Tag Archives for " 2017 "

last month

2017 Event Schedule

2017 Event Schedule Oregon Documentary Film Festival

Session 1: Friday, November 10th, 2017 | 6:45pm to 11:00pm

Avalon Theatre, 3451 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214 (713) 305-4895

Watch the Trailers for the Session 1 Films Now!

2017 Event Schedule

Session 2: Saturday, November 11th, 2017 | 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Avalon Theatre, 3451 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214 (713) 305-4895

Watch the Trailers for the Session 2 Films Now!

2017 Event Schedule

Session 3: Saturday, November 11th, 2017 | 6:45pm to 10:30pm

Avalon Theatre, 3451 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214 (713) 305-4895

Watch the Trailers for the Session 3 Films Now!

last month

“Model Material” Directed by Sabrina Linville

Model Material Documentary Film
Oregon Documentary Film Festival Official Selection
  • Film Name: "Model Material"
  • Runtime: 7 minutes and 9 seconds
  • Screening: Friday, November 10th, 2017
  • Featuring: Sam Swan and Franklin Headen
  • Director: Sabrina Linville
  • Director of Photography: Annie Piacentini
  • Editor: Samantha Cordova
  • Music Composer: Jamil Houston
  • Post Production Sound: Steven Blevins
  • Motion Media Specialist Paris Mumpower
  • LinkedIn
  • Tagline: "An exclusive glimpse of the modeling industry through the diverse perspectives of a casting director and models during New York Fashion Week."
Model Material Oregon Documentary Film Festival

Director Sabrina Linville

As one of five children, Sabrina Linville learned the power of collaboration and communication at a young age. Her enthusiasm for human interest stories led her to purse a BFA in Film and Television Studies at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). As a producer and director, Sabrina has had the privilege of working with a variety of artistic talents from her student documentaries' inception to final cut. Her favorite motto "team work makes the dream work" derives from these beautiful learning experiences. 

Model Material Official Selection
last month

“Ghosts of our Forest” Directed by Daniel Roher

"Ghosts of Our Forest" is a documentary film directed by Daniel Roher.

Daniel Roher's "Ghosts of Our Forest" introduces the viewer to the musical and culturally rich, Batwa tribe. This documentary touched and inspired our judges.

  • Film Name: "Ghosts of Our Forest" 
  • Director: Daniel Roher
  • Director of Photography: Marianna Margaret
  • Composer: Richard Jay
  • Runtime: 65 Minutes
  • Screening: Saturday, November 11th, 2017
  • Website | Facebook | Instagram
  • Tagline: "After an indigenous Ugandan tribe is violently removed from its forest home, the survivors are left to reconcile with the ghosts of their ancestors as they struggle to maintain their cultural identity."

Oregon Documentary Film Festival Judges Review

Review: "A touching story about an African tribe that lost their home overnight and how they are trying to survive in today's world. You really feel for the children in this story and wonder how what their lives will be like in the future. The film features vivid images, great music and a story by Daniel Roher that unfolds in an hour, but feels like fifteen minutes."

"Ghosts of Our Forest" Directed by Daniel Roher
"Ghosts of Our Forest" Director Daniel Roher

"the indigenous Batwa tribe was forcefully removed from their ancestral home by the Ugandan government."

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"Ghosts of Our Forest" Directed by Daniel Roher

Ghosts of Our Forest: Synopsis

In 1992, as pressure from international conservation groups to protect the great forests of Uganda mounted and the indigenous Batwa tribe was forcefully removed from their ancestral home by the Ugandan government. One of the most ecologically diverse places on earth, the Bwindi impenetrable forest nurtured the Batwa, and in turn the tribe worshiped all that it gave them. Upon eviction, however, the Batwa received nothing in the way of compensation or support, and so fell into poverty.

Nearly 25 years later ...

A young Batwa named Gad Semejeri is doing everything he can to preserve his culture in the face of social oppression and substance abuse. Along with a group of young Batwa, he founded the Batwa Music Club, a band that strives to reclaim its cultural heritage by performing traditional songs that speak out against the injustices the the tribe has suffered.

With Gad’s leadership, the group is rehearsing for its biggest gig to date, a concert in Kampala where they will take centre stage and make the plight of the Batwa known to the whole of Uganda.

In today's world ...

The young Batwa are threading together rapturous tales of traditional life and stories from Batwa elders. The Batwa Music Club struggles for survival on a daily basis and is still performing original music. Ipalaki is an inspiration and vibrant testament to the importance of indigenous knowledge in the globalized world.

"Ghosts of Our Forest" Directed by Daniel Roher
last month

“Fattitude” Directed by Lindsey Averill and Viridiana Lieberman

"Fattitude" is a documentary film directed by Lindsey Averill and Viridiana Lieberman

Fattitude exposes the hollywood and media bias towards overweight people. The directors expose the bias and empower people of all body types with a great message. The judges loved this film and feel like it's a wake-up call for western society.

  • Film Name: "Fattitude" 
  • Directors: Lindsey Averill and Viridiana Lieberman
  • Director of Photography: Viridiana Lieberman
  • Runtime: 88 Minutes
  • Screening: Friday, November 10th, 2017
  • Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
  • Tagline: "Fattitude is a feature length documentary that exposes how media culture encourages weight bias. The film offers alternative ways of thinking that embrace body acceptance at all sizes."

"Fattitude" Film Synopsis:

Fattitude is a feature length documentary that exposes how culture – particularly media culture - encourages weight bias and then offers alternative ways of thinking that embrace body acceptance at all sizes. Informed by a post-modern, post-colonial, feminist background, Fattitude is very conscious and attentive to the idea that fat hatred crosses the lines of race, class, sexuality and gender.

"Fattitude" Directors Lindsey Averill and Viridiana Lieberman

"Fattitude" Film Contributors:

The film features a diverse variety of voices such as academic scholars and activists. Hollywood directors and writers, as well as, psychologists. Rebecca Phul, Jackson Katz, Marilyn Wann and Sonya Renee Taylor present their views. Virgie Tovar, Jen Posner, Lindy West, Ricki Lake, Winne Holzman, Guy Branum, Tess Munster and Andrew Walen include their testimonials as well.

"Fattitude is a conscious the idea that fat hatred crosses the lines of race, class, sexuality and gender."

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"Fattitude" Directed by Lindsey Averill and Viridiana Lieberman

The story behind the story.

We had an opportunity to catch up with director Lindsey Averill for a short interview about the "Fattitude" film's back story. 

  1. Why did you think that the Oregon Documentary Film Festival was a good place to submit and screen your film? “Fattitude has a large fan base in Portland. We were hoping to have a screening that would provide access to our film for those people. The Oregon documentary film festival shows interest in socially conscious films so it seemed like a good fit.”
  2. What is the title of your film and is there any special meaning to the title? “Fattitude is a single word that encompasses the righteous indignation and radical cultural revolution required to end weight bias.”
  3. Why did you choose to tell this particular story? “Personal experience, kismet, and it was something that just happened.”
  4. Did you discover certain story elements during the production of this film that you never expected to find in the planning stages of this project? “Oh god yes. There were moments when we were filming that blew our minds. Filming "Fattitude" was not just about making a movie is was also the journey to self love for both Viri and I.”
  5. Did anything happen during the production of this film that was very interesting, but never made it on camera? “We have over 100 hours of footage. There are so many darlings, incredible nuggets of information that we just couldn't include.”
  6. How did you fund this film? Did you use crowd funding? Do you have pressure to recoup the production costs somehow? “We used Kickstarter and donations. We are a total passion project.”
  7. What kind of audience reaction are you getting to this film? Discuss any Positives or Negatives that you feel comfortable talking about. “We've gotten both death threats and love letters. One of my favorite love letter came from a woman in her sixties who watched our trailer. She felt it was the first time in her life that she was given permission to stop hating herself.”
  8. Do you have plans for a sequel or future film that you are working on? Please discuss. “We talk about tackling ageism and the media, but it's still a pretty vague idea.”
  9. You have completed a documentary film, which is a huge achievement. Do you have any advice for a future filmmaker that is about to start a documentary project? Advice that you wish you had been given before you started yours? “Recognize that your timeline for production may be longer than you think. A documentary is a labor of love that will take all of your heart. It is a financial mountain and will require constant fundraising. Which can take a lot longer than expected.”
"Fattitude" Directors Lindsey Averill and Viridiana Lieberman
last month

“SOS: The Salton Sea Walk” Directed by Corbin Schweitzer

"SOS: The Salton Sea Walk" is a documentary film directed by Corbin Schweitzer.

What drives someone to say, "this morning I'm going on a Salton Sea Walk and I won't stop for three years?" Director Corbin Schweitzer does a great job with telling the story of this environmental crisis. The disappearance of the Salton Sea could be catastrophic to the environment and Randy Brown's movement is worthy of attention.

  • Film Name: "SOS: The Salton Sea Walk" 
  • Director and Cinematographer: Corbin Schweitzer
  • Co-Producer: Blake Alexander
  • Associate Producers: Giovanni Arechavaleta and Kerry Morrison
  • Editor: James Semivan
  • Assistant Camera: Taylor Bennett
  • Composer: Colton Schweitzer
  • Runtime: 61 Minutes
  • Screening: Saturday, November 11th, 2017
  • Website | Facebook | IMDb
  • Tagline: "California’s largest lake approaches an environmental point of no return. One man will attempt to become the first person to walk around its hazardous shoreline. Could this film prevent an ecologic disaster that could impact the entire western hemisphere?"

Synopsis:

The Salton Sea, California's largest lake, is rapidly drying up. After 2017, the largest rural to urban water transfer will exponentially accelerate the rate at which the sea shrinks. This will expose acres of dried lakebed. The exposed playa, containing 100 years worth of farm chemicals, could become airborne. This could send billowing clouds of toxic dust towards major population centers in the Southwest. The Salton Sea is located 230 feet below sea-level. In this desolate pocket of Southern California's Colorado Desert, the plight of the sea is largely ignored.

"Randy Brown, set out to do something no one had ever attempted to walk the entire shoreline of the Salton Sea."

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Who will save the Salton Sea?

There are a few outspoken people who claim to know how to save it. Randy Brown, community activist, set out to do something no one had ever attempted. To walk the entire shoreline of the sea. In June of 2015, with temperatures reaching 120 degrees, he set out on his 6 day, 115 mile journey. His mission is to raise awareness for the sea. A forgotten place of peace and beauty. Will the people be inspired to save it before it's too late?

"SOS: The Salton Sea Walk" Director Corbin Schweitzer

The interview:

We had a chance to catch up with Director Corbin Schweitzer for a behind-the-scenes look at "The Salton Sea." 

  1. Why did you think that the Oregon Documentary Film Festival was a good place to submit and screen your film? “I was born in Portland and wanted to submit to my hometown.”
  2. What is the title of your film and is there any special meaning to the title? "SOS The Salton Sea Walk", and yes, there are multiple meanings. "SOS" both means help and in the film "Save Our Sea".
  3. Why did you choose to tell this particular story? “We felt it was a time-sensitive story that had horrific environmental and health implications should it continue to go unnoticed. It's impact would extend far beyond California's borders and ultimately could impact the entire western hemisphere.”
  4. Did you discover certain story elements during the production of this film that you never expected to find in the planning stages of this project? “Most certainly. When the project began, we believed there wasn't a viable solution in place and as such was a lost cause. As the project progressed however, we learned about the different solutions and numerous opportunities for the economy with renewable resources and emerging technologies that presented the viewer and public with a positive outlook toward the sea and its future.”
  5. What camera(s) did you use to during the production of this film? Discuss any advantages or limitations that you may have run into, from an equipment perspective. “We used a Canon 5D Mrk. II as our main camera, GoPros for our secondary cameras, and a Phantom series drone for our aerials. Since the Canon was the first generation of video-capable DSLRs, it was highly limited in its video capabilities and as such things such as stability, focus, and sound became an inherent issue throughout production. The advantage of using such small equipment was the portability and ease of use making shooting quick and easy.”
  6. Did anything happen during the production of this film that was very interesting, but never made it on camera? “Yes. During one filming adventure, we spent time in Mexico to determine the viability and prove the existence of the Coyote Canal (the main channel connecting the Sea of Cortez to the Laguna Salada). We learned that the Cucapa indian tribe owned the land that the canal was built upon and were excited about the possibility of working with the United States to restore both the Salada and the Salton Sea to their former glory. We stayed in the Cucapa tribe hometown and traveled to their native fishing grounds used for centuries by their ancestors. Unfortunately, we were unable to add this to the film in order to keep the story interesting and maintain a shorter running time.”
  7. How did you fund this film? Did you use crowd funding? Do you have pressure to recoup the production costs somehow? “It was entirely out of pocket. We only used Kickstarter after production in order to submit to festivals.”
  8. What kind of audience reaction are you getting to this film? Discuss any Positives or Negatives that you feel comfortable talking about. “This film has been received very positively by all audiences thus far. We feel that it's positive message combined with a straight-forward and interesting human-interest story, make it both fun to watch and highly informative.”
  9. Do you have plans for a sequel or future film that you are working on? Please discuss.
    “We do. Our plans for the future are to return to the Sea and bring to light it's current state of affairs through a story-driven narrative instead of another documentary. We believe a different perspective could help continue to raise awareness without repeating facts, figures, and issues. We also are planning on a separate documentary around the message highlighted at the beginning of the film: water; from the dwindling sources of freshwater, to the importance of what kind of water we drink.”
  10. You have completed a documentary film, which is a huge achievement. Do you have any advice for a future filmmaker that is about to start a documentary project? Advice that you wish you had been given before you started yours? “Most definitely. Organize, organize, organize. Simply put, anytime you are shooting for your documentary, log and organize your footage immediately after your days end. Don't skip the "dailies" (or watching over the footage you captured at the end of the day). This will save you mountains of time and effort later in the editing stages. If you note ahead of time which clips are worth using and which should be thrown out, it'll be worth its weight in gold later on.”
"SOS: The Salton Sea Walk" Director Corbin Schweitzer

Director's Statement: Corbin Schweitzer

"Several years ago, I received a call about a community activist, Randy Brown. He was seeking to do what no man had attempted before and walk around the hazardous 116-mile shoreline of California’s Salton Sea. This began what would become a three year journey to document his story. Ultimately we hoped to bring to light an incredibly beautiful and forgotten piece of natural history. The Salton Sea has been left to evaporate and disappear. At the end of this year, the remaining flows of the Colorado river will be diverted to outlying cities and areas. This will leave the Salton Sea without a new source of water. This film seeks to raise awareness and prevent what could become one of the worst ecological disasters ever recorded."

"SOS: The Salton Sea Walk" Directed by Corbin Schweitzer
last month

“Stu Steinberg” Directed by Clay Kempf

"Stu Steinberg" is a documentary film directed by Clay Kempf.

A riveting story about US War Veteran Stu Steinberg, the judges were blown away by the story and struggle with PTSD that so many of our veterans are dealing with on a daily basis.

  • Film Name: "Stu Steinberg" 
  • Director: Clay Kempf
  • Runtime: 40 Minutes
  • Screening: Friday, November 10th, 2017
  • Website | LinkedIn
  • Tagline: "Stu Steinberg is a story about a renegade US war veteran who dedicates his life to helping fellow vets navigate through the rough terrain of PTSD and obstacles that detract from health care leading to post war poor quality of life and often death."

"We were blown away by the story and struggle with PTSD that our veterans are dealing with on a daily basis."

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We had an opportunity to catch up with director Clay Kempf for a short interview about the "Stu Steinberg" film's back story. 

  1. Why did you think that the Oregon Documentary Film Festival was a good place to submit and screen your film? “The Oregon Documentary Film Festival” was the best place to submit our film because it was shot entirely in Bend/Redmond Oregon”
  2. What is the title of your film and is there any special meaning to the title? "Stu Steinberg" he is the special person that has found ways to get US Military Veterans their benefits and healthcare.
  3. Why did you choose to tell this particular story? “We chose this particular story because of the huge impact Stu Steinberg has made in the lives of US Military Veterans and with the Oregon Documentary Film Festival exposure it will have many more”
  4. What camera(s) did you use to during the production of this film? Discuss any advantages or limitations that you may have run into, from an equipment perspective. “We shot on Red 6k Dragon, Red 4k Scarlet and the Canon 60D. We shot on the Red Cinema Cameras because that was the DP, Clay from the Bay's camera of choice. With Red Cinema cameras the production had a wide arrange of cinematic style possible, whether it be 4K resolution, high frame rates and audio inputs.”
  5. Did anything happen during the production of this film that was very interesting, but never made it on camera? “There is always interesting things that happen behind the camera, off camera and on camera. I will say this, we have enough coverage that didn't make it on this edit where we can produce another film as a sequel or part 2.”
  6. How did you fund this film? Did you use crowd funding? Do you have pressure to recoup the production costs somehow? “We didn't have to do a crowd funding system to fund our film. We were fortunate to have a producer that funded our production from beginning to end and supported our vision for the project.”
  7. What kind of audience reaction are you getting to this film? Discuss any Positives or Negatives that you feel comfortable talking about. “This is our premiere so we have yet to get any feedback. But I anticipate feedback will be a new awareness for the issues our US Veterans have today and although many don't get proper support or healthcare, with this film fellow veterans and families will see what can be done and has been done to help all US Veterans.”
  8. Do you have plans for a sequel or future film that you are working on? Please discuss.
    We have plans for a sequel/part 2 for this film. “There is plenty of coverage that did not make this edit and we would like to go back and pickup principle cinematography that we were unable to capture on our original shoot.”
  9. You have completed a documentary film, which is a huge achievement. Do you have any advice for a future filmmaker that is about to start a documentary project? Advice that you wish you had been given before you started yours? “Documentaries have so many unknowns going into production. It is hard to quantify what the end result will be. Having said that, that's the very core of discovery of a documentary subject matter. My advice is to prepare as much as possible, capture capture capture and sort out when you get to the editing stage. Most importantly NEVER give up or abandon your goal. It may take longer than expected, but see it to the end.”
"Stu Steinberg" Director Clay Kempf
last month

“Human Zoos” Directed by John West

"Human Zoos" is a documentary film directed by John West.

John West explores a dark part of US history in "Human Zoos." A racially charged story that will mesmerize you with the stories and reality of a time where people were exploited in ways that are unimaginable in today in society. You have to see it to believe it and then wonder why they didn't teach you this chapter in history class.

  • Film Name: "Human Zoos" 
  • Director: Directed by John West
  • Cinematographer: Keith Pennock
  • Narrator: Andres Williams
  • Composer: Donnie Alan
  • Editor Rachel Adams
  • Runtime: 48 minutes and 34 seconds
  • Screening: Saturday, November 11th, 2017
  • Website | Evolution News & Science Article | IMDb Link | LinkedIn
  • Tagline: "Human Zoos tells the story of how thousands of indigenous peoples were put on public display in America in the early decades of the twentieth century."

Thousands of indigenous peoples were put on public display in America in the early decades of the twentieth century.

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Synopsis:

Often touted as “missing links” between man and apes, these native peoples were harassed, demeaned, and jeered at. Their public display was arranged with the enthusiastic support of the most elite members of the scientific community, and it was promoted uncritically by America’s leading newspapers. The documentary also tells the story of a courageous group of African-American ministers who tried to stop one such 'Human Zoo' in New York City. The documentary features Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Pamela Newkirk, author of Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga. 

In September 1906, nearly a quarter of a million people flocked to the Bronx Zoo in New York City. Many came for a startling new exhibit in the Zoo’s Monkey House. But it wasn’t a monkey they came to see. It was a man. His name was Ota Benga. A pygmy from the African Congo, Ota Benga was exhibited in a cage along with monkeys.

Benga was not alone. He was one of literally thousands of indigenous peoples who were put on public display throughout America in the early twentieth century. Often touted as “missing links” between man and apes and as examples of the “lower” stages of human evolution, these native peoples were harassed, demeaned, and jeered at. Their public display was arranged with the enthusiastic support of the most elite members of the scientific community, and it was promoted uncritically by America’s leading newspapers.

Human Zoos tells the horrifying story of this effort to dehumanize entire classes of people in the name of science. It will also tell the story of the courageous African-American ministers in New York City who tried to stop what was going on. Finally, the documentary will expose how some organizations are still trying to cover up their involvement in what happened and re-write the past.

The documentary featuresl interviews with a number of experts, including Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Pamela Newkirk, author of Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga.

"Human Zoos" Director John West

Interview with John West:

We had a chance to catch up with Director John West to get a behind-the-scenes look at this powerful documentary film, Human Zoos.

  1. Why did you think that the Oregon Documentary Film Festival was a good place to submit and screen your film? “I’m based in Seattle, and I was excited to learn about the debut of a film festival in the Pacific Northwest focusing on documentaries.”
  2. What is the title of your film and is there any special meaning to the title? “My film is titled “Human Zoos: America’s Forgotten History of Scientific Racism.” The title “Human Zoos” refers to the dehumanizing practice in American history of putting indigenous peoples on public display, sometimes in cages.”
  3. Why did you choose to tell this particular story? “Several years ago, I read a book about an African named Ota Benga who was put on public display in the Monkey House of the Bronx Zoo in the early 1900s. I later learned that there was a widespread practice in both the United States and Europe of putting indigenous peoples on public display, and that in many cases this practice was carried out and promoted not by hucksters but by leading members of America’s scientific community. I am fascinated by the use and abuse of scientific ideas in public policy, and I was interested not only in telling the story of what happened but also probing why so many members of the scientific community supported the practice. As I began to work on the story, I found that it had connections with the American eugenics movement, which was an effort to breed better humans by controlling the direction of human evolution, and so the documentary also delves into that story. There are also connections between what happened in the past and today’s white supremacists. One of the points I hoped to make in this film is that we don’t get beyond the past by forgetting it. We need to face it in order to make sure the same mistakes don’t happen again.”
  4. Did you discover certain story elements during the production of this film that you never expected to find in the planning stages of this project? “I was able to find a lot of fascinating material in the digitized archives of old newspapers, material that hadn’t been used before and that provided some insights into why people did what they did.”
  5. What kind of audience reaction are you getting to this film? Discuss any Positives or Negatives that you feel comfortable talking about. “My film will be having its public premiere at this film festival! Up to now, it has only had a few private screenings, the largest of which was around 90 people. The reactions at the private screenings have been positive, but somber. I think some people were shocked at what they learned. After the violence in Charlottesville, VA this past summer, I added a new ending to the film because I found a pretty explicit connection between the issues I was covering with some things being debated right now. Only one audience has seen the new ending, and I think it made some of the viewers uncomfortable to how the scientific racism of the past was rearing its ugly head in a new way today.”
  6. You have completed a documentary film, which is a huge achievement. Do you have any advice for a future filmmaker that is about to start a documentary project? Advice that you wish you had been given before you started yours? “Especially if you are working on a limited budget (as I was), the more you can plan out in advance, the better. Also, learning to think visually is important when writing a script. My background is as a former college professor and as someone with training in journalism. So I have more experience with the written word than with visuals. When I started learning how to make documentaries, I had to stretch myself to write for a medium where what you show visually (and how you show it) is just as important (sometimes more important) than the words you use. I also learned that you need to be as concise as possible. Wordiness doesn’t work well in the visual medium.”
"Human Zoos" Director John West
last month

“The Kenton Lead Blob” Directed by Zach Putnam and Richard Percy

The Kenton Lead Blob Directed by Zach Putnam

"The Kenton Lead Blob" is a documentary film from director Zach Putnam and Richard Percy.

Zach Putnam is a concerned citizen who decided to research an environmental pollution problem in Oregon and expose the truth to the world.

  • Film Name: "The Kenton Lead Blob*" 
  • Director: Zach Putnam and Richard Percy
  • Producers: Richard Percy and David MacKay
  • Runtime: 10 minutes and 8 seconds
  • Screening: Friday, November 10th, 2017
  • Website | Portland Tribune Article | LinkedIn
  • Tagline: "When Zach saw a news article that suggested he was living in a hotspot of lead pollution, he took action. Connecting with his neighbors through social media, a community-led investigation began, with hopes of getting to the bottom of any causes and health risks that could be affecting them and their families. The surprising answers they found only raised more questions. This film was produced as a student project in the University of Oregon Master's in Multimedia Journalism program."
The Kenton Lead Blob Directed by Zach Putnam

Interview with Zach Putnam:

We had an opportunity to catch up with Director Zach Putnam for an in-depth look behind the scenes at this film.

  1. Why did you think that the Oregon Documentary Film Festival was a good place to submit and screen your film? “Though this story is hyper local, I think it holds lessons that apply much more widely, so I'm always looking for more audiences to show it to. As a showcase for documentary storytelling, the Oregon Documentary Film Festival seemed like a perfect fit.”
  2. What is the title of your film and is there any special meaning to the title? “The Kenton Lead Blob* was the name my neighbors and I gave to this scary-looking hotspot on the lead contamination map published by the Oregonian newspaper. The asterisk we added later, after the nature of the "blob" became more clear.”
  3. Why did you choose to tell this particular story? “I began researching this story out of pure self-interest when I first saw the hotspot map. As the story unfolded, it was so fascinating that I decided to document it with my co-producers.”
  4. Did you discover certain story elements during the production of this film that you never expected to find in the planning stages of this project? “Everything in this story was a surprise for me. I hardly knew anything about lead contamination before I started, much less what could cause it.”
  5. What camera(s) did you use to during the production of this film? Discuss any advantages or limitations that you may have run into, from an equipment perspective. “Mostly shot on Canon C100, with some Canon 70D.”
  6. Did anything happen during the production of this film that was very interesting, but never made it on camera? “There are lots of things that we didn't squeeze into the final short doc, like our attempt at filing a FOIA request and lots more general info about lead poisoning and intrigue in the Kenton neighborhood.”
  7. How did you fund this film? Did you use crowd funding? Do you have pressure to recoup the production costs somehow? “We produced this short doc as graduate students in the University of Oregon Master's in Multimedia Journalism program, so we received support from UO in the form of equipment and the guidance of our faculty advisors.”
  8. What kind of audience reaction are you getting to this film? Discuss any Positives or Negatives that you feel comfortable talking about. “Portland International Raceway has announced new regulations on leaded fuel as a result of our investigation, and many of my neighbors are grateful for the light we shed on that situation. Despite being such a local story, I've been surprised how intriguing many people from all over the country have found our story. We even won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Video Reporting.”
  9. Do you have plans for a sequel or future film that you are working on? Please discuss. “The Forest Service just contacted me to tell me that they finally are going to come back and try to determine what caused the contaminated moss sample in the first place, so perhaps we will need to make a sequel about that.”
  10. You have completed a documentary film, which is a huge achievement. Do you have any advice for a future filmmaker that is about to start a documentary project? Advice that you wish you had been given before you started yours? “My advice is for after you make your film: share it! I think too many filmmakers post their film online and hope it get discovered by an audience. I highly recommend submitting your film to media platforms, contests and festivals so it can be seen by as large an audience as possible. Be prepared for lots of rejections (and no replies) but that is normal. The point of all your hard work is for someone to watch it, so make sure to follow through on the distribution part of the equation.”
The Kenton Lead Blob Directed by Zach Putnam
"The Kenton Lead Blob" Director Zach Putnam

"When Zach Putnam saw a news article that suggested he was living in a hotspot of lead pollution, he took action."

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last month

“Sisterly” Directed by Nina Vallado

"Sisterly" is a documentary film from director Nina Vallado.

A touching story about Nina and Lisa and how their relationship continues to grow after Lisa is diagnosed with autism. Director Nina Vallado gives the viewer an inside look at the struggles and rewards of dealing with this medical condition. The Oregon Documentary Film Festival judges were inspired by this story and appreciate Nina's ability to give the viewer a first person experience with this beautiful family.

  • Film Name: "Sisterly" 
  • Director: Directed by Nina Vallado
  • Art Director: Amber Kuo
  • Composer: André Barros
  • Runtime: 28 Minutes
  • Screening: Friday, November 10th, 2017
  • Spectrum Magazine Article | Student Academy Awards | LinkedIn
  • Tagline: "Nina and Lisa are two sisters destined to be the best of friends, but with a diagnosis autism at the age of 2, Lisa’s voice disappears. Without communication, Nina and Lisa set out to find connection and sisterhood."

"Sisterhood is a different matter, and adding autism into the mix, only complicates the matter more." Nina Vallado

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"Sisterly" Director Nina Vallado

Interview with Nina Vallado:

We had an opportunity to catch up with director Nina Vallado for a short interview about the "Sisterly" film's back story. 

  1. Why did you think that the Oregon Documentary Film Festival was a good place to submit and screen your film? “Because it's focused on documentary work, and because of the location.”
  2. What is the title of your film and is there any special meaning to the title? “Sisterly; It was a title that my professors and I came up with. I wanted the word "sister" to be part of the title, and one professor asked me to describe the film. "Sisterly" is the adverb that came from that conversation. Phonetically, it has the beginning sound of the word, "Lisa."
  3. Why did you choose to tell this particular story? “I wanted to tell this story from the POV of siblings, because I find that there are not many stories that deal with the topic of siblings, especially within the context of autism.”
  4. Did you discover certain story elements during the production of this film that you never expected to find in the planning stages of this project? “Over the course of four years, my film changed it story over and over again. Which is expected in documentary work, but because I allowed things to develop and change, I discovered so much about my personal relationship with my sister through the film's production. I was able to use the filmmaking process to get to know my sister in a way I wasn't able to, or didn't have the courage to do so, before.”
  5. What camera(s) did you use to during the production of this film? Discuss any advantages or limitations that you may have run into, from an equipment perspective. “I used the cameras that my school owned - Canon C100, Panasonic GH4. I found that my primary camera, the C100, would change some of the dynamic between the characters and I. Some of the footage I captured using my iPhone, mainly because of convenience and intimacy. It was familiar to my subjects and to myself.”
  6. Did anything happen during the production of this film that was very interesting, but never made it on camera? “There were many intimate moments captured between my sister and I, as well as with my mother and I. The film ends with the conclusion that I do not have to share everything with everyone. Those moments I have kept for myself.”
  7. How did you fund this film? Did you use crowd funding? Do you have pressure to recoup the production costs somehow? “I funded the film mostly with my own personal account. I set up a Kickstarter campaign for finishing funds - all post production and distribution purposes.”
  8. What kind of audience reaction are you getting to this film? Discuss any Positives or Negatives that you feel comfortable talking about. “The audience has surprisingly reacted similarly to how my family reacted. Being a very personal film, I find that people are still able to apply certain experiences of mine to their own sibling experience.”
  9. Do you have plans for a sequel or future film that you are working on? Please discuss. “I have ideas, but nothing solid yet. I think creating a personal narrative took a big toll on myself and my family, which ended being very worthwhile, but I want to take a break from something so close to home.”
  10. You have completed a documentary film, which is a huge achievement. Do you have any advice for a future filmmaker that is about to start a documentary project? Advice that you wish you had been given before you started yours? “Know yourself and be comfortable with yourself. Being locked away in the editing suite of my school for hours and hours each day pushed me to be comfortable and face my fears. Get to know yourself, and make a movie that is for you.”

Director's Statement:

The relationship between siblings is difficult to define. A relationship between parent and child, or between friends, is easily understood and carries certain expectations. Sisterhood is a different matter, and adding autism into the mix, only complicates the matter more. My film is about the complexities of a sisterhood without communication. My sister Lisa is diagnosed with autism, and for the first 16 years of her life she did not communicate. After learning rapid-prompt method, a communication method using a stencil board, her life changed. While Lisa’s life was beginning anew, my life remained almost unchanged. Two people living under the same roof, sharing the same family, sharing similar experiences, yet, living almost opposite lives. The world of autism is one that isolates and builds unwanted walls between neurotypicals and those on the autism spectrum. Misunderstanding and broken communication have been the bricks that separated my sister and me. I have faced these walls for years , but rarely tried to climb over them, or tear them down. In the four years of my thesis production, I have learned more about my sister than I have my entire life. My camera allowed me to focus more clearly on her struggles, her pain, her story. Throughout the production of this film, I have questioned my role in her life as her older sister. In my film, I intertwine the search for connection with my sister with her personal search for independence. My film is a pursuit for a meaningful relationship within the world of autism. The story builds as we learn to communicate. The more we learn about one another, the more we tear down the walls that separate us. The film is not meant to resolve all of our problems, but to come to terms with the sisterhood that we are creating for ourselves.

"Sisterly" Director Nina Vallado

Director's Nina Vallado's Bio:

Nina Vallado was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and moved to the United States of America at the age of six. She received her BFA in Documentary Film from Andrews University. Nina’s passion for social justice and equality is stemmed from her experiences as an immigrant and her close relationship with autism. Nina strives to tell stories that can evoke empathy and connection between human beings. She strongly believes that storytelling is the world’s greatest tool for change. Nina has worked on short documentary projects that have won awards, such as "Then Came Sandy" and "Papi". Her senior project, "Sisterly," for her undergraduate studies, focuses on her complex relationship with her sister with autism. "Sisterly" is a student film produced over the course of four years and has involved artists and professionals from Brazil, United States of America, Portugal and Iceland.

last month

“Invisible Oregon” Directed by Sam Forencich

"Invisible Oregon" is a documentary film from director Sam Forencich.

A time lapse filmmaker, Sam captured visuals of Oregon in ways that exceed imagination. The vibrant colors of the landscape are breath taking. The judges were truly impressed with the images and filmmaking of Sam Forenicich.

  • Film Name: "Invisible Oregon" 
  • Director and Cinematographer: Sam Forencich
  • Director of Photography: Sam Forencich
  • Composer: Travis Forencich
  • Runtime: 6 Minutes
  • Screening: Friday, November 10th, 2017
  • Website | LinkedIn
  • Tagline: "Invisible Oregon is an art time-lapse piece 3 years in the making. Created entirely with infrared converted cameras, Invisible Oregon reveals a landscape beyond the range of human perception that challenges how we process the world around us."
"Invisible Oregon" Director Sam Forencich

"Created entirely with infrared converted cameras, Invisible Oregon is a study of light across time and space."

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"Invisible Oregon" Director Sam Forencich

Director's Statement:

"Ever since my youthful days of “experimentation” I've often wondered about the nature of reality. Those of you that still believe in science understand the limitations of our perceptions, and it's no secret that many creatures exceed our abilities to interpret the world around us. The idea that we have to process the sensory data coming into our brains makes it seem like we are already a step removed from the real world. So what exactly are we missing? What do animals experience that we can't, and how do our human perceptions vary from person to person? While this film does nothing to answer these questions, time-lapse and infrared photography do, in a metaphorical sort of way, extend our sensory abilities so we can imagine a world beyond ours. Ultimately I think this is what draws us to these forms, not to solve the mystery, but to flirt with it's boundaries." - Director Sam Forencich

Sam Forencich Interview:

We had a chance to interview Director and DP Sam Forencich for a behind the scenes look at his "Invisible Oregon."

  1. Why did you think that the Oregon Documentary Film Festival was a good place to submit and screen your film? “My film is a celebration of Oregon's natural beauty. If there was going to be a receptive audience it would be here.”
  2. What is the title of your film and is there any special meaning to the title? “Invisible Oregon - My film was created entirely with infrared converted cameras. Humans do not perceive infrared light so the scenes in the film are relatively speaking "invisible".
  3. Why did you choose to tell this particular story? “The making of this film came at a juncture of experimentation between time-lapse and infrared photography. I didn't set out to do this initially, but since I live in Oregon the surrounding landscapes were a natural choice to experiment. There was a tipping point when it became obvious that the results were both interesting and repeatable. The momentum to make the film took off from there.”
  4. Did you discover certain story elements during the production of this film that you never expected to find in the planning stages of this project? “In what is essentially a non-narrative art film a great deal of the piece was "discovered" through my process. I had crafted a "structure" for the film, and had a list of target locations, but to a large degree time and conditions dictated the decision making that went into each shot.”
  5. What camera(s) did you use to during the production of this film? Discuss any advantages or limitations that you may have run into, from an equipment perspective. “I used 2 infrared converted DSLR cameras. A Nikon D750 and a Canon 5D MII. The Nikon is a better low noise performer and was used in all the night sky scenes. Both cameras have a unique infrared response curve, so the subject would sometimes dictate which camera was appropriate.”
  6. Did anything happen during the production of this film that was very interesting, but never made it on camera? “With time-lapse things do occasionally do go wrong. So yes we did lose a few shots, mainly due to "pilot error."
  7. How did you fund this film? Did you use crowd funding? Do you have pressure to recoup the production costs somehow? “The film was self funded. I never intended to make any money off this, and that proved to be the one assumption I was right about.
  8. What kind of audience reaction are you getting to this film? Discuss any Positives or Negatives that you feel comfortable talking about. “The film has done well online through Vimeo. It was a "staff pick" early on that really helped get it out there. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, but you can never totally escape the trolls online.”
  9. Do you have plans for a sequel or future film that you are working on? Please discuss. “My background is in still photography, but time-lapse film making has introduced me to many aspects of film production. Not sure where I'm going next but I'd like to do something that has a strong narrative or documentary structure.
  10. You have completed a documentary film, which is a huge achievement. Do you have any advice for a future filmmaker that is about to start a documentary project? Advice that you wish you had been given before you started yours? “My film came to life because of my curiosity. It just sort of sprang out from there. I can't give advice for a proper project since I've never done one, but if you start with a subject that you are genuinely passionate about, that's a good set up for success.”
"Invisible Oregon" Director Sam Forencich

Filmmaker Bio:

Sam Forencich is a time-lapse film maker and photographer based in Portland Oregon. Sam is the principle time-lapse contributor to the NBC production Grimm, and the NBA team photographer for the Portland Trail Blazers. See more of his work here: https://www.samforencich.com/

"Invisible Oregon" Director Sam Forencich
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