Like most screenings in 2020, those that are part of the Portland Film Festival are primarily taking place virtually rather than in person because of COVID-19, which may actually make this year's event more accessible than ever.
Thanks to a Comcast sponsorship, subscribers to the cable provider will be able to watch some entries from their own home for free. Viewers can get to the content by saying "Portland Film Festival" into their X1 or Flex voice remote. In addition to films, the festival has scheduled twice-daily director's chats, workshops and educational panels.
If you'd prefer a slightly more traditional in-theater experience, there are a limited number of showings at the Hi-Lo Hotel on Southwest Harvey Milk Street. The downtown venue has set up private screening pods that can hold up to six filmgoers. Pods will be sterilized between viewings. Rooms feature recliners, top-of-the line screens and sound technology as well as the option to purchase food and beverages, because it wouldn't be a night at the movies without concessions.
The festival features more than 150 independent films with a diverse range of themes, including Black Voices, the Female Gaze, Voices of Ability and some shorts made by kids in the Portland Boys & Girls Clubs. You can see the full lineup on the event's website.
Festivities kick off this evening at 6:30 pm with a virtual champagne toast and filmmaker welcome reception followed by a keynote address by independent producer Ted Hop, co-founder of Good Machine production company. Screenings run through Oct. 18.