The Portland Film Festival

The Sixth Annual Portland Film Festival begins with a kickoff party tonight (Monday, October 22) and ends with a bang on Sunday, October 28th. This year’s festival features over 200 movies stretching from drama to comedy to classic horror films. Half the movies were directed by women and there are 40 terrific films from Portland filmmakers.

Click here to see a video interview with festival founder Josh Leake.

Here is the schedule:

The festival opens with the Filmmaker Welcome Reception and Champagne Toast at Gearhead Production Rentals located at 4720 SE 26th Ave.from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Kick off the festival with local industry filmmakers and influencers with hors d’oeuvres and champagne. This event is free and open to the public for adults 21 and older.

Tuesday, October 23: Opening night film screenings and party at Custom Blocks.

Wednesday, October 24 – Sunday, October 28

Screenings of more than 200 independent and mass audience films– with more than half directed by women and more than 40 from Portland area filmmakers – as well as workshops, panels, film industry events and parties.
Talks with NBC Universal archivist, Jeff Pirtle, and monster movies screened daily, including a historic screening of Spanish Dracula as well as digitally restored horror films like Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy’s Hand, Dracula’s Daughter
and Creature from the Black Lagoon, among others.

New LATINX program features a selection of films, workshops and classes held in Spanish – including the opening night film The Chunta by Portland filmmaker, Genevieve Roundané, about a small town in Mexico where men transform into women once a year. The festival will also host a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration on October 24 with DJ collective Noche Libre.

New Indigenous Voices program features a selection of films about issues facing indigenous communities.

Daily Director Chats from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Powell’s City of Books where attendees can listen to film directors from around the world discuss their movies the day they premiere at the festival while enjoying a complimentary lunch. Hear behind-the-scenes stories and get the inside scoop on everything that went right (and wrong) in making their movie. TBA special guests will moderate the daily director chats. Past guests include Jason Momoa, Haley Joel Osment and Eli Roth.

Saturday, October 27

Future Filmmakers Movie Premiere Event: kids from the Boys and Girls Club, alongside film industry professionals, will premiere their monster-themed short films on the big screen.

Closing Night Monster Bash & Awards Ceremony: honor the festival’s film competition winners and bring a close to the festival while celebrating the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein.


Opening Night Films

Lez Bomb | Narrative: From executive producer, Bobby Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary), comes a new holiday comedy about a young woman who comes home for Thanksgiving with some news. The eccentric cast of characters that make up her extended family have their own stirring surprises. As it turns out, there is no good time to drop the Lez Bomb. Starring Oscar® winner Cloris Leachman, Oscar® nominee Bruce Dern and Steve Guttenberg, Kevin Pollak, Elaine Hendrix, Brandon Micheal Hall and Jenna Laurenzo. USA | 90min | Director: Jenna Laurenzo

The Chunta | Documentary: In a small town in Mexico, once a year, men transform into women and become the Chuntá. Follow two gender-bending gangs of dancers as they face off in a struggle between queer identity and powerful traditions. Portland/Mexico | 62min | Director: Genevieve Roundané

Feature Narrative Competition Films:

Alaska is a Drag | Leo’s dreams of superstardom are hard fought working in a fish cannery. He fights to survive. When a new boy moves to town he and his twin sister are forced to confront the reason they’re stuck in Alaska. USA | 88min | Director: Shaz Bennett
Mail Order Monster | Unable to move on from her mother’s death, a girl and her robot-like monster run away from her father’s new marriage. USA | 88min | Director: Paulina Lagudi

Porcupine Lake | A story of bravery and the secret world of girls during a fateful summer when adulthood has not yet arrived, but childhood is quickly vanishing. Canada | 84min | Director: Ingrid Veninger

Rich Kids | Rich Kids is a film that sympathetically views the modern day challenges of economic disparities, gentrification, and displacement faced through the lens of Latino and Afro- Latino American youth. USA | 97min | Director: Laura Somers

Rust Creek | When an overachieving college senior makes a wrong turn, her road trip becomes a life-changing fight for survival in rural Kentucky. USA | 108min | Director: Jen McGowan

Touch Me Not | 
A brave and raw look at bodies, intimacy, and empathy, exploring the private lives and sexual desires of four people with an approach that blurs the line between fiction and documentary. Romania, Germany, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, France 125min | Director: Adina Pintilie

Full line-up of narrative films premiering at the festival available soon at

Feature Documentary Competition Films

Amigo Skate, Cuba | Amigo Skate, Cuba uncovers the county’s illegal underground skate culture in a story of cooperation overcoming culture clash—and a universal quest for freedom on four little wheels. USA and Cuba | 72min | Director: Vanesa Wilkey-Escobar

Behind the Curve | Delve into the outlandish world of Flat Earthers—people who honestly believe that the world is flat, and that a massive conspiracy is keeping us from the truth. USA | 96min | Director: Daniel J. Clark

Believe the Beat | 
This tender rites of passage tale follows a crew of Brazilian street dancers. As they take their dance from city park to global stage, a community rises and a young filmmaker finds her voice. Portland | 78min | Director: Jocelyn Edelstein

Campesino | An amateur photographer documents for the last 15 years the disappearing way of life of Cuba’s tobacco farmers, forging friendships and capturing dignity through his surprisingly intimate pictures. Cuba | 89min | Director: Mia Tate

Edge of Success | The Edge of Success examines the epidemic of teenage suicide that has hit hundreds of communities across the United States, going deep into the recent teenage suicide clusters in Palo Alto, California. USA | 70min | Director: Liza Meak and Kathryn Basiji

The Most Dangerous Year | In 2016 a group of Washington State families with transgender kids joined the fight against a wave of discriminatory anti-transgender legislation that swept the nation and their home state. USA | 88min | Director: Vlada Knowlton

Full line-up of documentary films premiering at the festival available soon at

Shorts: More than 100 short films will premiere and feature a diverse and complex range of stories. For the full line-up of shorts premiering at the festival, visit

Portland Focus

Believe the Beat | Documentary: 
This tender rites of passage tale follows a crew of Brazilian street dancers. As they take their dance from city park to global stage, a community rises and a young filmmaker finds her voice. Portland | 78min | Director: Jocelyn Edelstein

Karen Doesn’t Dream | Narrative: 
A listless young woman, Karen, becomes addicted to ‘sleep tapes’, bizarre VHS recordings of people sleeping. As she delves deeper into her dependency, her life unravels in dark and unexpected ways. Portland | 108min | Director: Zach Huckaby

Little Star | Narrative: 
The road trip hits a rough patch as Scott and his older brother Kirk grow farther apart. Scott remembers a simpler time when they were close. USA | 87min | Director: Tamir Rawlings

Living While Dying | Documentary: 
A life-affirming documentary on how to live with the fear of death by living life to its fullest. Portland | 45min | Director: Cathy Zheutlin

State of Cyclocross | Documentary: The film explores the sport’s counter-cultural past, its existence today and what needs to be done to sustain it moving forward as it is clear that a great shift in the sport is underway. Portland | 22min | Director: Drew Coleman

Pretty Broken | Narrative
: A young woman reconnects with her family after her father goes missing in the Himalayas. Convinced he’s still alive, she plans to go to Everest and bring him home herself. Portland | 106min | Director: Brett Eichenberger

Three Days of Glory | Documentary: Explore never before filmed events and follow a colorful cast of winemakers through the brutal 2016 season, learning how Burgundy became the epicenter wine and the pinnacle of wine celebration. Portland | 72min | Director: David Baker and Scott Wright

Trouble With Wolves | Documentary: The Gray Wolf’s triumphant return to Yellowstone has divided America. From hunters and ranchers to biologists and wildlife specialists involved, this film reveals what’s really going on out West. USA | 57min | Director: Collin Monda


Amigo Skate, Cuba (description above in documentary competition films)

Campesino (description above in documentary competition films)

Hermanos | Documentary: 
Two Mexican brothers that want to go back to the US, in parallel with the story of an American woman who lost her house and believes she can get it back through Trump’s promises. Mexico and UK | 80min | Director: Laura Plancarte

Onibo | Documentary: 
A modern day tale of two brothers from the Shipibo Amazonian tribe, their dreams of modernity and their reconnection with the tradition of their forefathers. France | 61min | Director: Julien Mauranne et Victor Guillon

Primavera | Narrative
: A father tells his son the unofficial, but real story about the family they belong. Through his memories we are taken to a journey into the memory of time. Brazil | 104min | Director: Carlos Porto de Andrade Junior
Indigenous Voices

The Blessing | Documentary: 
A Navajo coal miner raising his secretive daughter on his own, struggles with his part in the irreversible destruction of their sacred mountain. USA | 74min | Directors: Hunter Baker and Jordan Fein

More Than A Word | Documentary: 
Activists campaign to get the Washington Redskins to change their name. USA | 70min | Directors: Kenn Little

Those Who Come, Will Hear | Documentary: A unique meeting with the speakers of several indigenous languages of Quebec. Canada | 77min | Director: Simon Plouffe

The Whale House | Documentary: A Native Alaskan community heals through the return of its most sacred stolen artwork; the Whale House, considered the “Sistine Chapel” of Native American Art. Canada | 88min | Director: Margarita Ramon

Closing Night Films:

Inventing Tomorrow | Documentary: Meet passionate teenage innovators from around the globe who are creating cutting-edge solutions to confront the world’s environmental threats – found right in their own backyards – while navigating the doubts and insecurities that mark adolescence. USA | 105min | Director: Laura Nix

When Jeff Tried to Save the World | Narrative: Jeff (Jon Heder) is the manager of an old-school bowling alley called Winky’s World. When Jeff’s boss Sheila (Candi Milo) tells him that her soon-to-be ex-husband Carl (Jim O’Heir) is selling Winky’s, he takes matters into his own hands. Jeff is forced to face the reality that his life as he knows it may slip out of his grip. A secret hidden within the walls of the building may be exactly what it takes to keep the ball rolling when the lanes begin to look more like a maze than ever before. Jon Heder will be in attendance. USA | 99min | Director: Kendall Goldberg

About Presenting Sponsor Comcast NBCUniversal

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation’s largest video, high- speed internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the XFINITY brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the XFINITY brand. NBCUniversal operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures and Universal Parks and Resorts. Visit for more information.

About Custom Blocks, The Hub of the Portland Film Festival

Custom Blocks, the Central Eastside Industrial District’s newest creative office space, is located at SE Madison and Salmon streets, and SE 9thand10thAvenues. Developer-owners Capstone Partners and Premium Property USA acquired the property in early 2017 and transformed eight separate buildings into a 72,000 square foot high-end creative office space.

About the Portland Film Festival

The Portland Film Festival is one of Oregon’s largest film festivals, and was named “one of the coolest film festivals in the world,” by MovieMaker Magazine in 2014. It is a non-profit, year round organization dedicated to nurturing filmmakers and audiences, and to celebrating the power of a good story. The festival focuses on the people, ideas, technology, skills and artistry behind filmmaking, and provides both entertaining and educational opportunities for the public. Supporting sponsors in addition to the festival’s presenting sponsor, Comcast NBCUniversal, include CustomBlocks, Capstone Partners, Koerner Camera, Mark Spencer Hotel, Gearhead Production Rentals, SAG-AFTRA, ABI Insurance, Crank PDX, The Plum Tree Mortgage, Pro Photo Supply, Powell’s City of Books, Pepsi and others.

Catch Gary Wolcott Friday afternoons at 4:50 on KXL’s Afternoon News.

Gary has been KXL’s movie critic since 2014. A lifelong fan of film, he’s been a film critic in radio, television and newspaper for 28-years. Wolcott catches a couple of hundred movies a year and he sees a great many of them so you don’t have to.

He is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

Got a movie suggestion or comment? Click here to email him.



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