Every year, the Mercury gets varying amounts of shit for whatever we write about the Portland International Film Festival, an event that's beloved by some and ignored by others.

PIFF wrapped up its 32nd annual festival on Sunday, and this time around, they showed some really solid stuff (my personal favorite out of the films I caught was Goodbye Solo, pictured above, which will be playing again in town starting May 15). And thanks to PIFF's red-carpet premiere of Coraline, the festival enjoyed its highest profile in years. According to Jessica Lyness, the public relations and marketing manager for the Northwest Film Center, PIFF's total attendance this year was 31,000—a number that's been "holding steady" over the past few festivals, she adds, and didn't even falter this year, despite the economy.

That's a whole lotta people—but what always surprises me is that I know so few people who actually attend the festival, and that I hear so few people discussing it around town when it's going on. You'd better believe that if there was any other event in Portland that 31,000 people were attending over the course of a few weeks, you'd hear about it—but instead of being the talk of the town, PIFF seems to float by, largely unacknowledged.

So here's my question: How many of you went to the festival this year? Are any of those 31,000 PIFF attendees also Blogtown readers? Vote below, and obviously, feel free to use the comments to jump in if you have anything to add about PIFF's popularity or reputation—whether it's about the festival in general, or this year in particular.

PIFF 2009: Did You Go?