POWFEST - Portland Oregon Women's Film Festival

The Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival, known as “POWFEST” turns eight this year. But don’t let the young age fool you, it’s programming never disappoints—alumni include Hollywood heavyweight Kathryn Bigelow, winner of the 2009 Academy Award for Best Picture for “The Hurt Locker.” Over the history of the festival, according to Tara Johnson-Medinger, Executive Director of POWFEST, more than 500 films have been screened with over 350 visiting filmmakers, making POWFEST, the largest female-centric festival in Oregon.

Hollywood has never been equal in its pay or opportunity for advancement to any diversity. As Patricia Arquette noted in her Oscar acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress in “Boyhood,” ‘To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s time to have wage equality once and for all. And equal rights for women in the United States of America.’

So what POWFEST does is incredibly important to spotlight female creators and encourage more to step up. The Hollywood Theater sponsored event screens female created films over a weekend in March. The films vary in length and genre but all share a female component in its production. Don’t think that men aren’t allowed in the films, that’s not the point, but rather to encourage women creators. And many of the spotlighted films also have male production partners, but are always directed by women.

This year’s festival includes a special screening of “Citizen Four,” a documentary about Edward Joseph “Ed” Snowden. Snowden is the computer guy who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency to the mainstream media. The film chronicles the journalists’ experience as Snowden leaked the information to the public. Directed by Laura Poitras, the film won this year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Sunday boasts a full day of short films including projects created by “POWGIRLS,” a new initiative from POWFEST, to encourage young women to enter the film industry, as well as a Closing Night Reception at 5:00PM and the Closing Night Film at 6:30PM, “States of Grace,” about an HIV/AIDS physician who signed more than one thousand death certificates.

Over 30 filmmakers made the trek to Portland to support the festival this year, don’t miss your chance to view some of the most interesting work and also support equal rights, as Arquette said, “It is time for us. Equal means equal.”


Josh Leake
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Josh Leake

Executive Director at Portland Film Festival
Portland-based producer and director Josh Leake is the founder and executive director of the Portland Film Festival, which MovieMaker Magazine named one of the world's "coolest" film festivals. He produced "Glena," a feature length documentary that premiered at Slamdance ’14 (now available on Showtime and VOD). His film "Emptys," a short documentary about people who collect beverage containers as their principal source of income, won first place at Tropfest New York. With his production company, Mindpollen, he's currently developing an adaption of Chuck Palahniuk's "Lullaby." Follow him on Twitter @joshleake and @portlandfilm.
Josh Leake
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