In a city overflowing with lousy film festivals, one remains worthy of real anticipation: the Portland Documentary and eXperimental Film Fest (or the PDX Film Fest, for those in the know).
Born out of Matt McCormick's popular Peripheral Produce screenings of the '90s, the PDX Film Fest is now in its fourth year of delivering smart and edgy truly independent cinema. (The festival provided the Portland premieres for both Old Joy and Me and You and Everyone We Know, and has shown work by all sorts of underground legends, including Jem Cohen, Craig Baldwin, Animal Charm, and Martha Colburn.)
There's no way to get into everything showing at the festival, so head over to peripheralproduce.com for the full lineup, keeping your eyes open for some of the following sure bets:
Strange Culture—One of the most buzzed-about films at Sundance this year, Lynn Hershman Leeson's documentary tells the story of artist Steve Kurtz, who was falsely imprisoned as a suspected terrorist. But since the Kurtz case is still open in court, Leeson was forced to reenact her "documentary" with actors like Tilda Swinton and Thomas Jay Ryan.
Helvetica—You're probably thinking "How can a movie about a font, or even about graphic design as a whole, be interesting?" Evidently, Helvetica—which has received monumental hype and recently screened at the Museum of Modern Art—shows us exactly how such a film can be interesting. This is one of my most personally anticipated movies of the year, and I can't even tell Helvetica from Arial.
The 2007 Peripheral Produce Invitational—Ah yes, the "if you only catch one event..." screening. The Invitational encompasses everything fun about the festival, as it pits one awesome short film against another, with YOU as the judge! Film nerd fight!