The Water's Fine at PDX
A new video short about the Human Access Project's crusade to promote swimming in the downtown stretch of the Willamette River is being shown at Portland International Airport. It's one of 13 shorts in the new lineup there, based on Oregon themes or created by local talent.
"The Water's Fine," a nearly five-minute piece about the nonprofit Human Access Project founded and led by Ringleader Willie Levenson, is part of the fifth round of shorts to play at The Hollywood Theatre Micro Cinema at the airport, which opened last year. It's an intimate 17-seat facility in Concourse C, which provides a fun and edifying diversion while awaiting a flight.
The film was produced via the Portland-based Media Institute for Social Change's Summer Documentary Program. It's one of 13 film shorts slated to show between now and the end of summer at the airport theater.
Though the 13 shorts began showing at the airport on May 7 in a soft launch, they will be formally presented Monday, May 14, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the main Hollywood Theatre on 4035 N.E. Sandy Blvd., with many of the filmmakers in attendance to answer questions, says Alison Hallett, marketing director for the Hollywood Theatre.
"This is a really diverse lineup this time around," Hallett says. "I think it represents the depth of local talent."
The tiny theater is open 24/7 and always seems to have people inside watching, she says. "We have heard that people started getting to the airport early to make sure they have time to get to the theatre."
Others in the new round of shorts are:
"• Armor del Amor," Kirk Kelley
From world-renowned animation studio HouseSpecial and Director Kirk Kelley comes a kind of nature "documentary" that follows the mating rituals of Dasypus novemcinctus (the nine-banded female armadillo) to reveal the dark underbelly of modern mammalian dating.
• "Roost: The Crows of Downtown Portland," Irene Hess
As dusk falls, thousands of crows descend upon Portland's park blocks. This "murder of crows" is explored through the eyes of a child, then further explained by a specialist from Portland's Audubon Society.
• "Fossil Radio," Tommy Harrington/Sean Flinn & the Royal We
Not unlike Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf or the Wizard of Oz, we follow the singer, Sean Flinn, as the Fossil Radio carries him on a journey through past and present, fantasy and reality, only to find his bandmates pulling all the strings. The film fuses long, choreographed takes in a 1963 Buick Wildcat with digital rear-projection of 8mm and 16mm film footage dating back to the 1950s — actual footage from the childhoods of the singer and his father, who also appears in the film.
• "In My Home," Cheryl Green
Created for the Free Our People Film Contest at the Center for Disability Rights, "In My Home" brings to the surface the systemic bias in the U.S. toward institutionalizing people with disabilities. This documentary is a quiet exploration of home, color, choice, and love.
• "Relive The Oregon Trail," Great Big Story
One of the most iconic computer games of your youth was actually created before computers existed. The first version was essentially played on a typewriter — this is the story of "Oregon Trail."
• "River Gold," Brady Holden
"River Gold" follows your not-so-typical Pacific Northwest angler, Olivier Gandzadi, who is obsessed with catching what most Americans label as a trash fish — the common carp. Raised in Paris, Olivier has brought his passion to the Pacific Northwest, where he's found a deep connection with the Columbia River.
• "Warehouse Samba," Gabriel Shalom
Video sampling and synchronized audiovisual counterpoint create a fusion of contact improvisation and musique concrete. A trio of dancers move through an empty industrial warehouse. www.gabrielshalom.com
• "Death," Shelley Short
This is a music video for a song called "Death," written by Shelley Short and recorded by Peter Broderick out on the Oregon Coast. The video was shot and edited by film maker Lena Rush who is based out of Chicago, Illinois.
• "Rajneeshees in Oregon," John Rosman
Thousands of people from around the world came to a remote stretch of Oregon to build a thriving city. It was created to fulfil a vision from an Indian spiritual leader, and in five years, it would all come crumbling down with convictions of attempted murder and the largest bio-terrorist attack in U.S. history.
• "Oregon: Only Slightly Exaggerated," Travel Oregon
From Travel Oregon and Wieden + Kennedy comes this anime-inspired look at Oregon's attractions — only slightly exaggerated.
• "The Famished Frog," Shelby Menzel
A stop-motion short by Shelby Menzel. Watch as a unique frog has a hard time catching something to eat.
• "Soar," Ryan Ao
Soaring over Oregon via a drone can be like a meditation, flying in a slow, smooth motion over this lush, green, beautiful state in this wonderful new perspective of touring Oregon. Film by Ryan Al www.ryanao.com/soaroregon. Music by Brent McCune www.brentmccunemusic.com. Dedicated to Pat Kubin (1958-2018).
• To see what's currently playing at the airport cinema:
• To view "The Water's Fine": www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4EWC-4C3H
• The Human Access Project is organizing its eighth-annual Big Float on the Willametter River on July 14. For more information: www.thebigfloat.com
• Hollywood Theatre is always looking for new submissions to air at the airport, Hallett said. For more information: filmfreeway.com/HollywoodTheatrePDX