Ashland Independent Film Festival Announces Juried and Audience Award Winners

The Ashland Independent Film Festival (AIFF) announced the highly anticipated juried and audience award-winning films for work screened at the 16th annual festival, April 6-10, 2017. “I’m particularly pleased that the audience chose different films to award than the juries,” said festival director Richard Herskowitz. “Since many of our films this year deserved special recognition, I’m glad we were able to hand out local artisan Dennis DeBey’s beautiful statuette to so many deserving artists.”

James Ivory

James Ivory

James Ivory, legendary director and Klamath Falls native, received the AIFF Lifetime Achievement Award. Ivory with the late Ismail Merchant made 24 feature films over their 44‐year partnership—the longest in filmmaking history. Their films garnered 25 Academy Award nominations including three for Best Picture and Best Director. Ivory began his filmmaking career in India with Merchant and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala in 1962. They went on to make some of the most important and eloquent films of our time, including Shakespeare Wallah, A Room with a View, Remains of the Day, Maurice, and Howards End (the latter two screened at AIFF2017).

Alex Cox

Alex Cox

The festival presented its coveted Rogue Award to filmmaker Alex Cox. Born outside Liverpool, England, Cox now makes his home in Southern Oregon. He received widespread acclaim in the off-Hollywood, counterculture movement of the 1980’s for his cult films Repo Man and Sid & Nancy.  He continues to create original and ambitious independent cinema including his latest crowdfunded film Tombstone Rashomon, which premiered at AIFF2017.

Rachel Lambert

Rachel Lambert

Director Rachel Lambert received the Faerie Godmother Award. This award goes to a rising female director, and is presented in collaboration with Portland’s POWFest. This award is supported by the Faerie Godmother Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation.

Jenni Olson

Jenni Olson

This year’s Pride Award was presented to pioneering filmmaker Jenni Olson. Olson is one of the world’s leading experts on LGBT film history. Involved in every facet of the filmmaking world—archivist, film historian, writer, and more—Olson is also the producer of the documentary The Freedom to Marry shown at AIFF2017. This award is funded by the Equity Foundation.

The complete list of award-winning films follows:


Best Narrative Feature: My First Kiss and the People Involved

Gerald Hirschfeld Cinematography Awards: My First Kiss and the People Involved

Les Blank Award: Feature Length Documentary: Quest

Best Narrative Short Film: Last Leatherman of the Vale of Cashmere

Best Documentary Short: Kish

Best Editing: Feature Length Documentary: Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Special Jury Recognition: Documentary Short: The Boatman

Special Jury Recognition: Narrative Short: Black Canaries

Special Jury Recognition: Documentary Feature: Whose Streets?

Special Jury Recognition: Documentary Editing: I Am Another You

Special Jury Recognition: Narrative Feature: The Missing Sun

Special Jury Award: Narrative Feature Cinematography: Cortez



Varsity Audience Award: Narrative Feature: Pushing Dead

Rogue Creamery Audience Award: Feature Length Documentary: City of Joy

Jim Teece Audience Award: Narrative Short: Plea

Audience Award: Documentary Short: The Tables



Lifetime Achievement Award: James Ivory

Rogue Award: Alex Cox

Faerie Godmother Award: Rachel Lambert

Pride Award: Jenni Olson

Indie Institutions: Zeitgeist Films and Skylight

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Nicalis Inc. Acquires Eugene’s Game Studio Cowboy Color

Nicalis Inc., developer and publisher of such video games as Cave Story, 1001 Spikes and The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+, announced today that it has acquired two talented and diverse game development studios: Irvine, California-based SuperVillain Studios and Cowboy Color of Eugene, Oregon.

Cowboy Color was founded in 2015, but in less than two years its team has produced a surprising number of retro-inspired games, including Legend of Ball, Handsome Mr. Frog and the frenetic multiplayer deathmatch game ChargeShot. “Becoming a part of Nicalis… it’s a perfect fit,” says Cowboy Color’s founder Britt Brady. Cullen Dwyer, also a founder of the studio, adds, “It’s a great honor to be in the company of games like Cave Story and 1001 Spikes.”

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This Fall Animating Life:The Art, Science, and Wonder of LAIKA Comes to Portland Art Museum

The Boxtrolls, courtesy of LAIKA

Behind the scenes, the Oregon animation studio, LAIKA, is an amazing collection of animators, artists, cutting-edge tech, and good, old-fashioned story-telling, and this fall you will be able to explore LAIKA’s “creative process” from start to finish at the Portland Art Museum.

The Northwest Film Center and the Portland Art Museum have partnered with LAIKA to present the immersive experience.

For more information look here, the exhibit opens October 14, 2017-May 20, 2018.



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Timberline Lodge Hosting New “Experiential” Horror Film Fest!

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-9-54-59-amThe Overlook Film Festival is about to begin (April 27-30) at Timberline Lodge, on the flanks of Mount Hood.  The lodge exterior stood in for the fictitious “Overlook Hotel” in Kubrick’s ’80’s classic horror movie, “The Shining“, and has drawn fans from all over the world to see the impressive pre-WWII 1930’s building.

The festival will be “presenting superior film programming with an expanded focus on experiential events, the festival showcases exciting new work in new and classic independent horror cinema alongside the latest in interactive and live shows for a fully immersive weekend. As a summer camp for genre fans, The Overlook is a community event bringing the best of horror in all its forms to an enthusiastic and appreciative audience within an intimate and inspirational environment.”

Passes and packages are now available.



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“Tracktown” Coming to iTunes and Theatres May 12th

Tracktown” Alexi Pappas and Jeremy Teicher co-wrote and produced the movie that chronicles the physical and emotional struggles of a young, Eugene runner (Pappas) in this coming of age feature. Check out the latest review from ESPN.



Follow Pappas on Twitter @AlexiPappas

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Advance Screening: Presented by OPB & NW Film Center

Join us for a free screening of OPB‘s new special, “Oregon’s Animation Magic” on April 19th in advance of the TV premiere.

At just about any moment in the Northwest, someone is making animation. Go behind the scenes with OPB’s Oregon Art Beat to meet the people who make Oregon one of the animation capitals of the world.

The screening event will feature the half-hour special followed by a Q&A with OPB Producer Eric Slade and artists from the show. You’ll also have a chance to enter a random drawing to win passes to the 2017 Northwest Animation Festival.

The screening is April 19th, and is free and open to the public. All ages are welcome. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 7 p.m. Full event details are available at

Venue Note: The event will be held in NW Film Center‘s Whitsell Auditorium located on the lower level of the Portland Art Museum.

Wednesday, April 19 @ 7:00 pm

“Oregon’s Animation Magic: An Oregon Art Beat Special” premieres Thursday, April 27 at 8 p.m. on OPB TV and will be available to watch online at the same time at

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#ThankYouGrimm – Governor To Unveil Grove Of Trees

Next week, Governor Kate Brown, will unveil a grove of trees in a north Portland park, as a way to permanently thank many departments in the City of Portland, and to celebrate the crew, vendors and service people of Oregon that made it possible for the show to be such a success.

Friends of Trees will be planting; Hamamelis virginiana- Witch-hazel, Crataegus doiuglassii-  Black Hawthorn and Prunus virginiana ‘Canada Red’- Canada Chokecherry, in a small grove, befitting of the show.


Friends of Trees empowers people to improve the natural world around them through a simple solution: Planting Trees. Together.

Friends of Pier Park is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that advocates for and enhances our 88-acre North Portland park. 


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Animation Studio HouseSpecial Welcomes Two CG Artists

Kendra Phillips and Beavan Blocker

(PORTLAND, OR) Animated content production studio HouseSpecial welcomes Kendra Phillips and Beavan Blocker to its CG team. Ms. Phillips, a CG Modeler, and Mr. Blocker, a CG Animator, recently landed at HouseSpecial via Moonbot in Shreveport, Louisiana.

“We’re thrilled to have Kendra and Beavan join our studio,” said Alvaro Cubillas, Chief Operations Officer. “As a double-threat in both design and organic modeling, we look forward to Kendra continuing to make an immediate impact across all mediums. Beavan’s animation performance range is broad, which fits right in with the rest of our creative arsenal.”

Ms. Phillips, who was born and raised in Sugar Land, Texas, had her first professional experience in animation as an intern with Pixar as a college sophomore. During her academic career, she was also named Trustee Scholar of Ringling College of Art and Design’s Computer Animation Program before graduating in 2013 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Mr. Blocker, who is also a graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design’s Computer Animation program and also a Texas native, was part of the Moonbot team that won a Best Animated Short Oscar (Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore) and the beloved The Scarecrow commercial created for Chipotle Mexican Grill in 2013.

“I was drawn to HouseSpecial because they have such a large variety of work, plus the studio gives CG artists the opportunity to work side-by-side with stop-motion artists,” Ms. Phillips said.

As part of HouseSpecial’s CG team, Ms. Phillips and Mr. Blocker will work on iconic brands like M&M’S, Supercell’s Boom Beach, Planters and Chipotle.

“HouseSpecial has been consistently creating great work that I’ve admired for years. As I get to know the folks here, I’ve found them to be a great and talented group of people who have all been incredibly welcoming. Also, dogs are allowed in the studio,” Mr. Blocker said.

Both artists were drawn to the natural wonder that Oregon is famous for… plus many other perks found in Portland.

Ms. Phillips: “I’ve loved the Pacific Northwest since I first visited a few years ago, too. It has a winning combination of natural beauty and thriving culture. I’ve never had the chance to live somewhere I could really explore close-by mountains, parks and beaches.”

Mr. Blocker: “I was finding any excuse I could to come visit Portland and I dreamed of living here for some time. The food (and by extension beer, wine and spirits) is incredible, the people are kind and welcoming, and it’s in one of the most beautiful parts of the country with every outdoor activity I could possibly want a stone’s throw away.”

Ms. Phillips also brings creative imagination and a fierce competitive spirit. She is the creator of Chumbuddy, a popular shark-shaped sleeping bag, which she designed in 2008 as a freshman at Ringling. Since its successful release she’s added an orca, an alligator (now discontinued) and a squid to the sleeping bag line. On a more physical side, Ms. Phillips placed second nationally in the Camp Gladiator Games last year beating hundreds of athletes from around the country.

Mr. Blocker, a fly fisher, looks forward to catching a steelhead trout and perfecting his home brew abilities.

About HouseSpecial:

Portland animation studio, HouseSpecial, is globally known for its ability to develop characters in narrative environments for iconic brands like M&M’S, Supercell’s Boom Beach, Planters, Apple, ESPN, Target and Honey Nut Cheerios. The directorial team has collaborated with advertising agencies Barton F. Graf, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Wieden+Kennedy, TBWA\CHIAT\DAY, Leo Burnett and BBDO (and many others…) on hundreds of spots – many of which earned big awards and are part of advertising lore.


HouseSpecial is helmed by long-standing industry leaders Lourri Hammack (President.EP), Kirk Kelley (CCO) and Alvaro Cubillas (COO). The bonding mission of this guiding trio is to push strong creative through all the phases of production all under one roof – from initial design to preproduction to animation to creative editorial and finally to in-house post production.  Watch all the latest work at

PR contact: Alise Munson – [email protected] 503.276.0110

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2017 Portland Indie Film Awards: Let’s Diversify

2017 Portland Indie Film Awards: Let’s Diversify.

Jerry Bell Jr of JBJR Productions presents the 2nd Annual Portland Indie Film Awards entitled “2017 Portland Indie Film Awards: Let’s Diversify” to be held on Friday, April 14th from 7pm until midnight.

This event acknowledges and celebrates the Portland indie film community. Last year’s theme was to “Draw A Bigger Circle” which helped lure local industry professionals out of their silos in order to collaborate, develop, and grow together. This year’s theme, “Let’s Diversify,” is a collaborative effort designed to give voice and vision to more women and minority film makers in the community.

Hosted by Portland Improv Extraordinaire Brad Fortier, the event will be held at the Columbia Edgewater Country Club, 2220 NE Marine Dr, Portland, OR 97211.  The evening will begin with a red carpet entrance followed by a program of live entertainment featuring DJ Soulrydah of Bridgetown DJs. Complimentary heavy hors d’oeuvres and libations will be served followed by an after party to remember. Winning nominees will be announced at the gala and will receive awards highlighting their creativity, hard work, and professionalism.

General admission tickets are limited. Advance seating available for $20 online, subject to increase at the door. VIP tickets are $50 online. This event is expected to draw over 300 attendees.

Online tickets may be purchased here.

JBJR Productions is an entertainment company that produces films and hosts special events, operating out of the Portland metro area. Owner, Jerry Bell Jr., is an award winning film director, film producer, and actor. He is also the developer and host of the Portland Indie Film and Networking Event that offers the opportunity for local film makers to present their notable films to the public and other industry professionals.

Learn more at

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PIGSquad + Patreon Present: Drink N’ Draw @ Design Week Portland

PIGSquad and Patreon have joined forces to host an evening of locally-made games and art!

Games will be open for everyone to play, and we invite artists to come draw fan art of the games on display. All artists (or non-artists!) are welcome to make game-inspired art. Along with the 20 local indie games, we’ll have Virtual Reality stations, including Tilt Brush!

For those of you who are up to the challenge, we’re bringing back Art Battles with Jolby: a competition of lightning round artwork creation over the course of 15 minutes! The featured game developers will pick their favorite piece and the chosen artist wins a special prize. Art Battles are optional – everyone is welcome to just come and play!

Patreon is a membership platform that makes it easy for artists and creators to get paid. If you’re considering launching a page or have a page, their team will be hanging out in the lounge to answer questions and review pages. They’ll be giving away goodies to launched Patreon creators, too!

Please RSVP on Eventbrite. Tickets are free and required at the door. This is an all ages event!

Corey Warning
Portland Indie Game Squad

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