Portland proclaims November ‘Northwest Film Center Month’ in honor of anniversary milestone
For 40 years, Portland’s own Northwest Film Center has been producing, promoting and showing films of all genres. On Friday, Nov. 11, they will be celebrating the past four decades with a birthday celebration and screening party, and preparing for their 40th anniversary season.
Northwest Film Center was founded in 1971 and incorporated into the Portland Art Museum in 1978. The center offers nearly 20 classes covering the fundamentals of film production and studies and hosts a number of film festivals annually. With an attendance of about 80,000 at various media arts offerings per year, the Film Center reaches one of the most diverse audiences in the community.
The new season kicks off with the opening of the 38th Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival and the Film Center’s 40th birthday party. The event commences the 2011–12 season of screenings and School of Film programs.
“The response from the public has been positive,” said Jessica Lyness, public relations and marketing manager at the center. “This month has been proclaimed ‘Northwest Film Center Month’ by the city and the state in honor of our anniversary, so that’s been a great start.”
The 40th birthday party will take place in the Portland Art Museum’s Fields Ballroom and will feature many of the Northwest Festival Filmmakers and special guests. Local bands Brainstorm and Dirty Mittens will play during the festivities, and complimentary snacks will be available in addition to a no-host bar.
“I’m excited to get better acquainted with these two hot Portland bands,” said Thomas Phillipson, regional services manager of Northwest Film Center.
The party will also feature an assortment of birthday cakes and desserts to be admired and served, generously donated by local bakeries, including Alder Pastry & Dessert, Artisan Cake Company, Cupcake Jones, New Cascadia Traditional, Papa Haydn, Pearl Bakery, Saint Cupcake and Voodoo Donuts. All members of the community are welcome to join in the celebration.
“Our fans and supporters are coming out of the woodwork to help us celebrate this whole coming season,” Phillipson said. “We knew we had a lot of support in the community, but it’s great to give them an opportunity or two to show it.”
Immediately following the celebration at 7 p.m. is the opening night screening for the Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival. The first film, Spirit Up 2011, is a video-installation by artist Chris Lael Larson. The abstract project is the first of many screenings that will take place during the ten-day festival.
“Out of 425 entrees, there are 41 official selections this year, plus the teen division of the Young People’s Film Festival and several shorts by Devon Damonte,” Phillipson said.
Phillipson, who has worked for the Northwest Film Center in many capacities since 1998, has been organizing the festival for nine of the last 11 years. When asked about his favorite selections this season, he had a difficult time answering.
“That’s a lot like asking a father if he has a favorite child,” Phillipson said. “I am most excited about sharing the shorts programs because short films, no matter how great they are, often have a tough time finding audiences.”
The Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival takes place Nov. 11–20 and will feature a prestigious panel of judges.
“This year we are delighted to have ace film and art curator Andrea Grover, founder of the lauded Aurora Picture Show in Houston, Texas, join the festival’s prestigious list of judges,” said Bill Foster, director of the Film Center on the festival’s website. “Grover is an independent film champion with the same respect and eye for creativity and innovation that the festival celebrates. We hope her favorites will soon be some of [the public’s].”
Judge’s Awards have already been given out by Andrea Grover to her top three films: I am Into Your Fire by Orland Nutt, The Big Sayonara by Don Hamilton and Woman Waiting by Antoine Bourges. Audience awards will be given to films earning the most votes.
“The most significant aspect of the Northwest Filmmaker’s Festival is that it is an event for the filmmakers,” Phillipson said. “Of course we love film lovers of all breeds to take part as well and to see the amazing, innovative work their neighbors have been creating, but this is primarily a place for filmmakers to meet and share ideas and support.”
A festival wrap party, which will finish off the events, will take place Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. at the School of Film.
Northwest Film Center 40th birthday party
Portland Art Museum Fields Ballroom
Friday, Nov. 11, 7 p.m.$10 party only; $15 includes opening night screening 21+38th Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival $9 general admission (per screening); $8 for students
For more information, visit: nwfilm.org and festivals.nwfilm.org/nwfest38/Closing party