Hardly one damn week goes by without at least two or three film festivals playing somewhere around Portland. They're like non-fucking-stop, which wouldn't be such a bad thing if most of them weren't so goddamn boring.
Aside from profanity-laden, knee-jerk criticisms about how Portland has hit its film fest saturation point, it seems one of those fests might actually be interesting. This'll be the third year for the PDX Film Fest (more effusively known as the Portland Documentary & Experimental Film Festival), which is put on by experimental video collective Peripheral Produce and the Northwest Film Center. True, the NWFC and Peripheral can be annoying with their assertions that they provide "truly independent cinema" and their clichés about destroying the "rusty Hollywood robot." But bear with them and you'll stumble upon some pretty cool stuff you won't see anywhere else--and finding those treasures gets easier when the PDX Film Fest conveniently and kindly condenses the otherwise sprawling offerings.
Special guests this year are Miranda July and Garrett Scott, with July screening her Sundance-approved feature Me and You and Everyone We Know and Scott showing his docs Cul De Sac: A Suburban War Story and Operation: Dreamland.
Wednesday kicks off with Popaganda: The Art and Crimes of Ron English (see "Film Shorts," page 49) and a party at Holocene. The fest continues through next Sunday with War at a Distance, which examines the relationship between war technology and everyday life. Cinema Project chips in with The Great Art of Knowing and Skagafjordur, while The Birdpeople documents obsessed bird watchers. There's also the abstract look at color, A Darkness Swallowed, a documentary about tightrope walker Adil Hoxur (Kings of the Sky), and what might be the fest's crown jewel: The Peripheral Produce Invitational, in which artists will compete for the audience's favor in "The World Championship of Experimental Cinema." And there will, of course, be more shorts than you can shake a proverbial stick at.
Check next week's issue of the Mercury for more specifics about all the PDX Film Fest hoopla; in the meantime, hit www.peripheralproduce.com for a complete rundown of the fest's offerings.