This Is Not PIFF

Portland Film Festival strives to make PDX the new Sundance.

Portland needed a Sundance—an arthouse festival for cinephiles—according to Portland Film Festival creator Josh Leake. Because never mind the Portland International Film Festival, the Oregon Film Festival and the Northwest Animation Festival. To name a few.

Back for its third year, Leake’s brainchild is sticking close to its indie roots with 214 screenings of flicks from around the world, including “a musical journey into the forgotten corners of Jamaican reggae,” plus a Guinness world record with zombie extras. 

Here, the four Northwest directors give their take on Portland's film scene. 

Brian Padian (The Black Sea)

I have heard stories told about a local genius filmmaker who will only shoot on film and who lives in a camper with his cat. If you can find him, he's the one to ask [about Portland's film scene]. What's missing from the fest, other than artisanal beer and cheese, is only the time to attend everything.

Byrd McDonald (Vintage Tomorrows)

Austin, Texas, 15 years ago was perhaps known for the mumblecore movement, but I don't think Portland filmmakers are that easily pigeonholed. When I moved here in 2000, the biggest surprise was how many world-class filmmakers make Portland their home. And you can drive 60 miles in any direction and find just about any location you'd ever need. 

Michael Medaglia (Deep Dark)

If we were playing word association and you said “Portland” and “film,” I would say “genuine” and “scrappy.” Don’t be surprised when your sound mixer bikes to location hauling his gear on a bike-trailer. I can’t think of anything that could possibly make PDXFF a better festival. OK, maybe Nicolas Cage. 

Steven Richter (Birds of Neptune)

I would love to see people making more personal films here. The community is not as tight as one would think. We share talent and crew, and we follow each other's projects on social media, but we are not all going to the same bar or even watching the same films. 

SEE IT: PDXFF is screening films at various Portland theaters through Monday, Sept. 7. See for a complete schedule.