Independent film was alive and well in Portland, Oregon on Saturday, December 13th. With a sold out show earlier of the De-Gentrifying Portland Shorts programmed by the Portland African American Leadership Forum, the only game in town was the popular NW Documentary program, Homegrown Docfest.
The brainchild of local documentary filmmaker and executive director of NW Documentary, Ian McCluskey, moved to the Clinton Street Theater from the neighboring Hollywood for its 30th edition.
The vibe at the Clinton worked well with the spirited atmosphere of the event. Lani Jo Leigh, owner of the Clinton St., Portland’s oldest and longest continuously run independent movie theater, was excited to program the short film festival, “NW Documentary is such a great community organization in Portland. We’re always excited to work with independent filmmakers and organizations that support indie film.”
“We’re always excited to work with independent filmmakers and organizations that support indie film.”
Lanie Jo Leigh, Clinton St. Theate
The crowd was jovial and excited to watch local stories. McCluskey added, “The event really brings a lot of different people. The audience may include returning students, roller derby girls, barbershop quartet singers and wild food foragers. Everyone is coming together to see films that someone from their community has made to help tell their story.”
“..returning students, roller derby girls, barbershop quartet singers and wild food foragers all coming together.”
Ian McCluskey, NW Documentary
In its tenth year, Docfest is the culmination of a 10-week long workshop for students at NW Documentary. For $500, students of the DIY (Do it Yourself) Documentary Workshop learn from local filmmaker and instructor Courtney Hermann, to make a short documentary, usually under 10 minutes in length.
The students are taken from concept, to filming, editing and screening. [Full disclosure: I’ve taken this class four times and highly recommend it.]
Hermann added, “On the first day of class students arrive knowing they want to make a film but they also have a lot of anxiety about not knowing what story to tell. We encourage students to turn to the stories closest to them, to nurture curiosity about the people and places in their lives and interpret them through a different lens, asking themselves, “would this make a good story?”
“…nurture curiosity about the people and places in their lives…”
Courtney Hermann, DIY Instructor
Seven students made up the 2014 winter edition of Homegrown Docfest. The films that screened include:
Director: Justin Olexy
An enthusiastic few of wild food adventures immerse themselves in a 4-day workshop of foraging, cooking, and learning under the direction of expert John Kallas.