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Arts | local | Oregon Lens

Oregon Lens 2013 Features Powerful & Personal Work From Local Filmmakers

The award-winning short documentary Walking Tributaries: The McKenzie River and its People is one of the films featured in OPB's Oregon Lens series. University of Oregon students Leilani Rapaport, Dillon Pilorget and Jasmine Vasquez made the film about people trying to preserve the McKenzie River.

The award-winning short documentary Walking Tributaries: The McKenzie River and its People is one of the films featured in OPB’s Oregon Lens series. University of Oregon students Leilani Rapaport, Dillon Pilorget and Jasmine Vasquez made the film about people trying to preserve the McKenzie River.

Courtesy of Leilani Rapaport, Dillon Pilorget and Jasmine Vasquez

The lineup for this year’s Oregon Lens series includes films ranging from a graphic novel to a documentary on an Elvis impersonator. Now in its 15th year, the annual series created by Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Steve Amen provides a chance for local, independent filmmakers to showcase their work.

“Portland is known for its independent producer community — it’s one of the best in the country,” says Amen, who is the series’ host and executive producer, “so I tend now to work with the younger filmmakers who are really just starting out and help get them a little bit more noticed.”

Among the work is a collection of films on the theme of “Keeping Portland Weird,” such as naked bike riders, along with documentaries that profile a cross-dresser, a ballet dancer and a Christian metal band. Not all of the films are so lighthearted, though. One is about a boy with Down syndrome seeking to understand himself. Another tells the story of a troubled elderly couple who decide to take their own lives.

“Every year is different,” Amen says. “The stuff we get in is as diverse as the filmmakers themselves.”

The series also includes shorts by acclaimed filmmakers, such as Ian McCluskey’s piece on the Portland World Naked Bike Ride and music videos by Daniel Fickle, Ben Fee and Pete Lee. Also, in a first for the series, films made by children are part of the lineup. The shorts from the Buckman Film Academy feature stop-motion animation created by elementary school students.

“Is it a bit crude? Yeah,” Amen says of the children’s work, “but I’m amazed at how creative they already are. It shows how this medium is so great.”

Oregon Lens airs August 26-30 at 10 p.m. on OPB TV.

Oregon Lens: 2013

August 26 at 10 p.m.

Courtesy of Ben Eastman and Tyler Bertram

Monday Funday
An action-adventure short documentary. Every Monday the Colonel Summers Park in Portland becomes a place where people can let go of their inhibitions and channel their inner child to have a good ol’ fashioned time. By Ben Eastman and Tyler Bertram

The Woodstock Mystery Hole
Barron is one of the sweetest, oddest, most fun people you’ll ever meet. Join us as we document a tour of his homemade roadside attraction. Produced by Summer Hatfield and Emily Yurek

Bare As You Dare: Portland’s World Naked Bike Ride
Produced, shot and edited by an all-volunteer team led by Ian McCluskey, this lighthearted documentary takes viewers along on the world’s largest naked bike ride. Produced by Ian McCluskey

Courtesy of Christoff Molesworth and Travis D. Brown

This film is the brainchild of Frogman PDX, a self-proclaimed anti-hero of weird town. He wanted to honor “Working” Kirk Reeves, a Portland street performer that passed on. Frogman developed the production by reaching out to the street performers and locals he enjoys and by pulling from past collaborations with Christoff Molesworth, the director/editor, and Travis D. Brown, the cinematographer. Produced by Christoff Molesworth and Travis D. Brown

Frogman Meets Scooby-Doo Teaser
Also produced by Christoff Molesworth, this short teaser for a 20-minute film includes a Claymation Scooby made by Greg Boswell. Produced by Christoff Molesworth

August 27 at 10 p.m.

While You Were Out
Noah Lambie follows a man’s reluctant retrieval of memories from trying times of violence, drugs and loneliness. The film uses a series of flipbooks to reveal an array of experiences and to explore the transitions between them. Produced by Noah Lambie    

Courtesy of Daniel Fickle

“A House A Home” By Alialujah Choir & Portland Cello Project
This is the official music video for the Alialujah Choir’s song “A House, A Home.” Produced by Daniel Fickle


Dear Pluto, You Will Always Be A Planet In My Solar System
This tribute to everyone’s favorite planetoid is from the poem “Pizza” by Manhattan slam poet Taylor Mali, who narrates the film. “Dear Pluto” blends three animation techniques to inspect Pluto’s shifting role in the solar system. Produced by Joanna Priestley

Buckman Film Academy Videos (Assorted)
This group of videos is from the Buckman Film Academy, a school started by filmmaker Sarah Nagy to share her passion for film, writing and art with children. Produced by Sarah Nagy and students

Delicate Cycle
The Uncluded is the genre-crossing duo comprised of Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson. This is one of their favorite videos from the album “Delicate Cycle.” Produced by Ben Fee and Pete Lee

Corin Tucker Band – Neskowin
This music video is a collaboration between Portland filmmaker/director Alicia Rose and Corin Lisa Tucker, a singer and guitarist best known for her work with the rock band Sleater-Kinney. In Tucker’s band’s video for its single “Neskowin,” we follow the story of two teenage girls in the late ’70s as they fake their way out of a family vacation, hitchhike to the big city, start some fights and go to an X-Ray Spex show. Produced by Alicia Rose

The Bus
Written and directed by Howard Mitchell, “The Bus” is about people from different walks of life making a special connection while in transit. It was filmed on location in Seattle and Portland. Produced by Howard Mitchell

 August 28 at 10 p.m.

Football Is Family, We Are St. Paul
A wonderful look at the culture of high school football in St. Paul by University of Oregon student Erik Bender. Produced by Erik Bender

Across The Goal - UO Hockey
You don’t have to be a hardcore sports fan to enjoy Erik Bender’s stories. This next piece also deals with sports and the commitment it takes to play well.  Produced by Erik Bender

Up In Smoke
A timely profile given all the news lately about fighting forest fires. This short profiles a group of smokejumpers in Redmond, Oregon. Produced by Erik Bender, Tommy Pittenger and Austin Taylor          

Courtesy of by Ariane Kunze

Fake It Until You Make It
Originally a fun character profile about an Elvis impersonator, the filmmaker realized there was more to this story than impersonation. It became a touching story about a man who found emotional relief from the throes of life by transforming himself into the king of rock ’n’ roll. Produced by Ariane Kunze

Walking Tributaries: The McKenzie River And Its People
This award-winning short documentary is the story of people who have stood together to learn about this great resource and work toward preserving the river. Produced by University of Oregon students Leilani Rapaport, Dillon Pilorget and Jasmine Vasquez

We Refuse To Be Enemies
This Emmy Award-winning film details the life of a Palestinian-born activist who has dedicated his life to educating Eugene residents on the Arab-Israeli conflict and fostering peace among people of different backgrounds. Produced by David Zupan and Summer Luu

Courtesy of Iris Bull and Erik Bender

The Discipline Of Dance
This short documentary features Geoffrey Bergold, who was two years into a traditional college education when he discovered he had a love for ballet. He now dances across the Pacific Northwest for the Eugene Ballet Company. Produced by Nora Alvarez, Iris Bull, Sasha Riddle and Erik Bender       

Hardcore Ministry
At first glance, Portland-based band “Fallstar” may seem like any other hardcore band. But halfway through each show, the perspective changes. Produced by Alando Ballantyne, Erik Bender, Chris Drachkovich and Tommy Pittenger               

This originally began as a story about gender discrimination but quickly transformed into a playful short about the drag community told through performer Peter Asio. Produced by Ariane Kunze and Emily Jensen

August 29, 2013

Stinky Cheese
A visually exciting short documentary on slack lining in Central Oregon. Produced by Corey McCarthy

Rose & George
A poetic documentation of the unexpected love story between an odd couple who runs a farm on Vashon Island. Living in a graffiti-littered abandoned farmhouse with pigs roaming the grounds, they bond over food, hard labor and their “insatiable passion for life.” Produced by Maria Allred

A unique combination of film and animation: a story in drawings of an artist and model. “Ghost,” by Portland painter and filmmaker Mark Andres, was made as a slideshow to play in a digital photo frame for a colleague. Produced by Mark Andres         

Courtesy of Orland Nutt

Dear Peter, Woodchips I & II
These two video letters are a continuation of 10 years of correspondence between the filmmaker Orland Nutt and his childhood friend Peter. They have exchanged countless letters, packages and emails over the years that attempt to describe to each other their way of experiencing daily life. Produced by Orland Nutt

Courtesy of David Saiget

Ghost Fish Of The Wimahl
David Saiget is a photographer/videographer who has photographed and studied salmon and trout for more than 20 years while working as a fisheries biologist. As you will see in this video, he has always felt that the beauty of salmon and steelhead is best portrayed when they are in their native habitats displaying natural behavior. Produced by David Saiget

Mossgrove/Bed Of Moss
In the past decade this local artist and filmmaker has made 18 short films ranging from 3-D experimental animations to live action nature, music videos and surreal time-lapse worlds. Here is his two-part film about slugs and moss. Produced by Kurtis Hough

Kurtis Hough also traveled to Alaska to make a film about the melting of the glacier Cryosphere. Produced by Kurtis Hough

How To Lose $2,400 In 24 Seconds
While making a video celebrating the 40th anniversary for the Northwest Film Center, Kurtis Hough ran into a bit of a problem with his expensive camera. Produced by Kurtis Hough

August 30 at 10 p.m.

Heart Over Body: Zack Childers Story
This video, by director Jared Corey, is a portrait of his friend Zack Childers. Zack is an athlete with cerebral palsy. Doctors told him at a young age that he would never walk without a walker. Since then, Zack’s determination to prove people wrong has formed the person and athlete he is today. Produced by Jared Corey

Courtesy of Ariane Kunze

Bowling For Life
Filmmaker Ariane Kunze tells us that when she met Jack Rothwell and learned about his outlook on life, she was moved. She began spending time with Jack at the bowling alley and realized that being on the senior bowling league was more about camaraderie and the experience than it was about bowling. Produced by Ariane Kunze

Sasquatch Vs. Superman
This short explores the “difference” of Down syndrome. When Clark was born 25 years ago, the doctor told his parents that he could be institutionalized and they would never have to see him again. They didn’t agree. Ultimately, this film is a celebration of the difference that Clark seeks to understand through his fascination with two eternal outsiders, Sasquatch and Superman. Produced by Perrin Kerns

Looking For Mom In Dad’s Closet
This very personal documentary investigates the ambiguities of a father’s secret life. Through personal narrative and interviews with her mother, the filmmaker Perrin Kerns pieces together an understanding of her father’s journey in an era of oppression. Produced by Perrin Kerns

My Little Corner Of The World
This inspiring documentary introduces us to Sam Roloff, a man who painted to escape the boredom of life in the hospital as a child. Produced by Josh Leake

Courtesy of Adam Brewer

The Gap
Based on a true story, this short by Joel Rene Cano and Adam Brewer is about an elderly couple who suffers from declining health and finances. As their medical and financial situation worsens, they become hopeless and resort to drastic measures to rectify their situation. Produced by Adam Brewer

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