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 Film Festival, 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 comprises 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 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 features, 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.
Every March, POW Film Fest returns to showcase films by female and non-binary directors from the Portland area.
Portland's Time-Based Art (TBA) Festival, returning Sept. 5–15, 2019, unites visual artists, musicians and performers from around the world every year.