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(PORTLAND, OR) – The Northwest Film Center is excited to announce the roster of visiting artists at the 40th Portland International Film Festival (PIFF XL). This year’s Festival begins on Thursday, February 9th and will run through the 25th of the month.

The PIFF XL visiting artists include Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Steve James (Hoop Dreams, Life Itself), animator Ann Marie Fleming, Portland-based director Matt McCormick (Some Days Are Better Than Others), animator Bill Plympton, documentary filmmaker Margaret Byrne, and several others.


Programs with a Visiting Artist in attendance:

February 11 5:15pm (Whitsell Auditorium)
February 12 7:30pm (Laurelhurst Theater)
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
United States, 2016, 88 mins.

The incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York, elicits both outrage and humor. Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus, with just six branches catering to small businesses and families, became the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forced the Sung family to defend themselves—and their bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community—over the course of a five-year legal battle. A suspenseful story of justice and America on trial.

Sponsored by the Oregon State Bar International Law Section

Director Steve James in attendance at both screenings

Tickets available now:


February 11 10:30pm (Bagdad Theater)
Judy (short paired with PIFF After Dark screening of We Are the Flesh)
United States, 2016, 11 mins.

“A film about male entitlement and the role of women in society —a smart and funny movie that says a whole lot in ten minutes.” – Catherine Bray, Birth. Movies. Death.

Sponsored by Shudder

Directors Ariel Gardner and Alex Kavutskiy in attendance

Tickets available now:


February 12 10:30pm (Bagdad Theater)
The Man from Death (short paired with PIFF After Dark screening of A Dark Song)
United States, 2016, 13 mins.

A manic homage to spaghetti Westerns, video game iconography, and ADHD.

Sponsored by Shudder

Eric Lim, star of The Man from Death, in attendance

Tickets available now:


February 15 5:45pm (Laurelhurst Theater)
February 18 12:00pm (Whitsell Auditorium)
Buzz One Four
United States, 2016, 60 mins.

Buzz One Four chronicles the ill-fated flight of a Cold War B-52 Stratofortress loaded with two 3-4-megaton nuclear bombs that crashed 90 miles from Washington DC in 1961. Information suggests that detonation came closer than official reports indicated. The full details of the crash have remained classified and otherwise repressed by the Air Force, but the filmmaker, Portlander Matt McCormick, grew up with this story because the pilot was his grandfather. As McCormick recounts the history of the era, aspects of this crash, and other little-know nuclear-weapons accidents, he leaves us wondering if the U.S. was in greater danger of nuking itself than of being attacked by the Russians.

Sponsored by Oregon Film

Director Matt McCormick in attendance at both screenings

Tickets available now:


February 18 2:30pm (Whitsell Auditorium)
Short Cuts 5: Made in Oregon
Oregon, 2016, 94 mins.

Our annual festival program of short films by Oregon-based filmmakers.

Sponsored by Oregon Film, World Foods Portland, and OMPA

All filmmakers in attendance

Tickets available now:


February 18 6:30pm (Laurelhurst Theater)
February 20 3:30pm (Whitsell Auditorium)
Alive & Kicking
United States/Sweden, 2016, 88 mins.

Some dance styles and crazes endure. For many who love music and dance, the lindy hop, jitterbug, shag, and other mid-century “swing” dances are more than alive and kicking in the hip-hop era. Glatzer’s joyous, action-packed film attributes the revival to the advent of VHS tape, which allowed pause and rewind to memorize the steps from old films. “She’s more attentive to the sense of family among enthusiasts…The action [the film] captures is so transfixing, one marvels that dancers can keep it up for five years, much less five decades.”—The Hollywood Reporter.

Sponsored by Higgins Restaurant

Director Susan Glatzer in attendance at Feb. 18 screening

Tickets available now:


February 18 8:45pm (Laurelhurst Theater)
February 19 2:15pm (Whitsell Auditorium)
United States, 2016, 76 mins.

Former Portlander Bill Plympton comes home for this special pre-release screening of his eighth feature, which tells the story of low-rent bounty hunter Rod Ross, the One Man Posse. Rod gets tangled in a web of seedy danger when he takes on a job from Deathface, an ex-biker, ex-wrestler turned US senator. Rod has to find what was stolen from the senator and find the girl who stole it. Soon, Rosse finds there’s more than meets the eye to this dirty job. “A madcap romp through a 1970s Los Angeles underbelly of bikers, wrestlers, strippers, cult members, bounty hunters, and corrupt politicians… in an explosion of anarchic, satirical insanity.”—British Film Institute.

Sponsored by LAIKA
Directors Bill Plympton and Jim Lujan in attendance at both screenings

Tickets available now:


February 19 12:00pm (Whitsell Auditorium)
Short Cuts 6: Animated Worlds
2016, 80 mins.

LAIKA’s Mark Shapiro attends animation festivals from Annecy to Zagreb and has hand-picked this collection of diverse works that showcase sparkling international talents.

Sponsored by LAIKA

LAIKA’s Mark Shapiro, who curated this program, will be in attendance

Tickets available now:


February 19 7:45pm (Whitsell Auditorium)
February 20 6:00pm (Regal Fox Tower)
Window Horses
United States, 2016, 76 mins.

Vancouver animator Ann Marie Fleming’s first animated feature is an extraordinary tale of art, history, and family. Rosie (Sandra Oh), a young poet of Chinese and Persian descent, lives with her overprotective but loving Chinese grandparents but dreams of an artistic and glamorous life in Paris. An invitation to a poetry festival in Shiraz, Iran, thrills her, and though she has never travelled on her own, she embarks on a trip that will change her life. Integrating a range of animation styles, Flemings tells a universal multicultural tale. Best British Columbian Film and Best Canadian Film, Vancouver International Film Festival.

Sponsored by LAIKA
Animator Ann Marie Fleming in attendance at both screenings

Tickets available now:


February 21 8:30pm (Laurelhurst Theater)
February 22 5:45pm (Whitsell Auditorium)
Raising Bertie
United States, 2016, 102 mins.

What happens in the lives of young people caught in the complex interplay of generational poverty, educational inequity, and race? Reginald, Davonte, and David are black teenagers in rural Bertie County, North Carolina. Raising Bertie documents their trials and triumphs over six years as the young men repeat grades, search for jobs, and persevere. Along the way, they are aided by activist Vivian Saunders, whose innovative alternative high school, The Hive, provides a much-needed resource for an underserved community. In the spirit of other longitudinal portraits such as Steve James’ Hoop Dreams and Michael Apted’s Up series, identity and opportunity play major roles in the process of coming of age.

Director Margaret Byrne in attendance at both screenings

Tickets available now:


February 21 8:45pm (Whitsell Auditorium)

Luna E Santur (part of Short Cuts 8: In Pursuit program)
United States, 2016, 11 mins.

“Hooded figures, violent passion, and stroboscopic tenderness brought on by a paranormal encounter I had in the summer of 2015.”—JGS.

Director Joshua Gen Solondz in attendance
Old Hat (part of Short Cuts 8: In Pursuit program)
United States, 2016, 8 mins.

Falling forward one minute, lying down the next. “Whatever the difficulty of finding a way forward, film does nothing but.”—Max Goldberg.

Director Zach Iannazzi in attendance

Tickets available now:

Following Opening Night, PIFF retains a sizable presence downtown and throughout the city with screenings at the Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, located inside the Portland Art Museum (1219 SW Park Avenue), Cinema 21 (616 NW 21st Avenue), Regal Fox Tower (846 SW Park Avenue), Laurelhurst Theater (2735 E Burnside Street), the Empirical Theater at OMSI (1945 SE Water Ave.), Valley Cinema (9360 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Highway), and Bagdad Theater (3702 SE Hawthorne Boulevard).


Over the past 40 years, the Festival has populated its schedule with diverse and innovative films for an audience of more than 40,000 annually from throughout the Northwest. As Oregon’s largest, most culturally diverse film event, the Portland International Film Festival pulls together a multi-faceted experience with over 160 films (98 features and 66 shorts) and special events presenting a full spectrum of features, documentaries, and shorts – and featuring submissions for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and works by both returning masters and emerging talents.


For the first time, the Film Center has established a range of sections or sidebars to help audiences weave their way through the sheer breadth of the two and a half weeks of the Festival. Encompassing everything from “Global Panorama” to “Films for Families” to avant-garde minded “Ways of Seeing” sidebar, the intent of these sections is to cater to both filmgoers who know exactly what they’d like to see, as well as those who wish to dip their toes into multiple subdivisions of the Festival in the hopes of discovering new cinematic pleasures to obsess over. Our aim is to make PIFF XL as accessible to those who have never attended a film festival as it is to the most seasoned of cinephiles. Explore these sections via the official Festival webpage:



In addition to the Opening Night film, the Festival will host the Portland premiere of several Oscar-nominated features, including Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire at Sea (Italy/France), Martin Zandvliet’s Land of Mine (Denmark/Germany), and Claude Barras’ My Life as a Zucchini (Switzerland/France). As in past years, the Festival features an abundance of short films. This year’s lineup boasts eight discrete short film programs, including one devoted entirely to films made in Oregon, an animated shorts program curated by LAIKA’s Mark Shapiro, two programs exploring innovative experimental short form works, a collection focusing on art and artists, and more. Among the multitude of shorts on offer, the festival is proud to host Theodore Ushev’s Blind Vaysha (Canada) and Andrew Coats’ Borrowed Time (US), both nominees in the Short Film – Animated Oscar category.


Other highlights of PIFF XL include screenings of Olivier Assayas’ (Clouds of Sils Maria) Personal Shopper, Albert Serra’s (Story of My Death) The Death of Louis XIV, Portland-based director Matt McCormick’s (Some Days are Better Than Others) Buzz One Four, Steve James’ (Hoop Dreams) Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, Sergei Loznitsa’s (My Joy) Austerlitz, Jee-Woon Kim’s (I Saw the Devil) The Age of Shadows, Oriol Paulo’s (The Body) The Invisible Guest, Bertrand Bonello’s (Saint Laurent) Nocturama, Bill Plympton’s (Cheatin’) Revengeance, Cristian Mungiu’s (Beyond the Hills) Graduation, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s (Tokyo Sonata) Daguerrotype, François Ozon’s (Swimming Pool) Frantz, André Øvredal’s (Troll Hunter) The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Gastón Solnicki’s (PapirosenKékszakállú, Andrzej Wajda’s (Ashes and Diamonds) Afterimage, Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon’s (The Fairy) Lost in Paris, Terence Davies’ (Distant Voices, Still Lives) A Quiet Passion, Juho Kuosmanen’s (The Painting Sellers) The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, Xavier Dolan’s (Tom at the Farm) It’s Only the End of the World, Joäo Pedro Rodrigues’ (The Last Time I Saw Macao) The Ornithologist, Alain Gsponer’s (Life Actually) Heidi, and Salomé Lamas’ Eldorado XXI.



The full PIFF XL Program is available online at



Mark Building, Portland Art Museum, 1119 SW Park Avenue

Opens February 1 — daily from 12-6 p.m. (through February 27)

Advance tickets by phone at (503) 276-4310


Advance tickets available online now at

Festival passes are available for sale at


Admission Prices: 

$12 General; $11 Portland Art Museum Members, Students, Seniors; $9 Silver Screen Club Friends and Supporters, Children

Opening Night: $25 general; $20 Silver Screen Friends and Supporters


PIFF XL trailer:


The 40th Portland International Film Festival is sponsored by LAIKA, Regal Entertainment Group, Willamette Week, Delta, Pat & Trudy Ritz, Elk Cove Vineyards, Montinore Estate, Pike Road, Provenance Hotels, Sundance Now, Shudder, Travel Portland, Whole Foods, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., TV5MONDE, and many others.


The Northwest Film Center is a regional media arts organization offering a variety of exhibition, education programs, and artist services throughout the region.  The Center presents a program of foreign, classic, experimental, and independent works year-round at the Whitsell Auditorium, located in the Portland Art Museum.  For more information, visit

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The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.