Manzanita Film Series will screen PDX Short Docs on Friday, Sep. 27 at 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Hoffman Center of the Arts in Manzanita. Doors open at 7 p.m. and admission is $5.
By Hillary Dorsey
The PDX Short Docs is a set of 16 short documentaries produced by Oregon independent filmmakers. The program was curated by Todd Baize Productions of Portland and first shown there in 2019. The program is 89 minutes. Film selections must feature a story from the Portland area, be produced by local filmmakers, or both. The two-hour screenings are followed by Q&A sessions with the filmmakers, where the art of documentary filmmaking and the issues facing Portland are discussed.
Screening the PDX Short Docs program at the Hoffman Center started when Baize was assembling a new set of documentaries for a showing at the Clinton Theater in Portland. Baize had already done a set in April of this year. Dave Dillon, Film Program Lead at the Hoffman Center, approached Baize about showing the April set at the Hoffman Center and Baize agreed.
“I have the films ready to go,” Dillon said. “I had him drop two of the films because we already showed them. ‘Henry’s Hair’ and ‘Rose’s Tree.’ The rest will be brand new to us.”
Baize plans to attend and discuss the films with the audience, which is always popular with those who attend, Dillon said. The audience likes to talk over what works and doesn’t about a film. Dillon gets into academic discussions about the film.
The Manzanita Film Series, going on at the Hoffman Center for the Arts since 2009, screens feature and short films, narrative, documentary, or experimental, monthly. In the past few years, the Series has emphasized films made in, by, and/or about the Pacific Northwest. Dillon finds them through various film organizations in Oregon, such as the NW Film Center, NW Documentary, Bend Film Festival, Todd Baize Productions, and others.
“Occasionally we run international short films,” Dillon said. “We get those through the Wandering Reel Film Festival. Sometimes we bring in films with particular connection to the north Oregon Coast.”
One of these films was last December’s “Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin.” Le Guin did a lot of her writing in Cannon Beach, Dillon said. That screening brought together writers, people to appreciate her works in particular, and film buffs in general.
“Sometimes I get them by contacting the directors themselves,” Dillon said of acquiring films. “Several have had their works shown here.”
The films to be shown are: “Sandor’s Oregon Trail” by Sandor Lau, which is about a local writer and filmmaker who walk from Missouri to Oregon in the footsteps of the pioneers and the moccasins of native people.
“Lucky Lou” by Maria Dingman, about Lucky Lou enjoying an evening of Disabled American Veterans Bingo.
“Nicki Brown Clown” and “Natasha’s Voice” by Zach Putnam. “Nicki Brown Clown” is about a clown with a purpose who advocates for Portland’s displaced black community and addresses racism “in a different kind of way.” “Natasha’s Voice” is about Natasha, who had a traumatic brain injury that left her nonverbal as a baby. Doctor’s said that she might never learn to communicate. Now, at 29, she uses various forms of Assistive Technology to lead an active social life.
“The Ibrahim Brothers” by Julia Reihs is about brothers who immigrated from Africa and are able to pursue their love of sports in their new home in Jefferson, Oregon.
“Nobody’s Trash”, “Voices From the Villages”, and “Hairapy” by Outside the Frame. “Nobody’s Trash,” is a film reminding us that houseless people aren’t trash. “Voices From the Villages” shows the transition from sleeping outside, to tiny house villages, to renting an apartment. “Hairapy” is about a young man who recounts his troubled relationship with his mother and her recent death while getting a haircut for an upcoming interview.
“Headwaters Farm Incubator” by Chelsea White-Brainard is about a looming crisis in agriculture; current farmers are nearing retirement and daunting barriers hinder even the most skilled and prepared beginning farmers. The Headwaters Incubator Program of the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District offers an innovative approach to lowering those barriers and getting new stewards on the land.
“Woodblock Chocolate” by Todd Baize, shows the entire chocolate-making process at a local chocolate manufactory summed up in 60 seconds.
“Big Ben Donuts” by Jeff Colle, tells the story of Sami Hariri, who immigrated to the United States from Lebanon in 2014 to help his son, Mo, open Big Ben Donuts in Milwaukie, Oregon.
“Aerial Reel” and “Living With Wildfire: An Oregon Story” by Uncage the Soul Productions. “Aerial Reel” shows beautiful aerial shots of Portland and beyond. “Living With Wildfire: An Oregon Story”, shows how wildfire is one of the most important influential agents to the overall health of a forest.
“Niqi” by Bryan Nelson, is the story of a transgender woman with a passion and talent for ballet.
“Just Ollie” by Lathen Gorbett, tells the story of Ollie, who doesn’t let his disability get in the way of being a normal kid.
“Paradise Found: Reckoning with a Congested Gorge” by Ben Mitchell, is an informative documentary about recreation congestion in the Columbia River Gorge.