HouseSpecial’s Stop-Motion Short Takes ‘Best Animated Film’ At Oregon Independent Film Festival

Aaron Sorenson, a Director at Portland animation studio HouseSpecial, received the award for Best Animated Film for the stop-motion short Jailbreak during the award ceremony at The Oregon Independent Film Festival (OIFF) held on September 24, 2016 in Portland’s Clinton Street Theater.

Jailbreak, shot in black and white, follows the daring escape of a desperate prisoner fleeing his nightmarish cell in pursuit of sweet punishment.  Written and directed by Sorenson, this short is a German Expressionist-inspired design mash-up of stop motion with a 2D design sensibility … and a decidedly adult twist.

“I am thrilled Jailbreak was recognized by OIFF. The award show was truly an event of fascination, hilarity, emotion and general oddness … I was happy to attend. It captured the spirit of the festival perfectly,” Sorenson said. “It was inspiring to see so many dedicated filmmakers following their own artistic path of self-expression.”

The production participated in the state of Oregon’s Indigenous Oregon Production Investment Fund (iOPIF) incentive program, and was created through HouseSpecial’s Short Stuff™ program.

Jailbreak - a stop-motion short from HouseSpecial“I wanted to create a unique, funny short that pushed the look and style into something unlike anything the studio had done before. Our CG short A Tale of Momentum & Inertia was such a success, so we wanted to flip the process and create something tangible with an entirely different aesthetic and a strong narrative,” Sorenson said. He was inspired most directly by the silent German Expressionist films such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The Golem and prison break films such as Escape from Alcatraz, I Was a Prisoner on a Chain Gang, and Papillon. The main character, Klaus, was inspired by Cubism (mostly Picasso) with a flattened skewed aesthetic.

“Stop motion just seemed right for the story in terms of atmosphere and capturing an intentional theatrical feel. The textures and tangibility of practical sets and characters are really arresting and doing it in black and white makes the viewer focus on those details.”

As part of our studio, Sorenson has worked with They Might Be Giants to create the music video Bastard Wants to Hit Me and directed work for Nike®, Starbucks®, Shaw Cable, Honey Nut Cheerios®, Target®, Orville Redenbacher® and Dole®. He garnered big honors at many environmental and animation festivals for his work on The Surfrider Foundation’s PSA Rise Above Plastics and for his animation direction on credit sequences for LAIKA’s animated features ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls.  Read More »

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New Documentary Profiles Unique Summer Camp For Kids With Food Allergies

A new film documentary about a unique Oregon summer camp makes its world premiere in Portland on October 16, 2016.

tlf_2Tastes Like Freedom is the remarkable story of Camp Blue Spruce, a summer camp for kids with life-threatening food allergies. The food at Camp Blue Spruce is free of the foods that cause more than 90% of allergic reactions, including dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, wheat, soy, gluten and sesame.

“For 51 weeks of the year, food is often a source of worry and anxiety for these kids and their families,” said Louise Tippens, Camp Blue Spruce founder. “At camp, we not only take the worry out of food, but we help kids develop skills to manage their food allergies and live independent lives.” tlf_1

The film features a diverse array of footage from camp, including an outdoor square dance, swimming and canoeing, and a challenge course, as well as interviews with campers, parents. It also includes interviews with Scott Sicherer, MD, a professor of pediatrics at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and Kyle Dine, a musician that performs food allergy awareness songs at schools across North America.

tlf_4Camp Blue Spruce, which runs for one week in August, started in 2013 with 28 campers. It quickly outgrew its original location and now has 80 campers. Kids from Oregon as well as New York, Florida, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and British Columbia attended this year.

Tastes Like Freedom premieres on Sunday, October 16, 2016 at the Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta in Portland. The movie plays at 3 PM and will be followed by a panel session featuring kids from camp. Admission is free but a $5-10 suggested donation is requested.

Tastes Like Freedom is directed by Eric Stachon and produced by Tara Johnson-Medinger. Both are Portland-based filmmakers. For more information, contact Eric at [email protected].

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#EOFF2016 Music Line-up Announced

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logo-black-print-300x300Eastern Oregon Film Festival will be celebrating its seventh year of independent film and music programming in La Grande, Oregon October 20-22, 2016. EOFF is privileged to announce the musicians who will be joining us this fall. EOFF will host three evening after parties at its new central location and present the hottest emerging music-makers to bring a diverse and energetic blend of tunes to the Grande Ronde Valley.

Opening night Hillfolk Noir (Boise, ID) will be present and accounted for to junker-dash the fest into motion. Dear Mr. Henshaw, the new solo project by Mike Surber (Eugene, OR) will bring  an intense and gentle one-man show dubbed ‘sentimental garage folk’.

Friday, October 21, the after party will open with Bijouxx (Boise, ID).  Luz Elena Mendoza (of Y La Bamba) will bring an intimate solo set and hailing from the swamps of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and currently calling Los Angeles home, EOFF opens its arms to Moon Honey. The duo will bring a collection of dense, dizzying sonic splendor to the table as the fest ascend to its apex.  Read More »

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Bill Plympton Speaks, Oct. 15 & 16, UNDERGROUND USA


On Oct 15, 2016, two time Oscar nominee Bill Plympton will appear as a guest speaker at Oregon Cartoon Institute’s one day symposium UNDERGROUND USA. The following evening he will introduce a program of his short films at the Mission Theater.

UNDERGROUND USA is one day public history/arts education event which focuses on one chapter of Oregon print cartooning history. It was created in partnership with UO Comics & Cartooning Studies and PSU Comic Studies, and with support from Oregon Historical Society.

Six writers and artists, Bill Plympton, David Chelsea, Norman Solomon, Richard Gehr, Maurice Isserman, Patrick Rosenkranz, are coming to the White Stag Auditorium to taIk about their earIy experiences in Portland’s underground press.  Read More »

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Screenwriting ReMix For New Media With Randall Jahnson

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-10-55-17-amThe Northwest Film Center has another new class offering this fall, Screenwriting Remix for New Media. It is a ten-session class taking place on Tuesday evenings, October 4 to December 13, that explores how traditional screenwriting can be the launching point for re-imagining plot and character in the interactive Digital Age. Can character be developed on Instagram? Can Google Maps advance plot? Can a story be told on Skype? Integrate these and other platforms into your narrative through an individual writing mash-up.

Register here online now.  Read More »

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Documentary Proposal Writing With Host Of OPB’s Field Guide

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-10-55-17-amThe Northwest Film Center is excited to offer a new four-session course with host and executive producer of OPB’s Field Guide, Steve Amen. The class takes place on Monday evenings, October 3 to October 24, and will be a great place to jump start your documentary project with an irresistible proposal that leaves funders wanting to know more. Establish credibility for you and your project by answering the key questions: “Why this film?,” “Why now?,” and “Why should you be the producer?.”

Register online now:

Topics covered in class include:
Traits of a successful proposal (analyze and discuss different examples)
Proposal elements and their purposes: logline, synopsis, outline, treatment, budget, work samples
Defining your project from big idea to intended audience
Writing technique: tone, tense, voice and clarity
The art of budgeting (cost estimating, cash/inkind sources, formatting)
How to write about yourself: effective biographies and filmographies
Types of show reels and why you need one (with examples)
Tips for producing promos and sizzle reels (e.g. selecting the best sound, video and music)
Common pitfalls to avoid
Tailoring your proposal to different types of funders and resources
Adjusting your proposal as fundraising and production progress
Bring in what you’re working on and get Instructor feedback

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Got Content?



We have an exciting event to share with you this fall: DISCOP JOHANNESBURG – November 2-4 in Johannesburg, South Africa. If you work in the TV / VIDEO / CONTENT market place or do licensing and co-production deals because you work in FILM, MUSIC or VIDEO GAMES, this event might interest you.

Africa is growing as a media content market place and there is demand for digital technologies and know-how from the United States. Pay-TV subscriptions are growing rapidly (50% in the last three years) and there is also high demand for U.S. content. The South African media and entertainment market place is growing exponentially and has opportunities for co-production, filming, and joint projects. In fact, this is Africa’s fastest growing multi-screen and multi-platform marketplace. There are very good predictions for investments for small and medium sized projects for parties seeking to start their first international project, or that are interested in a developing market place with all the innovation it comes with; it’s also an opportunity to be “the first” to market! There are of course major deals to be had with industry players (see flyer for sample companies in attendance). Please note that in addition to English speaking content, there will be business opportunities for companies offering French speaking content as well.

So….if you have always wanted to visit South Africa and have an interest in the continent – and projects that would jive with African audiences, THIS TRADE SHOW could be for YOU! South Africa offers certain tax and production incentives (varies by City/Region) and is building its infrastructure in a very vibrant market place. Our offices in Capetown and Johannesburg are actively working with the creative content sectors to support U.S. exports and licensing deals to their cities.

screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-4-02-36-pmOur partner DISCOP offers TV/Content shows in emerging markets globally (Johannesburg, Abidjan, Istanbul and NEW: Dubai – coming January 2017) and this year the United States is celebrated as the Country of Honor at the Johannesburg show. The International Trade Administration/Commercial Service is pleased to offer you the following event deal at one price, which is good for two attendees as part of the *American Pavilion*! In the attached flyer you will find further details for the show, including registration and contact information.

About DISCOP Africa
About DISCOP Johannesburg

 Read More »

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Hatfield Marine Science Center Hosts Ocean Research Mini-Film Fest

screen_shot_2016-09-11_at_5-15-21_pmOregon State’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport,  will be hosting a short mini-film fest September 22nd, at 5 and 7PM at the Hennings Auditorium of the Visitor Center.  The films will cover topics such as:

  • Oregon State University’s Marine Studies Initiative;
  • Ocean sound in the bottom of the Mariana Trench, with NOAA’s Bob Dziak;
  • Blue whales nursing, with Leigh Torres of OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute;
  • Ocean acidification, by OSU’s Justin Smith, with Caren Braby and Steven Rumrill of ODFW;
  • At sea larvae and plankton sampling with faculty and students from the Cowen/Sponaugle Lab at HMSC

The university’s latest marine-themed commercial will also be shown.

“These films exemplify the Marine Studies Initiative recently launched by OSU, said Bob Cowen, director of the OSU center. “We are excited about the opportunity to share our cutting-edge research with a wide audience through these dynamic and impactful films.”

For more information: 541-867-0234 or maryann.bozza

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Amelia Earhart fundraiser to launch 9/19/16

Amelia Earhart, who served as a consultant in the Department of the Study of Careers for Women at Purdue from 1935 to 1937, strides past her Lockheed Electra. Sally Putnam Chapman has donated 492 Earhart items Ñ including rarely seen personal and private papers such as poems, a flight log and a prenuptial agreement Ñ to Purdue Libraries' Earhart collection. (File photo) A publication-quality photograph is available at

You can help our ALI film crew join the search for Amelia Earhart!  Our Indiegogo fundraising campaign begins September 19 and will last just one month.  The funds will pay for us to secure a place on the expedition ship and film the research team in June and July 2017 as they voyage to the Pacific island of Nikumaroro, where Amelia very likely landed and survived for a time in 1937.  This expedition, which includes some serious archaeological fieldwork, could bring home conclusive evidence that the famous aviatrix was there.  Our footage will form the basis for our planned documentary film (tentatively titled, “Amelia, Where Are You?”) on the continuing search for Amelia.  See the Nikumaroro voyage page at and background on the current status of Amelia Earhart research.

More information will be forthcoming.  Please help us reach our goal by sharing this message with everyone, and get ready for the launch!

Rick Pettigrew

Richard M. (Rick) Pettigrew, Ph.D., RPA
Executive Director and President
Archaeological Legacy Institute
4147 E. Amazon Dr.
Eugene, OR 97405
[email protected]
[email protected]

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AIFF Hires New Executive Director

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-12-14-00-pm For Immediate Release from AIFF:

New AIFF Executive Director Selected
The Ashland Independent Film Festival has selected the former Executive Director of the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival to its top job. Steven Remington of Moscow, Idaho will succeed Cathy Dombi as the festival’s new executive director.
Maylee Oddo, president of the AIFF board, described Remington as “intelligent, dynamic and resourceful, with proven successes in his field. Steven brings over 20 years of festival and arts administration experience to AIFF, offering a deep background in non-profit management, past fundraising successes, strength with budgets, an ability to connect with individuals in a meaningful way that demonstrates his strategic thinking, clear communication
and relationship-building skills.”
“I’ve come to realize that building community by nurturing the collaborative spirit is one of my callings. I love the work, and it allows me to provide value to the world,” Remington said. “I am deeply honored to have been selected to join this organization; it really has all of the critical components – the dedication of supporters, volunteers and staff, a committed and knowledgeable board, and a great community. And the reputation of the festival is unmatched in connecting filmmakers and their audiences. For me, being able to advance the work of these independent story tellers and expand upon the accomplishments of an exceptional community of volunteers, staff and board members is like a dream come true.”
Remington, though most recently from Idaho, has spent over half his career in Oregon, having worked for the University of Oregon, Downtown Events Management, Inc. and da Vinci Days, Inc. “Steven’s remarkable success in building and running well-regarded festivals and non-profits has all the ingredients needed to not only strengthen AIFF but also take it to new levels,” Oddo said. “Combine that with his passion for building sustaining communities and his deep Oregon roots, and he is a great fit for the film festival.”  Read More »

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