In one scene of the short documentary Riders on the Storm, an Oregon Metro employee tries to help an unhoused couple living in a tent find shelter during last summer’s devastating wildfires in Clackamas County. But the worker comes up short: The Clackamas Community College’s shelter area is already full, and the rest of the available sites are for people with recreational vehicles. They scramble to secure the couple a hotel room for the night, but are unable to, because the public funding for housing people in hotels is reserved for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eventually, the couple walks away, their faces covered by bandanas provided to them by Metro—the only help the agency was able to provide them.
“We can tell people where they can’t be,” the Metro employee later tells the camera. “But we can’t always tell people where they can be.”
That scene from Riders on the Storm epitomizes the upcoming showcase of short films from Outside the Frame, a local nonprofit that helps homeless and marginalized youth make their own short films. The tagline for the showcase—happening at 7 pm Thursday, September 30, at the Hollywood Theatre—is “Good films about a bad year.”
In addition to Riders on the Storm, another showcase standout is Becoming Raven, a documentary about a Street Roots vendor who organized a massive supplies distribution for Portland’s unhoused community at the start of the pandemic. In just five minutes, we see a full story arch for Raven, and young filmmaker Makayla Caldwell masterfully weaves her own story of houselessness into the film.
There’s also a music video series titled Rose City Rising, which was made in collaboration with Portland-based rapper Mic Crenshaw. In Last Dayz, young rapper Stunnaboii.Z raps with raw emotion about his anger at the state of the world over footage from last summer’s protests in Portland: “Nothing you can say right now/Burn shit down/A lot of people feeling like fuck this town/Full of anger, want to bust shit up and break shit down.” And Animal Control sees two young rappers teaming up with Crenshaw and the Oregon Symphony to deliver a melodic, danceable protest anthem.
You can see all these films and more tomorrow night at the Hollywood, provided you’ve got a mask and proof of vaccination. Tickets are priced at a sliding scale. And if you can’t make it but want to support the work Outside the Frame does, you can donate here.