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Portland Documentary and eXperimental Film Festival Highlights

The Sixth Annual Portland Documentary and eXperimental Film Festival (PDX Fest for short!) will take place at the historic Hollywood Theatre April 25-29, 2007 (that's just two weeks away!). Presented by Peripheral Produce, this year's fest promises a diverse selection of provocative, artistic, and firmly uncompromising films from around the globe. The full festival schedule is now up and running at www.peripheralproduce.com

Festival Highlights include:

OPENING NIGHT!
Charged in the Name of Terror: Portraits of Contemporary Artists
Recently premiered at Sundance, these amazing shorts bring us face to face with the intersections of art and politics in our present age. In this program curated by artist and activist Paul Chan, a select group of artists present intimate video portraits of individual political activists who have been sentenced to jail by the US government. Subjects include Lynne Stewart, Steve Kurtz, Mohammed Yousry, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly, and Frida Berrigan, the first activist to protest against Guantanamo Bay at Guantanamo Bay. Preceded by new shorts from Vanessa Renwick and Jem Cohen.

The 2007 Peripheral Produce Invitational
The Peripheral Produce Invitational (dubbed the 'World Championship of Experimental Cinema') will once again pit filmmakers from Portland and beyond against each other in a rock-em-sock-em, trash talkin' competitive film showdown. In an amazing upset, two-time champ Vladimir and her 400 hand-made view-masters were dethroned last year by former Portlander Julie Orser. This year's Invitational promises a new batch of rabid mad film scientists who hope to take the trophy for themselves. Who will be the new Champion of Experimental Cinema? Will the Invitational Trophy return to Portland's hands? With all the filmmakers in attendance and the audience deciding who wins, who knows what will happen in this battle-royale of experimental film.

Strange Culture by Lynn Hershman Leeson
One of the most talked about documentaries at Sundance this year, Strange Culture is an exceptionally unconventional documentary about artist and professor Steve Kurtz, who was held as a suspected terrorist by the U.S. government after "suspicious" art supplies were found in his home. Because Kurtz cannot legally talk about the case, Leeson enlists actors, including Tilda Swinton, Thomas Jay Ryan, and Peter Coyote, to interpret the story. Through dramatic reenactment, news footage, animation, testimonials, and footage of Kurtz himself, Leeson has created a sophisticated documentary about post-9/11 paranoia and the risks artists face when their work questions government policies.

CLOSING NIGHT!
Helvetica: a Documentary Film by Gary Hustwit
Celebrating the 50th birthday of the ubiquitous typeface, Helvetica is an independent documentary about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives. Helvetica encompasses the worlds of design, advertising, psychology, and communication, and invites us to take a second look at the thousands of words we see every day. Filmmaker Gary Hustwit will be in attendance!

Portland Premieres and Visiting Artists
PDX Fest is thrilled to play host to a number of amazing artists who will be making the trip to Portland for the festival. Visitors include: Lynne Sachs will pop in from her Brooklyn digs to screen her beautiful documentary, States of UnBelonging, as well as present a special festival workshop at the Northwest Film Center. The masterminds behind Seattle record and DVD label, Sublime Frequencies, will be roaming the grounds, as they present two brand-spanking new videos from their archives featuring some of the most amazing African and Asian musicians you have never heard – until now. Cinemad creator Mike Plante will be presenting selections from his ongoing project Lunchfilms, in which an ever growing list of filmmakers are asked to create a film in exchange for lunch. Included in this program will be work from Jem Cohen, James Benning and Nina Menkes , as well as free cupcakes from Saint Cupcake! Filmmaker Ben Russell will be presenting a mind-blowing selection of contemporary 16mm psychedelia from the DIY arts community of Providence, RI, as well as competing in the Invitational. And to our delight, PDX regular David Gatten has whipped up a super special program of film and poetry, The Screen Grammar Cinema & Poetry Experiment, pairing the works of both local and national filmmakers and poets. And many more!

As always, PDX Fest will also feature work from a bevy of local artists, including last year's PDX Fest/Gearhead Grip Local Filmmaker's Grant recipients Grace Carter and Holly Andres, who will premiere their latest cinematic creation, Nora !

Offsite Events
Stephen Slappe and Mack McFarland have once again organized our satellite installation exhibit that will be open to the public throughout the duration of the festival. This year's exhibit, Retinal Reverb will be held in the cavernous confines of AudioCinema and feature installation, sculpture, and single channel works by artists from across the country (and our own backyard!) including hooliganship, Dan Gilsdorf, Vanessa Renwick , Emily Bulfin and Tahni Holt.

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Chatelin Bruno
(Filmfestivals.com)

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