About Us

Portland Film Festival: The Storytellers’ Festival & Conference
Portland Film Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to nurturing filmmakers and audiences, and to celebrating the power of a good story.  The festival focuses on the people, ideas, technology, skills and artistry behind filmmaking and provides both entertaining and educational opportunities to the public.  The festival is anchored with outdoor screenings, offering its filmmakers one of the largest audiences available on the West Coast.

The festival is spread across seven theater and education venues including some of the oldest historic theaters in Oregon:

  • McMenamin’s Mission Theatre
  • Living Room Theater
  • Cinema 21
  • Laurelhurst Theater
  • Clinton St. Theater
  • Hollywood Theater
  • 5th Avenue Cinemas
  • Pro Photo Supply Event Center
  • Crystal Ballroom
  • White Space Gallery
  • Crystal Bar & Restaurant
  • Plum Tree Mortgage Education Center
  • Waterfront Park & Wallace Park

PDXFF is Portland Oregon’s largest film festival by filmmakers for filmmakers. It was named “one of the coolest film festivals in the world,” by MovieMaker Magazine in 2014. It partners with several area organizations including the City of Portland, Portland Parks & Recreation, Women in Film, Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA), Willamette Writers, SAG Aftra (Actor’s Guild/Union), Oregon Governor’s Office of Film (Oregon Film), Digital Media Communications Department at Clackamas Community College and others.

Roots in the Community
Although the festival began in 2012, its history goes back to 2009, when the Portland Film Club was founded as a meetup to bring film lovers together. The club is set up like a book club offering members the opportunity to discuss films. The club now boasts over 2300 members and is one of the largest movie clubs on the west coast. It screens typically one movie a week including new and independent features.

Festival Beginnings
Founder Joshua Leake traveled with his documentary on homeless people surviving on returning beverage cans in Oregon, “Emptys,” and won some accolades including Tropfest, the largest short film festival of the world. After visiting festivals like Raindance, St. Louis Film Festival, NorthSide Film Festival, Columbia Gorge Film Festival and others, Leake returned to Portland energized to bring his experiences to filmmakers in Portland. Enlisting his previous film instructor from NW Documentary, Jay Cornelius, they set out to build Portland’s largest film festival for filmmakers. Cornelius had a large pool of volunteers that he pulled from his years of teaching at local area film schools including Mt. Hood Community College, NW Documentary, Art Institute as well as his family friends. Several individuals stepped up to make the first year possible, including Honi Ledford, Director of Operations, Lauren Kodai, Director of Volunteers, Michael French, Social Media Director, Jeffrey Sundin, Traffic Coordinator, Nancy Bernard, Creative writer, Aaron Brian, Legal Advisor, Dayan Morgan-Sylvaen, Mike Seng, Marcelo Anteparra-Naujock and his team at Caffelli, Heather Stammer and her team at R-West, Ezekiel Brown, Andy Ehlen, David Cress (Juror), Joseba and Shalene, Directors of Music, Don Andrews, Matt Dotson, Elliott Schofield, photographer and Gail Cornelius to name just a few. The festival had over 148 volunteers that helped make it possible, without whom the festival would have surely failed.

Growth into the Future
For it second year, the festival screened more films and hosted more filmmaking events than any festival ever in the history of Portland or Oregon. Each day, attendees were offered two screenwriting and two acting classes plus more than 5-6 other classes. The education and opportunities for filmmakers to network with other professionals was bigger and better than ever before. Each morning, the festival hosted a coffee chat– giving filmmakers the opportunity to talk and discuss their projects in an intimate location before their film screened. The festival’s growth was made possible with the help and support of over 280 volunteers including Nancy Bernard, Andrew Poole-Todd, Lilli, Lucila, Katie, Gary, Mike Wyant, Andy Ehlen, Jeffrey Sundin, Arthur Schmid, Justin Kolezar, Alli, Shalene, Elliott, Dustin, Natalie, Michelle Mathews, Don Andrews, Adam Bailey, Nathan Smith, Cindy L Johnston-Bennett, Dayan, Ric Jones, Mike Vogel, Tisa Fortin and others.

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Oscars Watch Party with Film Industry & Friends – All Welcome

The Portland Film Festival is excited to host Portland’s longest running Oscar Watch Party of the 90th Academy Awards on March 4th at 4pm.

Watch films made by kids on Saturday, March 3rd

Walk the red carpet. Grab a balloon animal! Watch films made by kids. Come to the Kids Film Festival. Held exclusively at Laurelhurst Theater on Saturday, March 3rd. Tickets are $3 each. The doors will open at 12:30pm—come early to get a Festival swag bag, available only to the first 50 attendees. And don’t miss meeting the kid filmmakers in attendance or their Q&A after the screenings.

LIMITED TIME!! EARLY-BIRD DEADLINE on February 28th—Submit Your Film To The 2018 Portland Film Festival!

2018 Portland Film Festival

The Portland Film Festival established itself as Portland’s leading film non-profit, with hundreds of screenings, events, education programs and community partnerships providing a unique opportunity for our diverse audience to connect with filmmakers working in all different genres and forms. In addition, our festivals hosts dozens of film and television professionals, offering filmmakers a chance to forge new relationships across the industry.

Audience and Jury Awards Announced for the 2017 Portland Film Festival

The 5th Annual Portland Film Festival presented by Comcast announced today the feature film and short film recipients of this year’s awards in the Audience, Grand Jury and Director’s Choice. Juries of leading industry experts and esteemed filmmakers determined Jury Awards for Feature Narrative, Feature Documentary, and Short Film categories.


Why I Volunteer—meet Joe.

Meet Joe. He’s a Gyro or Rueben sandwich who loves the Academy Theater. He’s one of the many volunteers that help produce the Portland Film Festival. This year with the support of Comcast, we are highlighting volunteer stories leading up to the 2017 edition from October 30th to November 5th.

2017 Portland Film Festival Announces Line-Up

2017 Portland Film Festival

The 2017 Portland Film Festival, Presented by Comcast, will screen 152 narrative and documentary films October 30th through November 5th, 2017, at Portland’s iconic Laurelhurst Theater.


Volunteer at the 2017 Portland Film Festival

Meet Robin. She enjoys Monte Cristo’s, in intimate theaters (like Laurelhurst), while watching strong female leads in Hidden Figures and Wonder Woman! She’s one of the many volunteers that help produce the Portland Film Festival. This year with the support of Comcast, we are highlighting volunteer stories leading up to the 2017 edition from October 30th to November 5th.


Programs for #pdxff17 are here. We need your help to send them to a galaxy far far away. (Ok… let’s just start with Portland.) 


Meet Darin. He’s a chickie-chickie parm-parm that loves the Baghdad and Hollywood Theater. He’s one of the many volunteers that help produce the Portland Film Festival. This year with the support of Comcast, we are highlighting volunteer stories leading up to the 2017 edition from October 30th to November 5th.