Reed students are lucky. Only a bus ride from the Portland Art Museum and the Northwest Film Center, we have access to many fun and thought provoking events organized by these two organizations. The Northwest Film Center produces five film festivals every year, including the Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) happening now, which opened on February 15 and will continue through March 1.
Since 1977, the Film Center has blessed Portland with a collection of films from all over the world, made by a diverse array of filmmakers, both veterans and newbies. This year’s festival, the 41st, includes over 130 movies, encompassing feature films, documentaries, and shorts over the two-week period. Over these two weeks, the various film screenings are shown in multiple theaters all over Portland, including the Empirical Theater at OMSI, the Regal Fox Tower in Downtown Portland, and the Whitsell Auditorium at PAM.
PIFF categorizes the movies into several different groups based on their creators, content, and length. Two sections are devoted to directors: the Masters Series is for films made by veteran filmmakers, and the New Director Series is reserved for beginner filmmakers. The films in the Global Panorama series all illustrate stories which extend beyond one group of people and involve the intersection of several nations and cultures. Animated Worlds is designated to award winning animated films, and PIFF After Dark is dedicated to genre-bending films such as Let the Corpses Tan about a gang of thieves.
PIFF does a phenomenal job representing the film scene in Oregon. Two collections of shorts are dedicated to films made in Oregon, one specifically for those who love the wilderness. One of this year’s most anticipated films is Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete, which follows a young’un in Portland who takes care of horses. PIFF successfully promotes the intersection of various cultures and demonstrates different perspectives.
Further, PIFF showcases a variety of diverse films across multiple genres, styles, and subject matter. Jeannette, The Childhood of Joan of Arc achieves the monumental task of illustrating the early years of the Roman-Catholic Saint with dry humor, accompanied by a curious soundtrack of beautiful guitar and blast beats. Another film, produced in Zambia and titled I Am Not a Witch, highlights social and political issues through a beautifully shot story of a young woman accused of practicing witchcraft. Many more ambitious films will be screened throughout the rest of the festival.
PIFF will continue for one more week with many films left to enjoy and learn from, including Spoor, a Polish mystery influenced by fairy tales, and the last film by famed Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, 24 Frames. The most popular films will have encore screenings after the festival is over. All information about the festival can be found on their website for the Northwest Film Center at nwfilm.org. The Portland International Film Festival offers a wonderful opportunity for Reed students to experience different perspectives and, of course, watch some good movies.