Oregon Lens showcases some of the best independent films in the Pacific Northwest.

Oregon Lens showcases some of the best independent films in the Pacific Northwest.

Courtesy of Jourdain May

For 18 seasons Oregon Lens has showcased the talent and diversity of the Northwest’s independent filmmakers, and this year is no exception. Through their eyes, we explore the coffee farms of El Salvador, the rivers of Colorado and the wonders of our own backyard. We learn what it takes to be a carpenter, a bush pilot or a ballerina. We race motorcycles, ride trains and hike through the desert. And yes, we even see a Frogman team up with the Ghostbusters.  

Here’s the lineup of this year’s films:

Behind the scenes with The Program, a digital agency in Portland.

Behind the scenes with The Program, a digital agency in Portland.

Courtesy of Jourdain May

Monday, August 22  

“Voyagers Without Trace,” follows the route of the first kayakers to attempt the mighty Green and Colorado rivers in 1938. What inspired a French explorer, his wife and his best friend to travel halfway around the world on this journey? Using gorgeous archival footage and ultimately traversing the route himself, Director Ian McCluskey weaves personal and national history together to tell the tale.  

“The Program,” is a digital agency in Portland. In a series of short films, they tell the stories of a photographer and a bush pilot. Though their jobs are very different, they’re both driven by a love of adventure and a passion for what they do.

The hands of America's only all-women sidecar road racing team, featured in The Monkey and Her Driver

The hands of America’s only all-women sidecar road racing team, featured in The Monkey and Her Driver

Courtesy of Ned Thanhouser

Tuesday, August 23  

“The Monkey and Her Driver,” is the story of Kendra and Betty, America’s only all-women sidecar road racing team. In their bulky sidecar “Dixie,” they compete for glory in the 2015 SRA-West season. Directed by Ned Thanhouser.      

“Empire Builder” By Laura Gibson is a music video on the move. opbmusic rode the rails with Portland singer-songwriter Laura Gibson as she performed “Empire Builder,” her song named for the Amtrak route that runs from Portland to Chicago. Directed by Dave Christensen.  

“Niqi,” is a transgender ballet dancer who expresses herself through movement. Always a dancer, Niqi fell in love with the ballet for its blend of grace and strength. Directed by Bryan Nelson.  

“Sisters of the Road,” is a nonprofit café that fights homelessness with every meal.  Produced by One Hundred Seconds, this film highlights the work Sisters of the Road have been doing with Portland’s homeless population since 1979.  

“Bottle Neck,” is an animated piece that combines abstract shapes and interlocking patterns with lively music. Directed, produced and animated by Joanna Priestley.  

“Night Flight” and “Against the Tide,” are two short animations by Shelley Jordon. One depicts nighttime activities in the woods, and the other the struggle of an uninsured family member in a medical crisis.  

“Dead Mall,” an experimental film by Dustin Morrow, explores the spaces left behind when a shopping mall closes down. In doing so, it interrogates American consumerism and our ever-changing economy.  

“Movie Night,” tells the funny story of a horror movie gone wrong. What happens when a killer sneaks into a house during a party, only to find another killer has gotten there first? Directed by Ian Langenhuysen.

A scene from Book of Matches

A scene from Book of Matches

Courtesy of Matthew Ross

Wednesday, August 24  

“Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma,” follows a team of climbers to the top of the tallest free-standing mountain in the world: Mount Kilimanjaro. The team consists of patients, doctors and loved ones coming together to raise money and awareness of myeloma, an incurable blood cancer. Together they face their fears and inspire each other to live life to the fullest. Produced by Uncage the Soul.  

“Life on Hold,” tells the story of Kyle, a young man with the rare genetic disorder Alport Syndrome which has caused him severe hearing loss and kidney failure. As he gets dialysis and hopes for a transplant, Kyle reflects on his life and the people he loves. Directed by Casey Mahl.  

“Book of Matches,” starts with a simple but gripping premise: Upon his deathbed, the narrator is shown 10 moments from his life. The 10 scenes that follow are set to an original score created by Kyle Morton. Directed by Matthew Ross.  

“Lights Fade,” is the story of a successful young man who, through the course of one night, comes to realize what is most important to him. Directed by Dylan Wainwright.  

“Oregon Nights,” uses timelapse photography to showcase the beauty of Oregon after the sun goes down each night. Filmmaker Ian Langenhuysen traveled all over the state to capture these breathtaking images.  

“The Cycle Starts and Stops With You,” is a visual interpretation of domestic violence and the toll it takes on families. Directed by Chris Buchal.  

Sista in the Brotherhood follows Laneice, an apprentice carpenter, on her first day on the job in a male-dominated workplace.

Sista in the Brotherhood follows Laneice, an apprentice carpenter, on her first day on the job in a male-dominated workplace.

Courtesy of Dawn Jones Redstone

Thursday, August 25  

“Sista in the Brotherhood,” depicts a day in the life of a black apprentice carpenter as she struggles to prove herself in a male-dominated workplace. Inspired by real events, the film shows what happens when marginalized workers are forced to choose between taking a stand or keeping their jobs. Directed by Dawn Jones Redstone.  

“Sagebrush Sisters,” follows three hikers, ages 65 to 80, through the Greater Hart-Shelton Region on the Oregon-Nevada border. Many wild species of plants and animals call this desert area home, and these women want to keep it that way. Directed by Michelle Alvarado.  

“From Salem to the Salon,” is the story of an Oregon woman who fought the law, specifically the state law against providing natural hair styling without a license, and won. Amber Starks wanted to donate her hair-braiding skills to foster care children and ended up in Salem, working to change the system. Directed by Christian Henry.  

“Menendez Family Coffee Farms,” travels to El Salvador to document the coffee farming and roasting process first hand. The coffee we drink in Oregon takes a long journey to get here, and this film shows us where it all starts. Produced by the NW Collective.  

“Valhalla,” is a documentary from Uncage the Soul about a pristine slot canyon in the Oregon wilderness. As part of the eponymous Oregon Field Guide special, the filmmakers trekked into a remote and sometimes dangerous location to uncover the beauty hidden there.  

“Lay Me Down,” by Dirty Revival is a music video for an up-and-coming Portland band. The singer/songwriter of the band said the song was personal, and she wanted to discuss the experiences of the working poor and many people have to worry about every dollar. Directed by Isaac King.  

“Seven Daffodils,” is a tribute to folk singer Alice Stuart. Filmmaker Kurtis Hough shot the footage near Stuart’s home in the Pacific Northwest, and even used her shoes in the process.

Backpacking Adventures explores the beauty of the Oregon wilderness.

Backpacking Adventures explores the beauty of the Oregon wilderness.

Courtesy of Seth Morrisey

Friday, August 26  

“The Sun’s Only Rival,” goes deep into the heart of Sunlan Lighting, an iconic store on Portland’s N. Mississippi Avenue. The owner and her family have owned the business for more than 20 years. With its colorful window displays and even more colorful characters, people now travel from all over the state to visit “the lightbulb lady.”  Directed by Lou S. Chain and Lisa Petersen.  

“Mill Creek,” documents the restoration project of Central Oregon’s Mill Creek and how it affects the residents and tribal members of Warm Springs. Produced by Wahoo Films.  

“Backpacking Adventure,” explores many of the beautiful wilderness areas in Oregon that are only accessible on foot.  Produced by Morrisey Video Production.  

“Oregon Coast Aerials,” offers a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of the rugged Oregon Coast. Produced by Morrisey Video Production.    

“Frogman Meets Ghostbusters,” is the latest adventure of Frogman, Portland’s unlikeliest superhero. In this installment he meets a team of Ghostbusters and accompanies them on their mission to defeat Slimer, overcoming (and causing) many obstacles along the way. Produced by Lovely Numb Productions.  

“Trailer Tracks,” by Lost Lander is part of opbmusic’s Road Sessions series, recorded at some of Oregon’s beautiful and unique State Parks. Lost Lander’s lead singer is a forester by trade, and says he gets inspiration to write songs by traveling around the state.