The NW Film Center Will Revive the 2020 Portland International Film Festival

A handful of titles that did not screen at PIFF in March will be available online and at the Zidell Yards drive-in from October 1–3.

By Conner Reed September 21, 2020

Not to sound like Jennifer Aniston on that panel with Janelle Monáe, but if you’re searching for tiny silver linings on this year from hell, here’s a crumb: film festivals, previously location and capacity-dependent, have been newly digitized and democratized. Annual events like the New York Film Festival are shifting their traditionally exclusive formats to something a little more accessible—digital screenings, mostly, with drive-in options for eager locals.

Today, the Portland International Film Festival joined the club. The festival was slated to run for 10 days in the middle of March, but lasted only six before it was cut short by statewide social distancing orders. Banner titles like First Cow were scrapped, and the NW Film Center, which organizes the festival, got busy building a digital screening room and organizing a drive-in engagement at Zidell Yards on the South Waterfront.

Now, the center is gearing up to launch PIFF 2.0. Next week, it will screen a total of 10 films online and at the Zidell Yards drive-in; most are titles that had been scheduled for March’s festival, including The Dark Divide, an Oregon-shot biopic of butterfly expert Robert Michael Pyle, and the Luca Marinelli-starring historical drama Martin Eden. Check out the full schedule here, including breakdowns of what you can watch from your couch and what you can watch from your car

To supplement the screenings, NWFC is hopping on the Zoom train: next Friday, executive director Amy Dotson will chat with Rajendra Roy, chief curator of film at the MoMA, and on Saturday, First Cow writer Jon Raymond will talk about writing regionally specific work. 

Stay tuned for more coverage as the festival unfolds.

PIFF 2.0

Oct. 1–3,, up to $55 per screening

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