The inaugural Portland Film Festival rolled out on Tuesday, August 27, with aerial acrobatics, stilt walkers and contortionists — and that was just on the sidewalk. Inside Cinema 21, a full house enjoyed the opening film, “Without A Net,” which told the story of impoverished young Brazilians trying to fight their way out of poverty at a community circus.

The documentary kicked off the festival, which runs through September 1 and features more than 80 films as well as scores of workshops, classes and networking events. “We are a filmmakers’ film festival,” said Josh Leake, festival director and Portland native. “I’m excited to meet these other filmmakers and have them get to know each other, and the rest of Portland is going to be right in the middle of it.”

Movies will be screened at Cinema 21, Living Room Theaters, The Bagdad Theater and the World Trade Center Auditorium. Free movies will be shown at Fields Park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Leake said 70 of the 80-plus filmmakers are attending. Local author Chuck Palahniuk, Randall of Honey Badger fame and the folks behind Totally Sketch are among the festival star power.

While many film festivals take place in the fall and winter, Leake wanted to reach a larger audience with outdoor screenings and show the city at its best. “Summer is such a great time to visit Portland.” The weekend screenings at Fields Park will include food carts, live music and a beer garden.

Leake’s own short film “Emptys” won the Tropfest in 2013 — the world’s largest short film festival. “Emptys” focuses on several homeless Portland residents who collect bottles and cans to support themselves. “I’ve gone to a lot of festivals over the last year. I’ve taken my best experiences abroad and brought them to Portland.”

Check out the full schedule at PortlandFilmFestival.com.

About the Author: Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin is the editor of Travel Oregon’s Seasonal Features, enewsletters and annual visitor guide. When she’s not cooking up trip ideas, Oregon Dreamer profiles and outdoor adventures to write about, she’s out exploring Oregon.

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