Film festivals? Yeah, we got ’em

Tonight, Fifth Avenue Cinema will play host to the “Visuals” film festival, an event they hold each year at the end of every term.

Tonight, Fifth Avenue Cinema will play host to the “Visuals” film festival, an event they hold each year at the end of every term. The event will feature free food, live music, an awards ceremony and more. On top of all that, it’s free for PSU students.

Hopefuls were encouraged to submit their shorts—not to exceed 10 minutes in length—by Feb. 25, giving participants plenty of time to let their creative juices flow. These juices, however, are barred from producing and submitting a pornographic film, which is the only genre that is prohibited.

Though the deadline is passed, it is surprising to find that Fifth Avenue Cinema accepts submissions from people other than the PSU student body. As stated in the rules and regulations, the contest is also open to PSU faculty and “fans of 5th Avenue Cinema.” Essentially, anyone can submit a short.

Besides the food provided by around-the-corner eatery Hot Lips Pizza, this quarter’s soiree features performances by two live bands: Spookfish and Cotton. It is unclear whether Fifth Avenue Cinema is extending to full-time music venue, in light of this and Fanno Creek’s performance there last Friday.

Spookfish is a Portland artist who’s music sounds tailor-made for scoring a film festival. Not too many of the songs sound alike, but a lot of its tracks share a sonic commonality; many of them sound like circus music run through a pitch-shifting vibrato pedal. Drums, ambient vocals and a smattering of acoustic guitars find themselves into the mix on occasion.

Attendants of “Visuals” won’t find much out of the ordinary with Spookfish’s tunes, however, because even agreeing to attend a film festival consisting of several 10-minute-maximum shorts puts one’s attention span on the chopping block. That said, Spookfish has multiple self-released albums to draw from that span a huge variety of styles.

Cotton’s web presence isn’t nearly as well defined as that of Spookfish, so trying to locate its music is a task unto itself, which is only augmented by its common name. This isn’t a bad thing, though—the films are just as much of a surprise, so why shouldn’t this mentality bleed into the musical acts as well?

Fifth Avenue Cinema is Portland State’s student run-media center. Way back before most of us were born, the cinema was a Portland art-house staple. The cinema specialized in hard-to-find limited-run artsy flicks, the likes of which couldn’t be seen at any other movie theatre in town. It was only in 1989 that the theatre was reclaimed and reopened by PSU students, where it has been providing the student body with personally-selected flicks, free popcorn and free admission ever since. Even non-PSU students are only asked to pay a paltry $3 for entry, and only two if the moviegoer happens to be a student anywhere else.  That alone makes the Fifth Avenue Cinema the best deal in town, and it’s right in PSU’s back pocket.

If you are looking for a last breath of fun before dead week begins, interested in checking out some of Portland State’s budding filmmakers or are just looking for something to do tonight, “Visuals” just might be the ticket for you. Plus, there’s free pizza.