Toward the end of the Cinema Unbound Awards on March 8, guests were treated to a surprise unveiling of a new name for the Portland Art Museum’s Northwest Film Center—PAM CUT, Center for an Untold Tomorrow. The new name, which was developed in partnership with Portland-based Skylight Collective, positions the 50-year-old organization for a more expansive future. How does a cinematic organization both honor its past and prepare for a rapidly changing future? Take a peek into the process with PAM CUT Director Amy Dotson and Skylight Collective Partner Romani Lay.
What does the new name represent and mean for the future?
Amy Dotson: Of Portland, for all, PAM CUT exists to expand the story and write our next chapter alongside our vibrant creative community.
Business as usual—be it a festival, a class, or movie-going experience—will be a bit more unusual as we push the boundaries of what’s possible. No matter the format, the stories we champion and share will expand (and occasionally bend) minds. They will shift perspectives and encourage shared experiences that get us out of the house and into new dimensions, which we need now more than ever.
We're here for embracing storytelling in all its many forms from around the corner and across the globe, and also embracing the artists who want to express themselves in a variety of ways and don’t fit in neat little boxes. We're here for audiences and communities who want to share experiences through our participatory, vibrant, ever-evolving and unbound programming too.
What were the highlights or challenges of the renaming process?
Romani Lay: It was a unique and complex opportunity—beyond simply rebranding the NW Film Center, our priority was to create a clear connection between the organization and the Portland Art Museum. Our challenge was to align on a name that would elevate the center’s unique perspective, stand out among its contemporaries, and invite bold and creative participation. Every step of the process was collaborative. Our workshops, community surveys and 1:1 interviews resulted in deep insight, clarity of purpose, and ultimately a name and identity that represents what the organization is, and also what it is becoming at the brink of an untold tomorrow.
Why was a renaming needed?
Amy Dotson: 50 Years ago, the Film Center was founded as a place for artists and audiences to experience and explore the magical, immersive world of cinema. That spirit remains, but let's just say a lot has changed. Changing for whom, by whom and how cinematic stories are told is our mission, but every great story, including our own, can expand, grow and take on new forms.
Going forward, we're anything but one-size-fits-all, as there’s no one way to experience PAM CUT and its offerings. Which Skylight absolutely nailed in working with us on a brand platform that reflects who we are today!
What did this project mean for the Skylight team, and how does it compare to other projects?
Romani Lay: Whether we are helping Nike to enter the Metaverse or rebranding Electronic Arts, our strategic expertise in the entertainment category combined with technical artistry made this program the pinnacle of a lifelong dream to rebrand a beloved cultural institution. We are truly a collective of musicians, writers, and artists across all mediums. We are united by a passion for art, and for pushing the boundaries of our craft through technology. Art is also at the heart of every community, strengthening our cultural bonds and inspiring us to go beyond our own experiences.
Now and Coming Soon at PAM CUT I Center for an Untold Tomorrow
Whitsell Auditorium Weekend Matinee Screenings: March highlights include Tilda-Whirl, an immersive celebration of the ever-evolving performances of Tilda Swinton.
VR to Go: Rent a VR headset from PAM CUT’s downtown location and experience stories from top global media artists at home. You’re not just watching the story, you are IN it!
- Cinema Unbound Outdoor Screenings & Experiences: They’re back and more fun than ever. More details will be announced in early April 2022.
- Spring classes include The Gooey 80’s: Transforming Bodies, Affect, and the Physicality of Practical Effect as well as kids stop-motion animation classes!
Co:Lab Summer Camp! is back In-person including:
- Stop Motion Animation and Pod Camp: Let Your Voice Be Heard (ages 8 - 11);
Puppetry Arts, Fashion and Film and Game Design (ages 11 - 14)
- Sustainability Labs: Designed to support U.S. multidisciplinary media arts storytellers, the Labs connect participants with the professional and personal growth opportunities necessary to thrive. Applications for Fall 2022 begin on April 1.
Want to join the fun? pamcut.org for tickets, classes and more information