The 8th Annual Portland Film Festival, presented by Comcast NBCUniversal, announced awards from its 2019 program, which wrapped on Sunday, October 20. Princess of the Rowwas named Best Narrative Feature. It is director Max Carlson’s inspiring tale of a runaway foster child who will stop at nothing to get back to the only family she knows: her homeless, mentally ill veteran father who lives on the streets of LA’s skid row. Fire on the Hilltook home Best Documentary Feature. Director Brett Fallentine’s film paints a vivid portrait of the little-known urban cowboy community in South Central L.A. This genre-bending documentary combines the iconography of the American film western with South Central’s urban landscape to depict Los Angeles like it has never been seen before.
Gavin Michael Booth took the inaugural Best Director prize for his feature, Last Call, the gripping story of a wrong number with life-saving implications, shot in innovative split-screen and played out in real time. Best Short was awarded to Jane.Written, directed and produced by Kathryn Prescott (Skins), Jane is the story a young woman suffering from heroin addiction who receives an invite to her estranged 4-year-old daughter’s birthday party.
Audience Award Winners included: The First and the Last Time, an Austrian documentary about supermarket apprentices whose unusual training project is a performance of Romeo and Juliet; Ashes to Ashes, a documentary short about the only living survivor of a lynching; and Colour Code, a music video from prolific TV actress Maria Doyle Kennedy (Outlander, Downton Abbey) that places her real-life daughter inside a personal narrative about keeping her kids safe in a world where the color of their skin could be a trigger for sudden violence.
The Portland Film Festival created two new awards for 2019, Best New Director and Best Midnight Feature. Eugene, Ore.-born Tim True won the inaugural Best New Director prize for his feature, Here Awhile. Shot in Portland and tapped as the Festival’s Closing Night film, it’s the story of a terminally ill woman who returns to Oregon to reconnect with her estranged brother while simultaneously making the heart-wrenching choice to end her life under the Death with Dignity Act. Best Midnight Feature went to Crack House of the Dead, director Jason Toler’s retro genre romp about a group of misfits who hunker down in a crack house to survive an onslaught from rampaging zombies.
“We congratulate our winners, who set the bar for what can be accomplished with a story and a camera in 2019,” said Josh Leake, Portland Film Festival co-founder and executive director. “We are proud that these films represent a diverse set of perspectives, and that two of our thematic tracks — Portland and Veterans — were represented among the winners. We are now accepting submissions for the 2020 Portland Film Festival.”
“It is thought-provoking independent films like these that remind us of the importance of providing a platform for these voices to be heard,” said David Tashjian, Regional Vice-President of Comcast Oregon/SW Washington. “As the presenting sponsor of the Portland Film Festival, we salute all the filmmakers and thank the thousands of attendees at this year’s festival who showed their appreciation for these creative efforts.”
More than 120 independent films screened from October 14 – 20 at the Hi-Lo Hotel in downtown Portland for the 2019 edition of the Portland Film Festival. The event’s programming included films, workshops, educational panels, and parties throughout a six-and-a-half-day schedule designed to immerse attendees in all aspects of the filmmaking process.
2019 Portland Film Festival Awards summary
|Best Narrative Feature||Princess of the Row|
|Best Documentary Feature||Fire on the Hill|
|Best Director||Gavin Michael Booth, Last Call|
|Audience Award||The First and the Last Time|
|Audience Award||Ashes to Ashes|
|Audience Award||Colour Code|
|Best New Director||Here Awhile|
|Best Midnight Feature||Crack House of the Dead|