Portland hosts more than 20 film festivals every year. Here’s an overview of some of the city’s top cinematic events.
Reel Music Film Festival
Reel Music, the Northwest Film Center’s celebration of music on film, treats music lovers to some of music’s most intriguing artists (both celebrated and little known) offering a filmic take on sounds, roots and personalities from bossa nova to indie rock. Live music is scattered throughout Reel Music Festival at various venues.
Portland International Film Festival (PIFF)
Founded in 1977, the Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) now draws an audience of more than 35,000 attendees, making it the biggest film event in Oregon. More than 100 films — including features and international shorts — premiere each year at the largest festival presented by the Northwest Film Center.
Portland Women’s Film Festival (POWfest)
The Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival focuses on the art and cinematic contribution of women filmmakers from around the world. Spanning four days, the roster of events comprise an exhibition of films made by women, moderated filmmaker panels and filmmaker workshops.
Filmed by Bike
In a city that loves bicycling almost as much as it loves movies, it’s only natural that there’s a festival celebrating both. Filmed by Bike is a two-day festival at the Hollywood Theatre screening bike-themed independent short movies from around the world. In all, about 30 films, all under eight minutes in length, celebrate bike culture.
QDoc: Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival
QDoc is the first festival of its kind in the United States, and only the second in the world devoted exclusively to documentaries with a queer content. QDoc aims to engage with the core issues of queer identity in politics, history, culture, family, aging and coming out issues, queer diversity, gender identity and sexuality. Films screen at the Hollywood Theatre.
Top Down: Rooftop Cinema
Every summer, the Northwest Film Center presents Top Down: Rooftop Cinema, a series of outdoor screenings on the panoramic rooftop of a Portland State University (PSU) parking garage. More than just movies, these parties in the sky feature live music, tasty food and drink and spectacular city views. Featured films include cult classics and lesser known B movies—perfect light summer fare.
Flicks on the Bricks
Gather up the family and head to Pioneer Courthouse Square for free movies and popcorn under the stars on Portland’s “largest outdoor screen.” Flicks on the Bricks are held every year on five consecutive Friday nights, mid-July-mid-August.
Portland Queer Film Festival
The Portland Queer Film Festival annually showcases feature, documentary and short films from all over the world that are made by, about or of interest to the lesbian, gay, bi and trans community. Films are screened at Cinema 21 in Northwest Portland.
Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival
The Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival is the Northwest Film Center’s annual showcase of new work by regional media artists, showing feature, short and documentary films made by artists in Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Montana and Idaho. As the oldest and largest festival presenting regionally made work, the event offers an up-to-the minute snapshot of a rich and diverse media arts community drawing increasing international attention.
Portland Queer Film Festival returns every fall with an annual showcase of narrative and documentary films from around the world.
POW Film Fest showcases films by female directors, along with filmmaker workshops and moderated panels, every March in Portland.
Portland's Time-Based Art (TBA) Festival, returning Sept. 5–15, 2019, unites visual artists, musicians and performers from around the world every year.
Celebrating the 16th anniversary of showcasing anime and Japanese culture, Kumoricon is ready for its biggest year yet. Gaining its namesake (kumori) from the Japanese word “cloudy,” Kumoricon embodies the best parts of fandom and what it is to live in the Pacific Northwest. Stretching across generations, anime fans have gathered together for an amazing…
The Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival is the Northwest’s premiere showcase of new work by leading regional filmmakers. This touchstone annual event brings artists and audiences together for a community celebration. Annually, the Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival draws hundreds of entries from Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.
Directed by Jonas Mekas United States 1986 124 mins. In English Covering the years 1969-1984 and featuring a huge number of New York art-world luminaries, Mekas described He Stands in a Desert as “nothing spectacular”—although the raw material of life, which makes up the film, provides remarkable experiences and visions at every turn. “A continuation…
Directed by Jindřich Polák Czechoslovakia 1963 86 mins In Czech with English subtitles A visionary work of Eastern Bloc science fiction, this mesmerizing Czechoslovak adaptation of a novel by Stanisław Lem melds Cold War ideology and utopian futurism into a tour de force of space-age modernism. In the year 2163, a band of astronauts embarks…
The HUMP! Film Festival has been bringing audiences a new kind of porn since 2005. The festival features short dirty movies — each less than five minutes — all created by people who aren’t porn stars but want to be one for a weekend. The filmmakers and stars show us what they think is hot…
In these fast-paced, and often challenging times, music and art can provide us with relief from stress, and provide us with a sense of peace, tranquility and renewal. Experience the magic of this 360 degree immersive art and music cinema experience in the OMSI Kendall Planetarium. Mesmerica is a visual music journey that brings the…
Directed by Jacqueline Olive United States 2019 89 mins In English Always in Season explores the lingering impact of more than a century of lynching African Americans and connects this form of historic racial terrorism to racial violence today. The film centers on the case of Lennon Lacy, an African American teen who was found…
The Royal National Theatre in London comes to The Vault via satellite broadcast, with performances of three of their recent productions. Hamlet: Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s Sherlock, Doctor Strange) plays the title role of Shakespeare’s great tragedy. Now seen by over 900,000 people worldwide, the original broadcast returns to international cinemas to mark National Theatre Live’s…