The fourth Longbaugh Film Festival kicks off this week. This year's event offers an incredible selection of features, shorts and documentaries to choose from. Listed below are a few highlights from the festival. The full schedule can be viewed online at www.longbaugh.com, or you can pick up a festival program at various locations around town, including participating venues: Laurelhurst Theatre, Cinema 21, Clinton Street Theater, and McMenamins Bagdad, Mission and Kennedy School theaters.
Opening Night Benefit: So Much So Fast
[DOCUMENTARY] Filmed over the span of five years, this brilliant documentary profiles Stephen Heywood, who at age 29 was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), a neurological disorder that causes paralysis. This is not, however, a tragic, disease-of-the-week movie; it is a stunning portrait filled with all the raw feelings that are a part of life, from pain and tears to joy and laughter. This special screening will serve as a fundraiser for the ALS Center of Oregon. Cinema 21, 7 pm Thursday. $10.
[DOCUMENTARY] Will Shortz has been the editor of The New York Times crossword puzzle for 12 years, and in that time has built a loyal fan base who look forward to the challenges he presents day after day. Through interviews with Shortz and an impressive list of his fans, Patrick Creadon's documentary offers an in-depth look at the crossword puzzle-making process. Laurelhurst, 7 pm Friday.
The God Who Wasn't There
[DOCUMENTARY] Who was Jesus? Was he even real? Why should anyone accept Jesus as their messiah? These are the provocative questions asked in Brian Flemming's controversial documentary that does for religion what Bowling for Columbine did for gun violence. Laurelhurst, 7:30 pm Friday and 5:15 pm Sunday.
An international collection of short films, including Ugly, the directorial debut of Moon Unit Zappa, and the hilarious Special People from England. Laurelhurst, 7:15 pm Friday.
[DOCUMENTARY] Every day, nearly 2 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide. The second most actively traded commodity in the world, coffee is a multibillion-dollar industry. But what exactly goes into that cup of coffee you're drinking? Focusing primarily on Ethiopia—the birthplace of coffee—directors Marc and Nick Francis provide a compelling glimpse into a world of social and economic disparity. Screening presented by Stumptown Coffee. Cinema 21, 7 pm Friday. Bagdad, 7 pm Sunday.
The Great New Wonderful
[FEATURE] Maggie Gyllenhaal, Tony Shalhoub and Olympia Dukakis are just part of this impressive ensemble cast of characters carrying on with their lives one year after the attack on the World Trade Center. Five interwoven stories paint intimate portraits of enduring New Yorkers. Laurelhurst, 9 pm Friday.
Letter to the President
[DOCUMENTARY] Featuring profound interviews with rappers, intellectuals and politicians ranging from Chuck D to Amiri Baraka to Larry Flynt, Thomas Gibson's controversial documentary looks back on the past two decades of United States history from the unique perspective of the hip-hop culture and community, which represent the bottom of society's barrel. The result is a document of remarkable honesty and brutality. Presented in collaboration with the Hip-Hop Association. Laurelhurst, 9:15 pm Friday. Clinton Street, 3 pm Sunday.
Time in the Barrel: Death & Life in Vietnam
[DOCUMENTARY] In Don Downey's powerful and haunting documentary, six Marine veterans and the son of a Marine killed in action go to contemporary Vietnam. Their journey is truly epic as they visit a country on the other side of the world—a place that shaped and determined the course of their lives. Laurelhurst, 9:30 pm Friday and 6:45 pm Saturday.
Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo
[FEATURE] Prepare to laugh out loud as Primus bass player Les Claypool proves he is equally adept at comedy. Claypool writes, directs and co-stars in this hilarious mockumentary about struggling jam band Electric Apricot. Claypool and producer Jason McHugh are both scheduled to appear. Clinton Street, 9:15 pm Friday.
Films for children—some of them made by children—and family-friendly fare round out the various showcases at this year's festival (programs are broken into age groupings). One standout is Hoot. Carl Hiaasen's Newbery Honor-winning book comes to life in this feature film about taking a stand to protect the environment. Director Wil Shriner guides his cast of young heroes on an exciting, comedic adventure for the whole family. Go to www.longbaugh.com for full schedule details.
Emerging Filmmaker Showcase
The first show of the day at all Longbaugh venues showcases up-and-coming talents at a special admission price of $1. EFS films include Friends Like These; In the Land of Milk and Money; Four Weeks, Four Hours; Elephant Shoes; The Hole Story; Downtown Locals; and 10 MPH.
[FEATURE] A young boy suffering after a profound trauma retreats into his own silent world. David Waingarten's film has a poetic beauty and deep emotional resonance that signal the arrival of a talent worth scrutinizing. Bagdad, 3 pm Saturday. Laurelhurst, 1:30 pm Sunday.
El Inmigrante (The Immigrant)
[DOCUMENTARY] The tragic killing of Mexican immigrant Eusebio de Haro in a small border town in Texas provides an intimate portrait of a growing crisis at the border separating the United States and Mexico. In examining a hot-button political issue, the film is careful never to lose sight of the human side of the story. Mission, 3 pm Saturday. Laurelhurst, 3 pm Sunday.
Duffy's Irish Circus
[DOCUMENTARY] David Duffy inherited the role of ringmaster of Duffy's Irish Circus from his father, who had taken over from his father. Gabriel Bellman offers an up-close look at a modern-day one-ring circus, populated by an international crew that includes Mexican clowns, Russian acrobats and Moroccan animal handlers. Laurelhurst, 3:15 pm Saturday.
In a Day
[FEATURE] A young woman has her day ruined by a rude stranger at a bus stop, only to be rescued by another stranger. But there is more to the charming stranger who has swept Ashley off her feet than she could ever imagine. Laurelhurst, 4:45 pm Saturday.
Deadly Passion: The Timothy Treadwell Tragedy
[DOCUMENTARY] Werner Herzog's documentary Grizzly Man introduced millions to Timothy Treadwell, the eccentric bear enthusiast who was killed by one of the creatures he admired so greatly. Stefan Quinth's examination of Treadwell's life forgoes the quirky touches of Herzog's film, painting a more believable portrait of Treadwell, which in turn makes his story all the more tragic. Laurelhurst, 5 pm Saturday.
[DOCUMENTARY] More than just a behind-the-scenes look at the world of low-budget, independent horror films, this look at the go-for-broke world of guerrilla filmmakers attempts to find out what drives these people when things like common sense—and, in some cases, a deficit of talent—tell them to stop. Clinton Street, 4:45 pm Saturday. Mission, 7 pm Sunday.
[FEATURE] William H. Macy stars as Edmond Burke, a man who leaves his wife and embarks on an exploration of society's underbelly as he attempts to discover himself in this dark, disturbing odyssey directed by Stuart Gordon and written by David Mamet. Cinema 21, 7 pm Saturday.
New Orleans Film Festival Benefit
Two documentaries, Desire and All on a Mardi Gras Day, look at life and culture in pre-Katrina New Orleans. Proceeds from this event go to help the New Orleans Film Festival get back on its feet. Laurelhurst, 7 pm Saturday. $10.
[FEATURE] Chad Lindberg and Emma Bing star as two lost souls looking for salvation in Nick Lyon's darkly stylish drama set in the grimy, rain-soaked streets of Portland's underbelly. Battling the demons of their drug addiction and the violent world they're trying to escape, these lovers seemed doomed from the start. Clinton Street, 9 pm Saturday.
[DOCUMENTARY] Anthony Branch Jr., known on the streets as Lil' Smurf, was one of Portland's most notorious gangsters. Branch's life of crime and his early death are at the forefront of Thomas Olsen's documentary, which looks at the history of gangs in Portland, creating a complex personal portrait of a troubled young man, and a chronicle of local history. Laurelhurst, 1 pm Sunday.
Shorts 4: Locals Only
A special showcase of short films by local directors, including Quarter Mile by Jacob Pander and Arch by Sarah Nagy. Laurelhurst, 3:45 pm Sunday.
[FEATURE] Actor-turned-director Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs) takes his latest turn behind the camera in this somber mix of drama and pitch-black comedy that finds twentysomething Jim (Casey Affleck) returning home to live with his parents. Bagdad, 5 pm Sunday.
For more comprehensive listings, full schedule, showtimes and admission prices, go to www.longbaugh.com.