Sylvie’s Love directed by Eugene Ashe
Sylvie’s Love directed by Eugene Ashe

This year’s Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) cut short due to the pandemic in early March will finally wrap up six months later – with new event titled PIFF 2.0. From October 1 to 3, 2020, PIFF 2.0, reimagining the final days of the 43rd Portland International Film Festival, will present 10 films, talks and happy hours from Northwest and International filmmakers, offered in virtual screening and events as well as in new additions to the Film Center’s popular Cinema Unbound Drive-In series.

“While we can’t go back to the way things were, in the spirit of PIFF, we’re offering ten films, talks and happy hours from Northwest and International filmmakers to bring some closure to the festival and open a door to next year’s festival,” remarked Amy Dotson, Director of the Northwest Film Center and Portland Art Museum Curator of Film and New Media.

PIFF 2.0

PIFF 2.0 FEATURE FILMS AT THE CINEMA UNBOUND DRIVE-IN

ZIDELL YARDS – 3030 SW Moody Avenue, Portland, OR 97201

Young Hearts (fka Thunderbolt in Mine Eye)
This film was originally slated to screen during PIFF 43
Screening at the Cinema Unbound Drive-In
Directed by Sarah and Zachary Sherman
Oregon | 2020 | 80 mins.
In this honest coming-of-age tale, from sibling directors Sarah and Zachary Sherman, fourteen-year-old Harper enters high school and sparks a relationship with her older brother’s best friend, Tilly, but while Harper deals with social blowback, the older Tilly is congratulated, setting up a very modern teenage love story in the current age of Time’s Up and Me Too.

Sylvie’s Love
Screening at the Cinema Unbound Drive-In
Directed by Eugene Ashe
United States | 2020 | 114 mins.
A woman working at her father’s record store in Harlem in the late 1950s meets an aspiring saxophone player.

Marona’s Fantastic Tale
This film was originally slated to screen during PIFF 43
Screening at the Cinema Unbound Drive-In
Directed by Anca Damian
France/Romania/Belgium | 2019 | 92 mins.
A GKids release
This emotional, shape-shifting animated film follows Marona, an extremely cute dog who recounts her life, how she related to the world around her, and the humans she loved.

PIFF 2.0 VIRTUAL SCREENINGS

Sibyl
This film was originally slated to screen during PIFF 43
Directed by Justine Triet
France/Belgium | 2019 | 100 mins.
A Music Box Films release
Psychotherapist Sibyl (Virginie Efira) returns to creative writing—her first passion—but lacks creative spark, until a situation with one of her patients, a pregnant young actress, proves too difficult to resist fictionalizing.

Martin Eden – NWFC MEMBERS ONLY SNEAK PREVIEW!
This film was originally slated to screen during PIFF 43
Directed by Pietro Marcello
Italy/France/Germany | 2019 | 125 mins.
A Kino Lorber release
Luca Martinelli delivers one of the year’s finest performances as the titular Martin Eden, an aspiring young writer increasingly radicalized by turn-of-the-20th-century Italian social conditions.

Vitalina Varela
This film was originally slated to screen during PIFF 43
Directed by Pedro Costa
Portugal • 2019 • 124 mins.
in Portuguese with English subtitles
In this follow-up to Costa’s incredible Horse Money (a PIFF38 selection), Vitalina Varela, a widow from Cape Verde, travels to the Fontainhas neighborhood of Lisbon for her husband’s funeral after 25 long years apart—having learned of his death only three days before her arrival. Vitalina must piece together the last two decades of his life, as she encounters his friends, co-workers, neighbors, and the local priest (portrayed by Costa regular Ventura) in her search for answers, closure, and a new beginning in Fontainhas. Bridging past and present with his haunting, shadow-heavy visual compositions that conjure the chiaroscuro paintings of the Renaissance more than anything in contemporary cinema, Costa sculpts a quiet, intense ghost story around Vitalina’s unforgettable portrayal of a woman unmoored, but seeking peace. A Grasshopper Film release.

Pahokee
This film was originally slated to screen during PIFF 43
Directed by Ivete Lucas & Patrick Bresnan
United States • 2019 • 110 mins.
Following last year’s exceptional short documentary Skip Day (a PIFF42 selection), with Pahokee up-and-coming filmmakers Lucas and Bresnan fashion a detailed, engaging portrait of four high school seniors in the rural Florida Everglades. A nuanced portrait of the many pressures faced by youth in contemporary America, the film also takes ample time to show us joy, from sporting events to school dances and beauty contests, revealing a complex community saturated with solidarity and deep insecurity about the future. The filmmakers thoughtfully observe the community, refusing to editorialize, but rather, allowing the lives lived— replete with happiness, sorrow, confidence, and anxiety—to shape their work. Pahokee amplifies the realities of youthful experience and gives us an unforgettable portrait on the cusp of a new decade.

Marona’s Fantastic Tale
This film was originally slated to screen during PIFF 43
Directed by Anca Damian
France/Romania/Belgium | 2019 | 92 mins.
A GKids release
This emotional, shape-shifting animated film follows Marona, an extremely cute dog who recounts her life, how she related to the world around her, and the humans she loved.

The Dark Divide
Directed by Tom Putnam
United States | 2020 | 92 mins.
Based on the story of renowned butterfly expert Robert Pyle (David Cross) who embarked on a life-changing trek through one of America’s most important unprotected wildlands in the summer of 1995.

Where the House Was
Directed by Ryan Adams
United States | 2019 | 58 mins.
The Hugo House in Seattle was a Victorian house, turned theater, turned café, and finally, an artist residency that was a haven for writers, poets, and artists. Like in other cities, urban renewal and gentrification came for the house, to make way for mixed-use apartments, but not before co-founder Frances McCue captured what made this such a special place in the Seattle fabric. What follows is the history of not only the house, but the house’s namesake: a working-class Seattle poet whose unique style of “triggering town” is still influencing a generation of writers. Told through archival footage, recordings, animations, and a bold last hurrah, Where the House Was is a loving nod to the historical importance of places that act as conduits for creativity—and the very breath that makes urban spaces so unique.

PIFF 2.0 NEW WAYS OF SEEING WATCH LIST

These films were originally slated to screen during PIFF 43 and are now available on VOD.

Children of the Sea – Available on Netflix
Directed by Ayumu Watanabe
Japan • 2019 • 120 mins.
in Japanese with English subtitles

After being kicked out of her summer camp, Ruka staves off boredom by following a mysterious pull to explore her parents’ workplace: the local aquarium. There she encounters two strange boys—Umi and Sora—who were raised by dugongs, and thus have a bewildering connection to the sea. Together the three go on a stunningly epic, world-changing adventure as the sea creatures around them begin behaving very oddly in response to a bizarre, never-before-heard song. Contemplative, atmospheric, and breathtaking, this animated adaptation invites a curious examination of the mysteries surrounding humanity’s relation to the sea and nature. A GKids release.

Bacurau – Available on Amazon Prime
Directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho & Juliano Dornelles
Brazil/France • 2019 • 131 mins.
in Portuguese with English subtitles

The fictional Brazilian village of Bacurau—although, in reality, there are many like it—is the entrancing setting for this near-future dystopian film. The village matriarch’s funeral jumpstarts the action, but when the townsfolk discover that Bacurau has literally been wiped off the map and that there are strange mercenaries (led by Udo Kier) descending on their homes, the diverse cast of neighbors, family, and friends must band together to protect what’s theirs—at any cost. Realized in a truly unpredictable cinematic style that infuses all manners of genre convention (while constantly breaking the rules), Bacurau is one of the year’s most thrilling works; an engrossing portrait of a modest place and way of life besieged by bloodthirsty external forces. Content warning: graphic violence. A Kino Lorber release.

PIFF 2.0 TALKS

The Future of Cinema – A conversation between Amy Dotson, the Northwest Film Center’s Director and Curator, Film & New Media, and Rajendra Roy, The Museum of Modern Art’s Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film.

Place As Practice – A virtual ZOOM chat with author and screenwriter Jonathan Raymond (Wendy & Lucy, First Cow) as he discusses the role of place in defining and inspiring the story.

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