Oregon Lens is celebrating its 14th year on Oregon Public Broadcasting. This year’s series will air August 20-24 at 10 pm on OPB TV. The program takes the pulse of the Oregon independent film community, highlighting cinematic works of students as well as seasoned professionals.
Although Oregon Lens is only a little more than a decade old, the independent filmmaking landscape has fundamentally changed since the series first premiered. And the proliferation of HD cameras and intuitive editing software has vitalized Oregon Lens.
“Submissions for the show have grown every year,” says executive producer and host Steve Amen. With more than 60 entries, Amen says new technology and Portland’s burgeoning independent film community has allowed the series to grow and improve.
“It has made it easier and tougher,” explains Amen. “It’s easier to find good selections, and tougher because there’s so much good work out there!”
Oregon Lens 2012
New technology has allowed Oregon filmmakers to express ideas with low overhead. And with these tools, more films are being made, yet the soul of the show remains unchanged.
“Oregon Lens is a win-win program,” says Amen. “OPB gets to showcase some great films and documentaries that most people would never get a chance to see otherwise. And the independent filmmakers get to share their vision with a larger audience.”
Viewers this seasons will see Oregon’s natural glory through electrifying time-lapse cinematography. They will battle Batman in campy fashion, spin fire on top of rooftops, break the water with University of Oregon’s crew team and meet a beetle on the brink of extinction.
In its 14th year, Amen is proud to say, Oregon Lens has never been better.
August 20 at 10 pm
(This episode will be rebroadcast on August 22 at 3 am)
Treeverse — Brian French and Will Koomjian embark on an unparalleled adventure as they attempt a pioneering effort to navigate a 1-kilometer transect through the forest canopy over five days. Set within a visually spectacular oak savanna landscape in Northwest Oregon, this film is primed to engage audiences with stunning cinematography and an exhilarating adventure story. Produced by John Waller. Uncage the Soul Productions.
OFG’s Making of Treeverse — A behind-the-scenes look at everything that went into making Treeverse. Oregon Public Broadcasting
Finding Oregon — A compilation of six months of timelapse photography across the state of Oregon, punctuated by a 1600-mile road trip. They filmed the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, the Southwestern Coast, the Alvord Desert, Leslie Gulch, Blue Mountains, Crater Lake, Eagle Cap Wilderness, Deschutes River, and more, touching all four corners of the state. Ben Canales, John Waller, Steve Engman, Blake Johnson. Uncage the Soul Productions.
Frogman vs. Batman — Frogman is an original graphic character whose home is Weird-Town. In this episode he gets to meet his hero, but it doesn’t turn out well. Produced by Lovely Numb and The Signal Productions
Frogman vs. Batman Pt II: Frogman’s Revenge — Frogman is back and he’s hopping mad. See him take out his anger on the caped crusader. Produced by Lovely Numb and The Signal Productions .
August 21 at 10 pm
(This episode will be rebroadcast on August 23 at 3 am)
House by the Side of the Road — A film based on the writings of Mrs. L.A. Abbott and her experience living on her family’s farm in Morrison, Illinois. The film discusses the Abbott family from its origin in 1847, the move of settlers west, the Underground Railroad, and the changes that would evolve on the farm as a microcosm of developments in agriculture throughout the country. Produced by Dan Schaefer. Sound Design: Chris Barber. Music: Thomas Barber.
eden — A reworking of the Adam and Eve story set in the future. Part of the Origin Series, an exploration of world myths and religions told through genre films. This is an ongoing journey into the histories of the human dream. Written and directed by Leif Peterson. Director of Photography: Jon Beanlands. Original Score: Ethan Rose
No Separation — Cathy Zheutlin and Wendy Russell explore the questions “What does spirit mean to you?” and “How do you bring spirit into work?” They asked a variety of people who work regular jobs what spirituality means to them. These are people who could be cutting your hair or working next to you in your office cubicle.
August 22 at 10 pm Student Night
This night is dedicated to Oregon’s new crop of talented young filmmakers. They may have been students when they produced these stories, but the results are primetime ready.
(This episode will be rebroadcast on August 24 at 3 am)
The Amazing Nolanders — A story about an amazing family from Eugene that homeschools their kids so they can travel the West Coast performing as a family circus. Produced by Amy Carr, Enya Chiu, Lauren Karell
Breaking the Sound Barrier — An intimate profile of a runner, a mother and a wife, who just happens to be profoundly deaf. This short documentary covers the life of Heidi Corce who embraced her deafness and worked harder to become the outstanding mother, teacher and advocate she is today. Produced by Ariane Kunze, Anna Helland, Rachel Furman
Crew Grit — This is a documentary about the University of Oregon’s club crew team — they live, eat and breathe crew. It’s a team sport unlike any other. There are no stars, no more important player. Everyone works together or the whole team suffers. Produced by Emma Salo, Shannon August, Katy Pflaum, Deric Shults
An Elephant Never Forgets — A look at Packy, the first elephant born in the Western Hemisphere in 44 years, and the people who loved him.
The Last Word — A look at efforts by one Native American tribe to preserve and revitalize their language. Produced by Adam Shore, Katie McKinley, Michael Heath
The Gymnasium of the Mind — A documentary that follows young chess players competing around the state. Produced by John Hankemeier and Bonnie Harris. Evangeline LaRoque - Editor/Gaffer/Camera
August 23 at 10 pm
(This episode will be rebroadcast on August 25 at 3 am)
Ringmaster — An artistic short featuring Noah Mickens and the Wanderlust Circus, an underground circus from Portland Oregon. Produced by Maria Allred
Guerilla Fire — A visual look at extreme guerilla fire dancing in Portland. And yes, she really is on top of the ledge of a 12-story building. Produced by Maria Allred
#Revolution — An exploration of how the growth of social media sites — like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook — have become tools for protest and revolutionary change in the U.S. and abroad. Produced by Deborah Bloom
Meet the Beetle — The Salt Creek Tiger Beetle may be extinct by the time you’re reading this. With a few hundred individuals left (all within the city limits of Lincoln, Nebraska), Meet the Beetle follows the trials and tribulations of this tiny insect that’s riled up a community. Injected with surprising musical sequences, this documentary explores the importance of one almost-extinct beetle and its place in the world. Produced by Boaz Frankel
August 24 at 10 pm
(This episode will be rebroadcast on August 26 at 3 am)
Fisher Poets — Fisher Poets is the story of a unique breed of commercial fishermen who spin tall tales and weave true stories of life at sea through vivid and powerful poetry. Discover what truly inspires this colorful community on the brink of extinction. Produced by Jennifer Brett Winston. Editor: Lisa M. Jones. Music: Phillip Roebuck
Device — An Asian girl disappears mysteriously while on a road-trip through the Southwest, leaving her middle-aged admirer wandering alone. In this hybrid documentary, the Oregon filmmaker Lawrence Johnson (Stuff, Three Possible Scenes) follows a middle-aged Japanese man (Jun Hasegawa) and his youthful female student (Kaori Shimizu) on an actual trip through the Southwest.