Portland Film Fest - notes/recap

tues 9/1 5 pm
went to the filmmakers' lounge for the champagne toast and film fest kickoff. Scott and Jordan were there too. we all raised a glass and headed to Cinema 21 to see Birds of Neptune. There was a bit of a pile-up outside, lots of people arriving at once. I asked a pink-shirted PFF'er what time they'd let people in and the response was "not sure, we're waiting for our head guy to show up". across the street PFF camera crew was getting drone footage. At last we're let in and the theater downstairs is packed so we head up to the balcony. I go down to get a beer and talk w/ A. Mingo for the 15 or so min we waited in long line. Back upstairs just in time for show to start. First was a French short about an apiary, quick and well-made. Then Birds of Neptune. This is a deceptive film in that it begins in a certain register w/ certain familiar signifiers. As it proceeds though the grace of the filmmaking slowly shows itself. Delivery of tragic backstory could be disastrous in the hands of different filmmaker but here - buoyed no doubt by peerless cast and sound design and J. Campbell's images - the information slowly leaches out and becomes a kind of retroactive plasma containing the film in its entirety. That probably doesn't make sense unless you've seen the film. So, see it. It's awesome.

Afterward, Scott & Jordan and I made our way to the opening night party at Cinewest rentals. I actually talked to people (free dead guy ale aided this enterprise) and got to talk about movies so it was a good time. This being Portland there was also a clown circling.  Funny how at film fest mixers you can intstantly spot the actors versus the directors versus the editors. We mostly line up into pre-ordained little pools.
Birds of Neptune - Official Trailer #1 from Reveriefilms on Vimeo.

thurs 9/3 5 pm
I stayed downtown after work (read: day job) ended. made my way to Powells to kill time and then finally up to Mission Theater to see Morphine: Journey of Dreams. Waiting outside the theater I ran into Nathan W, Inside sitting later and watching the film. Lots of sensations watching this as it was/is not only a document of artistic pursuit but of one that occurred 20 yrs back, meaning it was like stepping into a time machine. Flood of memories came back to me sitting there, right in the middle of college, in Arcata, the person I was then versus now and what the then would think of now and so forth, all in the split-second of the opening bassline of Buena. Point being, difficult to evaluate the movie objectively but that's not a bad thing. Actually it's really the best thing.

Afterward went to Jackknife for the night's afterparty. Scott & Jordan were present, getting ready to shoot Kevin F's movie the very next morning. They ducked out and I talked w/ M. Medaglia for awhile about directing and day jobs and life in Portland. Then I ducked out and waited forever for the 19 to take me home.

fri 9/4 12 pm
Most of this day was occupied emotionally by my own screening, documented in the previous post (here) but I managed to get 3 movies in. The first was Somewhere in the Middle which I selected primarily because the time lined up perfectly with my morning. I had seen the trailer and expected a straight-forward non-ambitious film (note: not that there's anything wrong w/ that) but what the movie actually is - a skillful, perfectly shot and cast narrative that explores relationships between the 4 leads structured in a way that illustrates their own subjectiveness - is fantastic. Really amazing.
SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE Trailer from NY Independent Film Collective on Vimeo.

Next up was Love Me Anyway. My attentions were scattered by previous film as well as the bad review my own film had just received as well as the fact that my film was going to be playing in that exact theater in a few hours. Point being I wasn't in the best place to watch this movie. Ended up liking it quite a bit though. Kind of an easy-breezy style and feel which worked mostly, though at times I could feel improv-ed bits (or at least what felt like improv). Also, PFF program listed it at 65 min but it was at least 15 min longer so I kept checking the time at the end b/c I had another movie to get to. Still, strong performances and images.

Love Me Anyway-Trailer from Robel Films on Vimeo.

Next up was Angel Azul. Very tricky documentary to pull off, at once an amazing portrait of a unique artist as well as the environmental scourge that his art is trying to address. Meaning the film straddles both genres: doc portrait and doc scold (in a nice way i mean). I found it very moving especially the process/installation of the titular statue. Also I was drinking a beer.

Angel Azul Trailer from Angel Azul on Vimeo.

sat 9/5 12 noon
went back and forth at home about this b/c M had been home w/ the kids managing everything while I was at all the previous movies all these previous days but there was an experimental block of shorts at the laurelhurst at noon. I really wanted to see Josh Peterson's Forest Born in part b/c I met him the previous day at the director's coffee chat and it sounded like we had similar narrative interest. There's lots of calculus involved though, including kids' naps, Brian Lindstrom's "Mothering Inside" playing at Laurelhurst at 2 pm", my own movie playing later in the afternoon at 5 pm at Living Room, the fact that my 4 yr old son was being a bit of pain that morning etc etc. Wasn't sure what to do. A tiny window opened up and M let me go. I hopped in the car and made it to Laurelhurst at noon just as lights were dimming. the program was scheduled for 2.5 hours and I wasn't sure where Josh's movie woudl fall in the mix. by happenstance it was first up. I watched it (very rad!) and then the next short (4 min) and took off back home and helped with naps. worked out great. the rest of the day was taken up by kids and my own movie.

"Forest Born" teaser trailer from Joshua Vik Peterson on Vimeo.

not enough time to see everything but extremely impressed by the PFF programming. not always easy-peasy choices for them too make. Things outside mainstream programming. again, very thrilled to have the black sea among them.

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