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Cambria Matlow

The inaugural Oregon Filmmaker’s Residency Award for 2016 was awarded to Cambria Matlow to write a feature length narrative script for a feminist environmental fable set in the desert during the Rogue River War (1855-56) in Southern Oregon. The story will focus on the perspectives of Mexican women, using Spanish language, an emphasis on character, social critique, contemplative pacing, and cinematic style.

Matlow’s project embraces the uniqueness of her voice as an experienced filmmaker and the depth and diversity of the stories emanating from the Northwest. “During a PLAYA residency my main task will be to generate a screenplay for this film,” states Matlow. “This is a project that will gain immensely from being envisioned on-site at PLAYA. The land surrounding the PLAYA will compose the bulk of the setting of the film. Writing there is certain to richly inspire the dreamed visuals and natural elements of the screenplay while also providing a big opportunity to gain an emotional connection with this specific environment.” ”

At PLAYA we strive to provide life changing opportunities to artists from around the globe, says Deborah Ford from PLAYA. ‘Partnering with Oregon Film and NW Film Center to create this annual award for an Oregon Filmmaker gives us a unique opportunity to further support artists from our region and reciprocally contribute to the cultural fabric of the country”. ”

As an organization whose mission is to both help promote and nurture Northwest Filmmakers,” says Ben Popp, Filmmaker Services Manager for the NW Film Center, “this particular competition was unique in that we were able to help provide an incubator space and funds to a filmmaker who is just getting started on the journey of a new project. It is really quite exciting to see more opportunities being available for independent makers living and working in our great Northwest region.”

This partnership embraces the Northwest Film Center’s long history of filmmaking education and exhibition, along with the space and inspirational platform to work provided by PLAYA combined with the statewide efforts of Oregon Film to develop and strengthen the creative media industry in Oregon. The Oregon Filmmakers Residency Award seeks to expand the depth and breadth of storytelling while finding its characters, setting and source in the Northwest.

Cambria Matlow is an Oregon-based filmmaker who recently completed an Artist Residency at Northwest Documentary. Her films depict the beauty she sees in growth and decay, seek meaning in moments of stillness, and value the emotional experiences created from atmosphere and mood. In her work, small interactions and environmental realities reveal personal and political truths. She’s interested in the particular stories that emerge from the intersections of nature, culture, and human beings.

In 2005 she cofounded Birdgirl Productions, under whose banner she codirected and coproduced the documentary BURNING IN THE SUN (2010), about a young man who starts a local solar energy business in Mali, West Africa. The film was selected for IFP’s Documentary Lab and Independent Film Week, broadcast on Al Jazeera and PBS, and seen in festivals worldwide, including Rooftop Films, FICMA Barcelona, New York African Film Festival and Addis Int’l Film Festival (Opening Night Selection), eventually winning the Cinema for Peace International Green Film Award in Berlin. Her work has been awarded grants from LEF Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council, Experimental Television Center, and the Puffin Foundation.

In 2012 she founded Woodsrider Films to support her second feature-length film, WOODSRIDER (2016), an immersive portrait of a female snowboarder on Mt Hood, currently seeking its world festival premiere and showing locally this month at the Northwest Filmmakers Festival. Other projects in the works include a short experimental film, CAMP, about homeownership and homelessness in SE Portland, and a feature length essay documentary about her family, to be shot in Ecuador and Los Angeles. Cambria holds a Certificate in Film Production from Burlington College in Vermont and a B.A. in Hispanic Studies from Columbia University. She hopes to receive her Masters in Essay Documentary from EICTV in Cuba in 2018.

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

On the edge of the Great Basin in Oregon, PLAYA provides space, solitude and a creative community to residents working in the arts and sciences, encouraging dialogue to bring positive change to the environment and the world.

The program called for proposals from filmmakers and related creators to work on a script/film/visual narrative project during a 4-week residency at PLAYA in Summer Lake, Oregon.

The Oregon Filmmaker’s Residency Award was open to Oregon Resident filmmakers, screenwriters and other creative teams to propose a narrative project focusing on an environmental issue or under-represented community here in the Northwest region.

Award winners will receive a $1,000 stipend for travel and expenses and a 4 week residency at PLAYA to develop and work on their project in the south central Oregon Outback.

The goal of the program was to focus on directly supporting the creative process by encouraging ideas, writing and steps to production in the early stages of development that would directly benefit from the support and setting of PLAYA (in Summer Lake). Submissions ranged from a genre-bending look at policing to a thriller throwing light on labor inequalities; from a documentary about a son uncovering his father through a lost screenplay to a nearfuture series imagining the ramifications of our next presidential election.

Image via: burninginthesun

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