NW Film Center reopens Whitsell Auditorium with matinees celebrating Cinema Unbound Awards honorees

The Whitsell Auditorium at the Portland Art Museum will reopen on February 26, 2022, with weekend matinee programming from the Northwest Film Center featuring work by this year’s Cinema Unbound Awards honorees—Not Content To Be Contained: Work by the Cinema Unbound Awardees 2022.

The Northwest Film Center’s annual Cinema Unbound Awards honor groundbreaking multi-media artists, industry, and activists working at the intersection of art and film. This year’s recipients, Carrie Brownstein, Reinaldo Marcus Green, Arthur Lewis, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Shirin Neshat, and Roger Ross Williams will be honored at an in-person event at the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon on March 8, 2022. This event is an annual fundraiser that supports the Northwest Film Center’s work to cultivate unbound artistry locally, regionally, and nationally.

In advance of the Cinema Unbound Awards event, the Film Center’s Not Content To Be Contained weekend matinee series will present public screenings of acclaimed, innovative work by this year’s honorees. February 26–27 screenings include director Reinaldo Marcus Green’s King Richard, freshly nominated for 2022 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (Will Smith) and Best Supporting Actress (Aunjanue Ellis); director Roger Ross Williams’ Life, Animated, winner of the Sundance Film Festival Directing Award; and a sneak preview of director Shirin Neshat’s political satire Land of Dreams co-starring Isabella Rossellini, who will present Neshat’s award at the March 8 event. On March 5 the Film Center will show producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s The Mitchells Vs. The Machines, a 2022 Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature, and The Nowhere Inn, co-starring honoree Carrie Brownstein. On March 6 the 2021 Northwest Film Center Sustainability Labs Showcase will present new work and readings by the five fellows of the Film Center’s new Sustainability Labs initiative, which supports the creative careers of artists working at the intersection of art and cinematic storytelling.

“We are thrilled to throw the doors wide open and welcome film and art lovers, as well as all folks excited by cinematic stories in all their wild and wonderful forms.” said Amy Dotson, Northwest Film Director. “And kicking off the reopening of the Whitsell by featuring work by our 2022 Cinema Unbound Awards honorees—visionary artists not content to be contained—will bring film, animation, kids programming and experimental media to Portland. Like the incredible folks we are honoring, we look forward to leaping into an untold tomorrow unleashed from past expectations of what can or has or should be.” 

Ongoing matinee programming will continue in March with the upcoming Tilda-Whirl, a celebration of the ever-evolving performances of Tilda Swinton. 

As the Film Center and Museum continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic, and to allow time to re-imagine the event to match a new era and mission, the 2022 Portland International Film Festival is being postponed. The Festival, which usually takes place in March, will be re-envisioned for 2023 to broaden its cinematic reach in film, animation, multimedia and artistic storytelling of all forms. 

In the interim, film and new media creatives can look forward to continued opportunities through Co:Laboratory classes, upcoming adult and youth summer camps, and career-building programs like the new Sustainability Labs. The Film Center has continued to offer streaming, drive-in, and participatory cinema experiences throughout the pandemic, including nearly 200 screenings to more than 15,000 people and produced 25 multi-media youth and adult classes. 

COVID-19 safety protocols for the Whitsell Auditorium include requirements for face coverings and either proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative result from a PCR test for COVID-19 taken within 72 hours of event admission. Learn more. Audiences will choose assigned seats when purchasing a ticket online. Additionally, the Whitsell Auditorium and all spaces throughout the Museum have high quality HVAC that circulates air at 133,440 CFM cubic feet per minute of triple filtered air. CO2 monitors also automatically adjust for conditions. 

Tickets can be purchased HERE.

Not Content To Be Contained: Work by the Cinema Unbound Awardees 2022

Saturday, February 26, noon 

A Pay What You Wish Screening

Life, Animated, dir. Roger Ross Williams, 2016, PG, 1hr. 32 mins. 

An Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary 2017, Life, Animated is a coming-of-age story of a boy and his family who turn Disney animated movies into language to express love, loss, kinship, and brotherhood. Directed by 2022 Cinema Unbound Awards honoree Roger Ross Williams.

Saturday, February 26, 3 p.m. 

King Richard, dir. Reinaldo Marcus Green, 2021, PG-13, 2 hr. 24 mins.

A 2022 Academy Award nominee for Best Picture and led by the incredible performances of Will Smith (2022 Best Actor nominee) and Aunjanue Ellis (2022 Best Supporting Actress nominee), this biographical drama charts Venus and Serena Williams’ rise to fame and their father Richard’s unyielding commitment to turning his daughters into tennis superstars. Directed by 2022 Cinema Unbound Awards honoree Reinaldo Marcus Green.

Sunday February 27, 3 p.m.

SNEAK PREVIEW! Land of Dreams, dir. Shirin Neshat and Shoja Azari, 2021, NR, 1 hr. 54 mins. 

A political satire set in the near future in which America has closed its borders and the most important agency, the census bureau, enlists agents to catch the dreams of citizens. Starring Isabella Rossellini, Shelia Vand, and Matt Dillon. Directed by 2022 Cinema Unbound Awards honoree Shirin Neshat.

 Saturday, March 5, noon

The Mitchells Vs. The Machines, dir. Michael Rianda, 2021, PG, 1 hr. 54 mins. 

This 2022 Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature follows a fantastical, dysfunctional family whose road trip is upended when they find themselves in the middle of the robot apocalypse and suddenly become humanity’s unlikeliest last hope. Featuring the voice talents of Abbi Jacobson, Olivia Coleman, Eric Andre, Maya Rudolph and Danny McBride. Produced by 2022 Cinema Unbound Awards honorees Phil Lord and Chris Miller.

Saturday, March 5, 3 p.m.

The Nowhere Inn, dir. Bil Benz, 2020, NR 1 hr. 31 mins.

A mockumentary about renowned musician St. Vincent, who hires her close friend Carrie Brownstein to create a documentary about her music leading to the lines of reality, identity, and authenticity to blur. Co-starring 2022 Cinema Unbound Awards honoree Carrie Brownstein.

Sunday, March 6, noon – 5 p.m.

2021 Northwest Film Center Sustainability Labs Showcase

Noon – 2 p.m. Feature films and clips

3 p.m. – 5 p.m. Live reading 

Discover new talent first! Join the five 2021 Sustainability Labs fellows in this two-part program where they will present short clips, films, trailers, and a live reading for a new feature film. Fellows will also speak about their unique practices and take questions from the audience. The Northwest Film Center’s Sustainability Labs support the creative careers of artists working at the intersection of art and cinematic storytelling. This is a pay-what-you-wish screening, and admission includes both programs.