Celebrating the Northwest Film Center’s 45th Anniversary

The Northwest Film Center (NWFC) celebrated it’s 45th Anniversary last Thursday, November 10th at the Portland Art Museum’s Kridel Ballroom. This celebration was a three-part affair for the NWFC, starting with the Northwest Filmmakers Summit in the afternoon, a shorts program screening with a guest judge for a brief Q&A session with filmmakers thereafter, and of course, a big ‘ole party, the Watch.Learn.Make Party.

I photographed the shorts program introduction and Q&A, followed by the party, but I can’t help but show off out of order. I had never been in the Kridel Balloom before, and it looked just lovely all gussied up for the party…

The Room

Kridel Ballroom

In addition to your usual tables and chairs, the Watch.Learn.Make Party had two screens set up on either side of their central projection to show segments of filmmakers’ work throughout the evening.

Screen on display

Every table was adorned with a standing paper promo for the Give Guide. The Northwest Film Center is one of less than 150 nonprofits in the Portland area that were chosen to participate in this annual holiday giving affair, focused on generating donations of $10 and up from people aged 35 years and under. It’s an exclusive drive that is much anticipated in the Portland area.

NWFC Give Guide table setting

The Booze

It’s Oregon, so it wouldn’t be a night on the town with out some Pinot Noir. Elk Cove Vineyards provided 2014 Pinot Noir, which was the gold medal winner at the Cascadia Wine Competition in 2016.

Elk Cove Pinot Noir

I had a touch of déjà vu rounding the beer selections from Sierra Nevada, as I noticed Owl’s Brew on display. A friend and colleague gifted me one of these artisanal tea cocktail mixers over two years ago before it was “a thing.” I’m a huge tea lover, and was happy to see their brand making its way up the event ladder.

Owls Brew and Sierra Nevada beer

That brings me to the food…

The Nibbles

I’m a small woman, so finger foods hold a special place in my heart (and I’d wager to say, in the hearts of most artsy folks, judging by the selection I’m about to share!). This platter below boasted a beautiful display of protein skewers, ranging from chicken to shrimp to roast beef. A peanut dipping sauce anchored this wheel in the center.

Chicken and shrimp skewers

For those with the good fortune of lactose tolerance, this lovely cheese wheel with onions and sun dried tomatoes sprinkled on top awaited. A wreath of crackers kept this festive appetizer company.

Cream cheese spread

These fashionably sliced egg rolls were layered around another platter with dipping sauce, providing a crunchy alternative to the protein skewers mentioned earlier.

Egg rolls

Did  I mention that Masala Pop donated a variety of their delicious handmade Indian-spiced popcorn to the event?

Masala Pop popcorn

The jar in the forefront of this image is a Chai Masala with Assam Tea flavor, but the table also sported Saffron Rose with Sea Salt and Savory Masala with Papadums.

The Shorts Q&A

As I mentioned before, part of the 45th anniversary celebration was the screening of award-winning shorts followed by a question and answer session with a guest judge. This overlapped slightly with the party, but I nipped over before and after the screening to snag a few images. Filmmaker Services Manager, Benjamin Popp, introduced the guest judge to get the evening going.

I’ve now seen Benjamin at multiple NWFC events, and I’m delighted to say that he always wears a smile on his face. Popp is every photographer’s dream!

Benjamin Popp on stage

Following the screening of the seven shorts, the guest judge invited all seven filmmakers up to answer a few of his questions, followed by some burning inquiries by audience members.

Q&A with shorts program filmmakers

The Whitsell is always a little aesthetically challenging given its lack of upward facing stage lighting, but I made out well with some images of the filmmakers from either wing of the room.

Third filmmaker comments

Fifth filmmaker speaks

Seventh filmmaker comments

The schpeals

As soon as the shorts program Q&A wrapped, folks headed back to the Kridel Ballroom for some brief words by the leadership of the NWFC and the Portland Art Museum (PAM) before digging in to the festivities.

Bill Foster, PAM Director, started out:

Bill Foster on stage

Audience response to Foster

Bill was followed by NWFC Education Director Ellen Thomas, who made a pitch for supporting film education through the Give Guide. As I mentioned earlier, the Northwest Film Center is one of less than 150 organizations that was selected to participate in this annual holiday donation drive focused on folks ages 35 years and younger.

Ellen Thomas pitches the Give Guide

Audience response to Thomas

It’s no surprise that Thomas’s speech was particularly captivating to the rising filmmakers in the audience. Not only are they the target audience for the Give Guide campaign, but they also form a significant part of NWFC’s educational focus.

The Guests

As the evening progressed, I met some lovely film supporters in attendance, like Ron Craig of the Astoria International Film Festival (AIFF). AIFF screens in the fall of each year in Astoria, Oregon, where none other than childhood favorite The Goonies (1985) was filmed.

Ron Craig and co

It wouldn’t be a party without some dancing, right? These two lassies below enjoyed some pinot noir and pinot gris, courtesy of Elk Hill Vineyard, as they rocked out to the tunes of XRayFM.

Dancing women holding wine

One of the honored guests of the evening was Brooke Jacobson, founder of the Northwest Film Center. Brooke may have had a cane, but her legacy and determination made it seem like more of a prop than a necessity. Go Brooke!

Brooke Jacobson and co

As the evening came to a close, I snapped an image of the Northwest Film Center’s staff—the very folks who worked so hard to make this evening a reality.

NWFC Staff