Right now, pink shirts line the windows of the former PF Chang’s outpost just north of Burnside. “Out is in,” they read—commemorating the Portland Film Festival’s commitment to LGBT issues. But! The slogan also goes a long way to explaining how this upstart, unapologetically wild, far-from-the-spotlight, still-green event—which sprawls across seven venues for all of next week—is suddenly so very, very IN. This IS the Portland you've been looking for.
There are films about Mars-bound lady-nauts, mysteriousness on the Oregon Coast (starring our own Corrina Repp), armless airplane pilots, WWE’s Jake the Snake, Morphine AND Twisted Sister. And like, 100 more screenings, panels, workshops, and special events. We start with seven picks for the festival’s seven days:
Kings of Kallstadt
Wednesday, Sept 2, at 2:15 pm, Sunday, Sept 6, at 11:45 am, Mission Theater
What do Donald Trump and Heinz Ketchup have in common? No, not unfathomable mass-market commercial appeal. Guess again! Ok, it’s a small German town.
Wendy Froud Lifetime Achievement Award
Wednesday, Sept 2, at 5 pm, Mission Theater
She made Yoda, along with other fantastical creatures from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. Now the long-time Portland resident gets a retrospective of her time with Star Wars and other powerhouse productions. Yoda, did we mention?
Tyke Elephant Outlaw
Thursday, Sept 3, at 7:15 pm, Sunday, Sept 6, at noon, Mission Theater
August 1994: a circus elephant breaks loose and runs amok through the streets of Honolulu. This happened, for real, and for a reason. This documentary receives its West Coast premiere here. (We wonder if the Oregon Zoo might like a private screening?)
Thursday, Sept 3, at 4:30 pm, Living Room Theatre
Hugh Jackman, you’re all right with us. You’re handsome, well traveled—this time, as a humanitarian ambassador to Ethiopia—and seem to have a strong altruistic streak. But, can we really impact global poverty through fair trade coffee? Show us the way!
Dennis Nyback’s Historic Film Tour of Portland
Saturday, Sept 5, at 10 am, PFF headquarters (aka, PF Chang's)
The tam-hatted Nybeck will regale you, real time, with downtown Portland film arcana spanning 100 years. This tour unfolds on foot, like the gods of pop history intended. (No Segway for you!)
#STORYWORLD15: Marvel Transmedia
Saturday, Sept 5, at 4 pm, Stage 13
Ten years ago, we marveled at Marvel’s comeback, with its string of Hollywood blockbusters, brand resurgence, and platform-blurring prowess. Marvel is still ascendant—learn how and why with Geoffrey Colo of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter. Who will build the next “transmedia” platform. Could it be you?
Monday, Sept 7, starting at 9 am, secret location
Going out with a brain-mawing bang, PFF’s final day is devoted to achieving a Guinness Record-smashing shoot—most extras in a single short film! Zombiecore guru George Romero’s son (that’ll be George C. Romero) flies in to direct a short film from The Doors scriptwriter Randall Jahnson. All that’s missing? Thousands of extras like you, converging on a (still) top-secret location.
Portland Film Festival runs September 1-7.