2017 Portland Film Festival

| October 26, 2017
The 2017 Portland Film Festival, presented by Comcast, will  screen 152 narrative and documentary films October 30th through November 5th, 2017, at Portland’s iconic Laurelhurst Theater.  The festival will include special opening and closing night screenings and parties, a Pittock Mansion Gala, educational panels, workshops, special presentations, and daily networking events and opportunities throughout the festival.
This year’s fifth edition will present two opening and closing night films (a documentary and a narrative film on each night) and feature and short films in the following sections: Narrative and Documentary Competition Feature, Narrative and Documentary Spotlight, Shorts, Indigenous Voices, Portland Lens, and Special Screenings. This year, 89 of the films programmed (59%) were directed by women.
Said Josh Leake, Portland Film Festival Founder and Executive Director, “Hearing from independent voices has never been more important as it is today. This year’s movies, panels and programs are from engaging new filmmakers, the best of new indie film, and icons of classic cinema. We’re proud to present this year’s program – especially our Portland and Indigenous Voices sections, which will screen films each day to local audiences. In one week, we will present more independent cinema than most theaters screen in a year.”
Comcast is the Presenting Sponsor of the 2017 Portland Film Festival.  Supporting Sponsors include: Koerner Camera, SAG-AFTRA, ABI Insurance, Whole Foods, Portland Monthly, Crank PDX, The Oregonian, Plum Tree Mortgage, KINK FM, Pro Photo Supply and others.
Established in 2013, 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.
All screenings will take place at the historic Laurelhurst Theatre at 2735 E. Burnside St. Tickets, general info and merchandise will be at the Laurelhurst throughout the festival.. Presenting
Sponsor Comcast will host The Comcast VIP Lounge at the Cardinal Club, 18 NE 28th Ave.
Two films of note are The Valley and Curtsy, Mister. The Valley is about an immigrant entrepreneur’s seemingly idyllic life that is shattered by the suicide of his daughter.  This loss is examined through the eyes of the father moreso than the mother, who is dealing with her own infidelities. The daughter who has committed suicide seemed to have to compete with her sister, who is studying to be a cardiologist at an Ivy League college. She is lost, but her parents don’t seem to pick up on her misery. Her father is a hard-working executive, and her mother is a stay-at-home mom. It is sad to see the movie play out, with the father obsessed with finding an answer to his daughter’s solitude. In the midst of it all, the remaining family members learn much about each other, which in the end makes for a tighter family unit.
Curtsy, Mister is a look into the life of renowned fashion editor Ronnie Grant, who shares his misadventures through the fashion and beauty industries, overcoming drug addiction, and eventually working at Essence Magazine. In his unique, dignified and joyful manner, Grant takes the audience on a trip through his life–one where he was encouraged as a child to wear a wig and makeup. Grant’s life is a brilliant and poignant study in sexual identity and drug abuse, while he tries to figure it all out. I really enjoyed this film. While it has been at a few film festivals, I had never heard of the title. Curtsy, Mister, indeed, is the story of a little boy who gets trapped in a pair of slingback shoes. It’s a title worth checking out at this film fest.
Opening Night Film (Narrative); Zilla & Zoe:
Zoe, age 10, is obsessed with directing horror films, but to win a filmmaking contest, she must shoot her next film at her sister’s wedding.
Portland | 104min Director: Jessica Scalise in attendance
Opening Night Film (Documentary); When They Awake:
A generation of established and emerging indigenous musicians in a moment of cultural and political resurgence. USA Premiere
Canada | 91min Directors: P.J. Marcellino & Hermon Farahi in attendance. Special music guests in attendance.
Closing Night Film (Narrative); Crash Pad:
About an eccentric misfit in love with an older married woman and his misadventures with her husband.
USA | 99min Director: Kevin Tent in attendance. Stars: Christina Applegate, Domhnall Gleeson, Thomas Haden Church
Closing Night Film (Documentary); Out of State:
Held thousands of miles from their island home, native Hawaiians inmates and their culture in an Arizona prison.
USA | 82min Director: Ciara Lacy in attendance
Other festival highlights include:
  • Oregon Governor Kate Brown has declared Oregon the State of “Independent Film” and Mayor Ted Wheeler has proclaimed Portland the “City of Film” during the Festival. The festival will screen over 152 films from around the world, 89 of which were directed by women.
    You can catch a Portland made film every day.
  • November is National American Indian Heritage Month. Each day, a film will be shown in a new section, Indigenous Voices.
  • A percentage of this year’s ticket sales will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Portland and the Wild Salmon Center..
  • Special festival guests include: veteran filmmaker Joe Dante, Aisha Tyler, Shia LaBeouf, and screenwriters Sam Hamm, David Arata, Leslie Dixon, Miguel Tejada-Flores, Jeremy Lipp, and Randall Jahnson.
  • Over ten short film programs and events, including screenings of work by local Portland filmmakers, and a special program of films created by youth in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Portland.
Complete festival lineup, passes, and individual tickets available:
Festival Trailer:

About the Author:

Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago. She is the author of "Old School Adventures from Englewood--South Side of Chicago" and the proud parent of "the smart rapper"--chemist-turned-rapper, turned humanitarian...Psalm One!
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