Women-Directed Documentaries Screening at the Portland International Film Festival!

This year at the Portland International Film Festival, there’s a wealth of documentary films directed by women! Check out some of them below (or put them on your Netflix queue for later)!

Léa Pool - Canada
Screening: Wed, Feb 22 at 8:30 PM (Cinema 21); Sat, Feb 25 at 3:30 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)

“There are plenty of women who’ll want to see it. And they’ll be seeing red, not pink.”—Variety

In the wake of the Susan G. Komen kerfuffle, the release of Léa Pool’s documentary on the industry behind the pinkwashing of breast cancer awareness is a must-see—even the trailer gives you chills. (Psst…tune in for our Friday podcast for Bitch Media’s take on Pink Ribbons, Inc.!)

Kimi Takesue - Uganda/US
Screening: Sun, Feb 19 at 5 PM (World Trade Center Theater)

“Takesue’s beautifully meditative work is aware of its outsider status… Lovely transitions, via image and sound, and striking compositions make the pic an enriching experience.”—Variety

Asian-American filmmaker Kimi Takesue describes the title of her film, which captures daily life in Uganda, as “a question that applies to the viewer, the Ugandans in the film, and to myself as the filmmaker.” With appreciation and awareness of representation, appropriation, and filmmaking, this film is a respectful observation from an outsider that’s beautiful to watch.

Roland Legiardi-Laura, Deborah Shaffer, Edwin Martinez - United States
Screening: Mon, Feb 20 at 2:30 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)

“So damned genuine; a great example of good documentary filmmaking.”—IndieWire

This documentary follows three Bronx teens—Karina, Pearl, and Anthony—for four years, capturing their love of spoken word from the writing workshop to the stage.

Corinna Belz - Germany
Screening: Sat, Feb 18 at 3 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)

Corrina Belz’s documentary follows German painter Gerhard Richter in his studio, whose five decades of abstract and expressionistic painting makes him a living legend of the art world. By seeing the artist at work in his studio, watching paint dry may never be as inspiring.

Bess Kargman - United States
Screening: Thu, Feb 23 at 6 PM (Cinema 21); Fri, Feb 24 at 3:30 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)

“To be so devoted to your art, especially when you are obviously gifted at a young age, makes First Position an enthralling documentary—even for viewers who have little interest in dance.” —The Women’s International Perspective

This documentary follows six young ballet stars who have come from all over the world to compete in the Youth America Grand Prix, the leading competition of young dancers. The back stories of these young performers end up taking center stage.

Linda Goldstein Knowlton - United States
Screening: Sun, Feb 19 at 12 PM (World Trade Center Theater); Wed, Feb 22 at 6:15 PM (Cinema 21)

After adopting her daughter Ruby from China, Linda Knowlton wanted to follow the lives of other women who have grown up in the United States after being adopted from China. It’s not a film that asks hard questions about international adoption, but it does feature four young women who straddle two worlds with strength.

Marina Goldovskaya - United States

“Profoundly moving, politically provocative and apt to provoke moral outrage in anyone short of Vladimir Putin.”—Variety

Unfortunately, the one screening of this doc has already come and gone at PIFF, but keep a look out for this powerful documentary anyway. Anna Politkovskaya was a Russian journalist and whistleblower who ultimately paid for her groundbreaking, dangerous coverage with her life (she was murdered in 2006—the case remains unsolved). Filmmakers Goldovskaya, a longtime friend of this true, contemporary freedom fighter, crafted this film from over 20 years’ worth of footage that mixes intimate scenes with political context.

The Portland International Film Festival, February 9-25, NW Film Center, NWFilm.org.

The 35th Annual Portland International Film Festival runs February 9-25 in theaters across Portland. Learn more at NWFilm.org.

by Kjerstin Johnson
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Kjerstin Johnson is a writer and editor in Portland, Oregon. She is the former editor in chief of Bitch. She tweets at @kajerstin

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