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32nd Annual Portland International Film Festival
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Films & Schedules - United States

Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 6:30 PM (B3)

Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 7 PM (B3)

The Garden

DIRECTOR: Scott Hamilton Kennedy - United States

The focal point of Scott Hamilton Kennedy's impassioned film is a 14-acre community garden, once the nation's largest, in South Central Los Angeles.  Following the riots of 1992, an embattled group of mostly Latin-American immigrants known as the South Central Farmers turned a vacant lot at the corner of 41st and Alameda into a repository of civic pride, beans, corn, papaya trees, and more--along with seeds of hope for their families.  But five years ago, a developer began making plans to raze their oasis and thus their dreams.  Kennedy takes us into the heart of the battle to save the...

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Tue, Feb 17, 2009
at 6:15 PM (WH)

Goodbye Solo

DIRECTOR: Ramin Bahrani - United States

Solo (Souleymane Sy Savane) is a loquacious Senegalese taxi driver living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who dreams of becoming a flight attendant.  One night he strikes up an unlikely rapport with a taciturn older passenger, William (Red West), who cryptically asks Solo to pick him up again in two weeks and take him up to Blowing Rock, a cliff-top view point.  Solo suspects that William plans to jump, and takes it upon himself to try to befriend the man and help him find a new lease on life.  Solo's cajoling is unappreciated, and his efforts are complicated by the demands...

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Thu, Feb 19, 2009
at 9 PM (WH)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 3 PM (B1)

The Great Buck Howard

DIRECTOR: Sean McGinley - United States

Troy, a young law school dropout, answers an ad for a "personal assistant to a celebrity performer," hoping it will catapult him into a glamorous career in the entertainment industry.  Little does he know that the performer is a "mentalist" prima donna infamous for his 61 performances on the Tonight Show.  John Malkovich revels in his over-the-top performance as Howard, who is counting on the debut of an astounding new trick to trigger a comeback.  In an inspired bit of casting, Tom Hanks plays Troy's father, who ironically disapproves of show business, and Emily Blunt is the fiery publicist hired...

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Wed, Feb 18, 2009
at 6 PM (WH)

Thu, Feb 19, 2009
at 6:45 PM (B4)

Idiots and Angels

DIRECTOR: Bill Plympton - United States

Plympton's latest cartoon noir--what he calls an "intimate one man film"--tells the provocative tale of Angel, a cruel, misanthropic, sex-hungry, gun-dealing businessman who hangs out at his local bar, berating the other patrons.  One day Angel, much to his dismay, mysteriously wakes up with a pair of wings on his back.  The wings gradually spur him into doing good deeds for the fellow inhabitants of his suburban world of dive bars and seedy unhappiness.  Unfortunately he is shot by Bart, the nasty bartender, who then has a doctor sew the wings onto his own back and uses them to his...

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Fri, Feb 13, 2009
at 6:15 PM (B3)

Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 1:30 PM (B3)

In a Dream

DIRECTOR: Jeremiah Zagar - United States

Winner of the audience award at the South by Southwest Film Festival, In a Dream takes us on an intimate, visceral journey into the world of artist Isaiah Zagar, the director's father, who over the course of four decades has covered more than 50,000 square feet of Philadelphia with stunning mosaic murals.  Beyond exploring the artist's astounding life's work, the film chronicles his tumultuous relationship with his wife and the implosion of a marriage.  As it turns from a character study ingo an incredibly personal, stirring drama, In a Dream explores both the power of art and the mysteries of...

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Mon, Feb 16, 2009
at 4:15 PM (B3)

Thu, Feb 19, 2009
at 6 PM (B3)

Milking the Rhino

DIRECTOR: David E. Simpson - United States

Dispelling the prevailing western myth of Africa as a sort of wilderness theme park populated by people who despoil the land and slaughter endangered species, Milking the Rhino tells the inside story of Africa's environmental revolution and community-based conservation efforts.  Director Simpson follows members of two tribes, the Masai of Kenya and the Himba of Namibia, through fledgling plans to balance their ancient cattle-based economies with new initiatives for a lucrative eco-tourism industry.  The triumphs and the perils of this risky endeavor play out against the backdrop of some of the most sumptuously beautiful footage of Africa ever put on...

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Mon, Feb 16, 2009
at 6 PM (WH)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 2:15 PM (WH)

Pressure Cooker

DIRECTOR: Jennifer Grausman, Mark Becker - United States

Fighting to overcome the challenges of broken homes, abusive relationships and financial burdens, three inner-city seniors and Philadelphia's Frankford High School find an unlikely champion in Wilma Stephenson, cooking instructor.  A legend in the school system, Mrs. Stephenson is a force to be reckoned with, and her boot camp method of teaching the culinary arts is not for the faint of heart.  Under her fierce direction, the usual distractions of high school--the cheerleading practices, football games, and school dances---are swept aside as the students prepare for a citywide cooking competition to win scholarships to some of the country's top culinary...

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Thu, Feb 19, 2009
at 6 PM (WH)

Sat, Feb 21, 2009
at 2:15 PM (WH)

Sugar

DIRECTOR: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck - United States

Every year, hundreds of aspiring baseball talents from the Dominican Republic are drafted into minor teams in the U.S. Sugar follows Miguel Santos, a player struggling to make it to the big leagues and pull his family out of poverty.  Traveling from his tight-knit community to a small town in Iowa, Miguel struggles to make his living in a language he doesn't speak, and as the dream of making it to the majors starts to fade, he must question his choices.  What starts out as a classic rags-to-riches sports story turns into a much more complex and realistic examination of...

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Thu, Feb 12, 2009
at 9:15 PM (B2)

Sat, Feb 14, 2009
at 8:30 PM (B2)

Treeless Mountain

DIRECTOR: So Yong Kim - United States

Inspired by childhood events, Treeless Mountain has been described by So Yong Kim as a letter to her mother.  The film tells a poignant emotional story of growing up in the Korean countryside and the joys, worries, and hurts of early childhood.  Sent by their impoverished mother in Seoul to live with an aunt in a small village, six-year-old Jin and her younger sister Bin find themselves at the mercy of their selfish, alcoholic "Big Aunt."  Reduced to selling fried grasshoppers to earn money, their misery is compounded when their mother writes to say that she cannot take them back...

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Fri, Feb 6, 2009
at 9:30 PM (WH)

Sun, Feb 8, 2009
at 7:45 PM (B3)

Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love

DIRECTOR: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi - United States

Youssou Ndour has been one of the brightest--and most courageous--stars in African music for over three decades.  Youssou was born into the West African griot tradition, in which musicians themselves must earn and command the status position of stateman.  His mélange of meringue, hip-hop, juju and funk manages to get everyone from prime ministers to street kids into his singular groove.  Vasarhelyi's film centers on the creation of his 9/11-inspired "Egypt," a joyous pan-African album in praise of the prophets and saints that gives Islam a human and smiling face.  Shocking backlash at home in predominantly Muslim Senegal takes the...

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