November 8) and roughly 320 titles, one of Portland’s must-see festivals is trying to maximize its online format. Centerpieces like Women are losers, to international documentaries like Africa and me, to Portland features like Sing for me Sylvie, its offerings have increased by more than 100 from the previous year and have doubled from two years ago, notes programming director Joe Stevens.

“We wanted more content available,” he says. “You can’t just have 100 movies running for 30 days. People would burn them. We tend to have a lot of people sitting down and watching 10 movies in a row.

This year’s festival blocks are divided by identity – Black Voices, Indigenous Voices, LGBTQIA + Voices, Veterans’ Voices – but also extend to specific themes and experiences like Voices of Mental Health. This organizing principle ensures programming diversity, but Stevens says it’s all about categorical clarity for the home viewer, who can watch a lot of movies for free with the Xfinity X1 or Xfinity Flex packages. Pay-per-view movies typically cost $ 10, full festival passes cost $ 100, and the VIP experience costs $ 250.

“Online,” Stevens adds, “we find that people tend to like to know what they’re getting into.”

As human interest stories of the pandemic appear from top to bottom in selections, Stevens says the festival has abandoned a COVID-19 film block idea. Not wanting to give virus programming influence, he is impressed with filmmakers who treat the pandemic in a way that goes beyond its brutal tragedy, as in the short comedy about debt collection CoVIG 19.

“Things are starting to clear up as people get used to the way things are,” Stevens says. “Artists are trying to make movies again, things that are relatable.”

Instead of spending the month of October jumping from one screening booth to another or scouring theaters to survey audiences, Stevens and his company will tend to filter out metrics, Facebook reviews, and items. online festival such as ticket caps and geo-blocking.

“[Virtual] is a different experience, ”says Stevens,“ but that’s what we have to do.

To start a journey of 320 films, here’s the best of what we previewed at the 2021 Portland Film Festival:

When Claude got shot

This PBS documentary traces the legal, political and existential fallout from rampant carjacking. Director Brad Lichtenstein harnesses the power of the granular experiments of law student and father Claude Motley, who is severely injured while visiting his old playground in Milwaukee. What separates When Claude got shot of your average criminal docu-journalism watch Motley and his family tirelessly deal with crime as the justice, health and municipal systems make perpetrator and victim almost impenetrable to each other.

Pho the people

Soak up this Portlander Maryam Tu short on a cold morning, and the steam from her huge pot can send a phantom heat tremor through your spine. This in-depth level of food is part of the reason why Tu, a first-generation Vietnamese American, started her own pho business amid the pandemic. Soak up the activism, hard work, culture and generosity behind the broth.

Nisqually go ahead

Designed as an Oregon State University journalism class project, Caleb Jacobson’s brief presentation on the fishing rights of the Nisqually tribe is indebted to tribal legend Billy Frank Jr., who died in 2014. Here we find the son of treaty rights activist, President Willie Frank III, piloting the shallows and obstacles of the Nisqually River while ruminating on the legacy, leadership and lifeblood of his people. The most powerful moments in the documentary see Frank III speaking towards the water rather than towards the camera.

This is not a war story

While director Talia Lugacy’s general style of docu-realism is common at independent film festivals, the way she fragments scenes of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, embraces counseling sessions. ambient hearing and unifies its actors creates a rare naturalism. Performers Sam Adegoke, Danny Ramirez, and Lugacy herself adopt distinct, mirrored body language, often pacing a mission to nowhere with her eyes turned away. But the real star of this vet therapy story is The Therapy Method – a papermaking studio, where vets shred and dip their old uniforms in pulp for artistic expressions of who they’ve become.

SEE : Portland Film Festival tickets and passes available at $ 10 to $ 15 per movie, all access pass $ 100 to $ 250. Free access for Xfinity X1 and Flex customers.

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