Tara Johnson-Medinger, Executive Director
[email protected]








Portland, Oregon – February 24, 2015 – The Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (a.k.a. POWFest) is pleased to announce the programming highlights of our upcoming festival scheduled to take place March 12-15, 2015 at The Hollywood Theatre.  Tickets $8-$10 individual / $40 festival pass for premium access to all festival activities.

In its 8th consecutive year, POWFest continues to be the only film festival in Portland exclusively placing a spotlight on women directors with a goal to eliminate the gender disparity that exists for women working in the film industry. Dedicated creating professional development and networking opportunities for women filmmakers of every discipline and skill level, each year, our festival seeks to showcase the work of women directors from around the globe while strengthening the community of women making films; encouraging the next generation of female filmmakers.

And we are mentoring that next generation!  POWFest and MetroEast Community Media partnered to host POWGirls 2015, a filmmaking workshop for girls 15-18 that encourages creativity, demonstrates the power of storytelling, and explores opportunities as future filmmakers – while becoming savvy in technology and media production.  Over the course of 30 hours, a group of 14 girls conceived, wrote, filmed and edited two films – GREAT EXPECTATIONS and WORDS OF WISDOM – both which will screen on Sunday, March 15 at 3pm at The Hollywood Theatre.

Participants hail from Portland area high schools:  Lincoln, Madison, Parkrose, Beaverton, La Salle, Silverton, Oregon Virtual Academy, home school, Early College High School and St. Mary’s. “POWFest has been devoted to offering a space for women filmmakers to connect and share their experiences and learn from each other. Now that we have successfully launched our youth program POWGirls, we are extending that reach to the next generation of women working in media. Beyond offering production and post-production skills, this program provides skill-building in leadership and self-expression by providing a safe environment for these young women to freely share their stories,” shared POWFest Executive Director, Tara Johnson-Medinger.

In addition to incorporating the voices of this next generation of young filmmakers into the festival, POWFest programmers once again have curated a compelling line up of thought-provoking, inspiring and entertaining films for 2015.  From local and international features and shorts, to narrative and documentary, and even the innovative and youthful, this year’s line up includes:  Short Film Blocks with themes like Quirky, Dark Tales, Animation & Experimental, AFI Directing Workshop for Women Showcase, Feel Good Documentaries and our Young Directors program – appealing to broad audiences with their humor, integrity, fun and societal themes.   A total of nearly 65 selections will screen over a period of 4 days.

As always, the schedule includes stimulating content to engage the audience through conversations with the over 45 directors in attendance; including local directors Heather Harlow, Lara Gallagher, Hope Alexander, Teresa Drilling and Janique Robillard – encouraging dialogue beyond the theater as well.

In addition to films, there will be several social events to network and participate in.  Purchasing an all-access pass to POWFest gives you the opportunity to see as many films you want during the festival without fumbling with individual tickets while saving money and showing your support. Festival pass includes access for early seating; admission to our Opening Night Reception, Meet The Directors Reception and Closing Night Reception all taking place at The Hollywood Theatre.

For a complete list of programming and schedule details, visit www.powfest.com.

Opening Night – Thursday, March 12th, 2015, 5 p.m., The Hollywood Theatre

Opening night kicks off with a reception sponsored by OMPA Portland Chapter and New Belgium Brewing at 5 p.m., and films at 6:30 p.m.  THE SISTERHOOD OF NIGHT, by director Caryn Waechter, is the first of the festival screenings, based on the short story by Pulitzer Prize-winner author Steven Milhausuer. Sisterhood is a story of friendship and loyalty set against the backdrop of a modern-day Salem witch trial. Shot on location in Kingston, NY, the film chronicles a group of girls who have slipped out of the world of social media into a mysterious world deep in the woods. The tale begins when Emily Parris exposes a secret society of teenage girls. Accusing them of committing sexually deviant acts, Emily’s allegations throw their small American town into the national media spotlight. The mystery deepens when each of the accused takes a vow of silence. What follows is a chronicle of three girls’ unique and provocative alternative to the loneliness of adolescence, revealing the tragedy and humor of teenage years changed forever by the Internet age.

Immediately before the feature will be special screening of short film, THE PUNISHING BUSINESS, by local director Heather Harlow and featuring legendary, local songstress Storm Large. It is an emotionally charged story about an unlikely friendship that emerges after a bizarre series of events between a developmentally disabled woman and her convict neighbor. While Ellen and Addie share many similarities, they are two outsiders, both looked down on by society, both with hardened exteriors, both know what it’s like to do harmful things without having intended harm, who are both struggling with their internal demons and consequently come to realize that through each other, their demons can perhaps hurt a little less.

At 9:30 p.m. the evening will continue with SHORTS I, a series of Quirky, mature themed short films, including LINES from actress and director, Amy Jo Johnson.

Friday, March 13th, 2015,  5 p.m., The Hollywood Theatre

  • Meet the Directors Reception (5 p.m.) – Sponsored by The Oregon Film Office and New Belgium Brewing Company. Free with festival pass or Mentor
  • MENTOR (6:30 p.m.) – In 2006 and 2010, Mentor, Ohio was selected as one of America’s Top 100 places to live, but over those five years five teenagers from this proud upper-class enclave–known for its safe streets and good schools–committed suicide. “Mentor” follows the families of two of these victims as they uncover a shocking story of bullying, online harassment, psychological torment, and death threats by students at Mentor High School. When the families decide to sue the school for the deaths of their children, it becomes clear that the real bullies are not the teens attending Mentor High, but the adults running it. Their demands for answers are met with shocking retaliation, shredded evidence, and the same willful denial their children encountered when they desperately plead for help.
  • SHORTS II (9 p.m.) – Dark Tales (mature themes) including UP ON THE ROOF as well as AMERICAN GLADIATORS by local director, Lara Gallagher.


Saturday, March 14th, 2015, 12 p.m., The Hollywood Theatre

  • SHORTS III (12 p.m.) – Animation/Experimental. Featuring MOVE FOR FREEDOM and FOUND – both by local directors; and TOUCH THE MOON, ACADIAN NIGHTS.
  • SHORTS IV (3:00 p.m.) – AFI Directing Workshop for Women – Showcase 2014 – The Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) at the American Film Institute is a hands-on training program committed to increasing the number of women working professionally in screen directing. The DWW offers participants intensive training in narrative filmmaking in an innovative workshop.  POWFest is excited to screen the work of 2014 participants including former Portlander, Aubree Bernier-Clarke’s film, THE NIGHT IS OURS, and SUTURES by Tiffanie Hsu.


Sunday, March 15th, 2015, 12 p.m., The Hollywood Theatre

  • SHORTS V (12 p.m.) – Feel Good Docs LUCHADORA about a female Lucha Libre wrestling star in Mexico by director River Finlay and RODEO DOG, the directorial debut by Rebecca Hynes about a third generation Oregon family, their dog and how the family makes a living producing small town rodeos.
  • SHORTS VI (3:00 p.m.) – Youth/POWGirls ShowcaseDEAR FAMILY by USC freshman at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Sarah Lew; HOME COOKING by Fort Lauderdale 9th grade student, Elizabeth Herrick, who has already had her films accepted in over 100 film festivals; and FILTERED created by 5 high school filmmakers at Camp Reel Stories. The POWGirls 2015 films GREAT EXPECTATIONS and WORDS OF WISDOM will make their world premiere during this showcase as well.
  • Closing Night Reception (5:00 p.m.)Free with festival pass, POWGirls or Closing Night Film Ticket

Closing Night Film (6:30 p.m.) – STATES OF GRACE by award winning filmmaking team Helen S. Cohen and Mark Lipman. The profound transformation of a Bay Area family lies at the heart of this story about resilience and the healing power of community and spiritual practice. For Dr. Grace Dammann, a pioneering AIDS specialist, a routine commute across the Golden Gate Bridge turned tragic when another driver crashed head on into her car. After seven weeks in a coma and a dozen surgeries, Grace miraculously awakened with her cognitive abilities intact, though her body was left shattered. States of Grace follows her return home to the Buddhist community where she and her partner Nancy (Fu) Schroeder live with their teenage daughter Sabrina.

Family dynamics are turned upside down as each of them must negotiate new roles and responsibilities in the wake of Grace’s accident. Through intimate verité footage and interviews with doctors, family, and friends, States of Grace paints an inspiring portrait of devotion and trust as it delicately documents one woman’s fight to reinvent herself.

POWFest is especially grateful to have been awarded a 2015 Project Grant by the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) for the fifth year in a row for the 2015 festival, and appreciates our sponsors: The Faerie Godmother Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, Hotel deLuxe, New Belgium Brewing Company, MetroEast Community Media, SAGIndie, Koerner Camera Systems, Fashion Buddha, REX Post, Zipcar, Canine Productions, Magnolia’s Corner, Oregon Film, Women in Film Portland (WIF-PDX), OMPA (Portland Chapter), Women Co/Create, Lenore Graphics, Cibo, and Whole Foods.


The Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (POWFest) empowers women to find their voice and share their stories through innovative and quality filmmaking by showcasing the work of today’s top women directors at our annual festival and strengthening the community of women in film in Oregon year-round.  We honor the true pioneers in the industry while providing support and recognition for the next generation of leading women filmmakers.  In the past eight years POWFest has hosted the following prominent and very accomplished women directors: Allison Anders, Irene Taylor-Brodsky, Kathryn Bigelow, Gillian Armstrong, Amy Heckerling, Barbara Kopple, Ondi Timoner, Penelope Spheeris and Joanna Priestley.

POWFest is produced by Sour Apple Productions in partnership with The Hollywood Theatre