Portland, Oregon – February 15, 2016 – The Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (POWFest) is pleased to announce programming highlights of our upcoming festival, which is scheduled to take place March 3-6, 2016 at The Hollywood Theatre.  Tickets are $9-$20 individual / $60 festival pass for premium access to most festival activities.

In its 9th 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 to 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 filmmaking workshops for girls aged 15-19, which encourages creativity, demonstrates the power of storytelling, and give girls the chance to explore opportunities as future filmmakers while becoming savvy in technology and media production.  In each workshop, a group of girls conceive, write, film and edit their films – SIX films will make their festival premiere at the 2016 POWFest: BUDDING ROMANCE, WILT, STICKS & STONES, EAR BUDS  and two promo pieces created by the Advanced POWGirls for The Portland Kitchen.

Participants hail from Portland Metro area high schools as well as Lake Oswego, Battle Ground, WA and Silverton, Or. 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 2016.  From local and international features and shorts, to narrative and documentary, and even the innovative and endearing, this year’s line up includes short film blocks with themes like Quirky, Dark Tales, Documentary Showcase, Aging Gracefully, and our Young Directors program, which appeal to broad audiences with their humor, integrity, fun and societal themes.  A total of nearly 50 selections will screen over a period of 4 days.  

POWFest is also pleased to announce this year’s guest of honor, award-winning director and women’s equality advocate, Catherine Hardwicke, who will be in attendance throughout the festival.

Hardwicke’s direction of the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling novel, Twilight, launched the worldwide blockbuster franchise — The Twilight Saga — and earned nearly $400 million at the worldwide box office, making her one of the most commercially successful women film directors. In addition to her impressive filmography, her willingness to be vocal in the ACLU and Equal Opportunity Commission’s investigation of gender bias and pay disparity in the entertainment industry made her the standout woman to honor at this year’s festival.  

“Catherine Hardwicke’s strong voice and willingness to step publicly into Hollywood’s gender discussion is something to celebrate.  Because of her, women are less fearful of being vocal and there has been a groundswell of support to amplify these voices. There is a revolution going on and she is one of the women in the lead,” said POWFest Executive Director, Tara Johnson-Medinger.  

Ms. Hardwicke will present a Master Class for festival attendees on Sunday morning and will be in attendance for all of her screenings during the festival including a special Q&A on Saturday evening with Women & Hollywood creator Melissa Silverstein.

As always, the schedule includes stimulating content to engage the audience through conversations with the over 35 directors in attendance; including local directors Dawn Jones Redstone, Kia Anne Geraths, Christian Henry and Misty Eddy– encouraging dialogue beyond the theater as well.

In addition to films, there will be several Educational Events to network and participate in. Purchasing a festival pass to POWFest gives you the opportunity to see as many films you want during the festival without fumbling with individual tickets, all while saving money and showing your support. Festival passes include access for early seating, admission to our Filmmaker Panel and the Seed & Spark Workshops “Crowdfunding for Independence” and “The Art of the Pitch” all taking place at The Hollywood Theatre.

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

Opening Night – Thursday, March 3rd, 2016, 7 p.m., The Hollywood Theatre

Opening night kicks off with THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, by director Abigail Disney. In her directorial debut, Disney’s film  follows the journey of an Evangelical minister trying to find the courage to preach about the growing toll of gun violence in America. The film tracks Reverend Rob Schenck, anti-abortion activist and fixture on the political far right, who breaks with orthodoxy by questioning whether being pro-gun is consistent with being pro-life.

Immediately before the feature will be special screening of short film, SISTA IN THE BROTHERHOOD, by local director Dawn Jones Redstone. This dramatic film is about a tradeswoman named Laneice, played by Sidony O’neal, struggling to prove herself on her first day at a new job site. An outlier in a white, male-dominated workforce, she’s forced to navigate the crew’s reactions to her. When tensions rise, she receives inspiration from a surprising source to help her decide to either make a stand or risk never being recognized as the skilled worker she has become. We will also premiere the POWGirls short film, BUDDING ROMANCE, where a girl meets the plant of her dreams! But will it last?

At 9:30 p.m. the evening will continue with the feature film, LA NIÑA DE TACONES AMARILLOS (THE GIRL IN YELLOW HEELS) from Argentina. For an entire year, a small town is consumed by the construction of a big hotel. Isabel, a 15-year-old local girl goes through a first-hand experience of the resulting cultural clash between the construction workers and the local townsfolk. Her unspoken power will take her along unknown paths, where the value of her beauty is nothing but the flipside of her submission to a sexist eye.

Friday, March 4th, 2016, starting at 1 p.m., The Hollywood Theatre

    • FILMMAKER PANEL (1:00p.m) –Participants TBA
      SHORTS I: QUIRKY (7:00 p.m.) –  Unique, fun, innovative, surprising and delicious films. Lingering exes, science experiments gone awry and a few big sneezes–this whimsical collection of short films are sure to delight audiences. Films include: EX-GIRFIEND, FLASHBACK, and NO BREATH PLAY.
      SHORTS II: DARK TALES (9:00 p.m.) – (mature themes) A collection of short films that hit hard on the darker side of the human experience including SUB ROSA, VESSELS, and SORMEH.

Saturday, March 5th, 2016, 12 p.m., The Hollywood Theatre

Sunday, March 6th, 2016, 10 a.m., The Hollywood Theatre

  • CATHERINE HARDWICKE MASTER CLASS (10 a.m.) – POWFest Guest of Honor Catherine Hardwicke will present an interactive discussion with POWFest attendees. Her career as a director with production designer roots has proven over and over that it is possible to sustain a viable creative life in the film industry, and she will share her insights with attendees. Her career spans from insightful, independent, original works like THIRTEEN to the blockbuster adaptation of TWILIGHT—the latter making her the most commercially successful woman director.
  • TWILIGHT (12:30 p.m.) – Bella Swan has always been a little bit different. When her mother remarried and Bella chooses to live with her father in the rainy little town of Forks, Washington, she didn’t expect much of anything to change. But things do change when she meets the mysterious and dazzlingly beautiful Edward Cullen. Followed by a Q&A with Director Catherine Hardwicke.
  • SILENT FILM SHOWCASE (6:00 p.m.) –Celebrate a century of film herstory with two silent films directed by women. HYPOCRITES, by director Lois Weber and THE OCEAN WAIF by directed Alice Guy Blache will both screen.  Live organ accompaniment from the Columbia River Theatre Organ Society.

POWFest is especially grateful to have been awarded a 2016 Project Grant by the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) for the sixth year in a row to benefit the 2016 POWGirls Program, and appreciates our sponsors: The Faerie Godmother Family Fund, Hotel deLuxe, New Belgium Brewing Company, MetroEast Community Media, SAGIndie, Koerner Camera Systems, REX Post, Mama Simba Films, Magnolia’s Corner, Oregon Film, Women in Film Portland (WIF-PDX), Alma Chocolate and OMPA.

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 nine 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.


Tara Johnson-Medinger
Executive Director, The Portland Women’s Film Festival
[email protected]

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