Projects put Portland in starring role
After seven years, eight seasons, dozens of star cameos and two zany characters forever etched into the city's pop culture identity, the "Portlandia" era is over.
The Peabody-award winning IFC satire wrapped up filming in the Rose City last year and started airing its eighth and final season Jan. 18.
"Grimm" also is done. And "Wild" was a blockbuster movie for Oregon and tourism along the Pacific Crest Trail and other regions that were spotlighted.
So what's next for Portland, in both TV and film?
The Oregon Film Office has been working to keep a steady flow of projects in the pipeline, each of which brings a direct boost to the economy.
"'Portlandia' directly spent just under $40 million here in Oregon over its eight seasons," Tim Williams, Oregon Film exeutive director, tells the Tribune.
"At the moment, the film, TV, animation and interactive industry projects that are going through our incentive programs are spending close to $200 million here in the state," and supporting more than 3,000 jobs and vendors each year.
Specifically, here's what's going on:
• "Lean on Pete," based upon the novel of the same name by Willy Vlautin, author and frontman of local band Richmond Fontaine, is the story of a homeless teen's connection to his racehorse. It was filmed mostly in Eastern Oregon, with some of the horseracing scenes shot at Portland Meadows.
Starring Charlie Plummer, Steve Buscemi and Chloe Sevigny, the film will be released in theaters on March 30, with a Feb. 28 screening at the Northwest Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium as part of the Portland International Film Festival.
So far the film has earned stellar reviews from critics in Venice, Toronto and Telluride.
• The other feature film soon to be released is "Leave No Trace," shot in Forest Park and other locations around Portland. Starring Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie and Ben Foster, the film is based on Portland author Peter Rock's 2004 based-on-real-events book, "My Abandonment."
It portrays the story of a father and daughter who lived in Forest Park for years before being caught by Portland police, their lives disrupted as they try to adjust to societal norms.
So far, "Leave No Trace" has garnered rave reviews for its acting, storytelling and cinematography. There's no word on screenings or release date yet.
• Season 2 of "American Vandal" currently is shooting in Portland, with two new pilots gearing up. The Netflix satire of a true-crime documentary launched last fall. Vanity Fair has called it "Netflix's best new show."
Cast Iron Studios, which also cast "Grimm" and "The Librarians," has been casting Portland extras for the second season of "American Vandal," now filming around town.
• The TNT fantasy-adventure series, "The Librarians," about a group of nerdy superheroes, is still filming in and around Portland, currently airing its fourth season. As with "Leverage" and other shows, half the fun for local viewers is spotting the Portland locations, which have included beneath the St. Johns Bridge and a cafe in downtown Gresham.
Williams says Oregon Film is working with a couple of other projects for the summer and fall, but can't yet release information on those until the producers give the green light.
In the meantime, Oregon Film turns 50 this year, and to celebrate, you can pop into the Hollywood Theatre's PDX Airport Cinema to catch a three-minute compilation of the 109 years of film, TV, animation, commercial and interactive production in the state.
The clips include everything from the earliest silent films to the latest Oscar-nominated "Kubo and the Two Strings" by Hillsboro's Laika studios.
The airport cinema is on Concourse C at Portland International Airport.
For more: www.oregonfilm.org.