NW Film Center Reveals Rebranding at Cinema Unbound Awards

The organization has changed its named to PAM CUT.

By every conceivable measure, the NW Film Center’s Cinema Unbound awards was a star-studded event, with celebrities appearing both virtually and in person to celebrate the honorees.

Will Smith jubilantly welcomed his King Richard director, Reinaldo Marcus Green; Isabella Rossellini cheered on the Iranian-born artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat; and a rambling Jeff Goldblum introduced Carrie Brownstein with a deadpan reminiscence about their Portlandia days.

But arguably the big news of the night was that the Film Center is changing its name to PAM CUT, Center for an Untold Tomorrow.

“PAM CUT is a place, a space, and a state of mind that welcomes those who aren’t content to be contained,” PAM CUT director Amy Dotson said in a press release. “Thinking more extensively about how to serve the unbound multidisciplinary artists and storyteller community locally and globally—and the daring audiences and supporters who make it all possible—fuels our reinvention.”

The new name alludes to arguably the most common phrase used on a film set (”cut!”), while also being “forward-looking and hopeful to include voices from new forms of storytelling,” the PAM CUT release stated.

“The relationship to the Film Center has always been vital to the museum,” said Portland Art Museum director Brian Ferriso. “PAM CUT represents an important way forward where visitors, members, artists and community partners can experience not only the traditional moving image, but also a wide range of storytelling experiences and opportunities that challenge the traditional boundaries of the film medium.”

Online, the new name has been met with reticence.

In an Oregon Arts Watch article, legendary Portland film critic Marc Mohan noted that the audience at the ceremony didn’t react effusively to the announcement, and observed the organization’s failure to mention former longtime Film Center director Bill Foster during the awards.

Journalist and filmmaker Brian Libby, whose work has been exhibited by the Film Center, was downright disdainful, by contrast.

“It pains me to see the NW Film Center change its name to PAM CUT, which to my ears sounds trite and slightly desperate,” he tweeted. “Yet, I also don’t like playing the grumpy middle-aged man role. I guess it doesn’t matter what they call it, as long as it serves artists.”