The finale was a documentary about local resident Natasha, who uses a device to communicate

Canby Film Fest 2019, a Canby Public Library Foundation fundraiser, featured 14 short films from Oregon makers in a spectrum of styles: from animated to completely silent, to documentary films and more in between.

The crowd of eager viewers nearly filled Theater 7 at Canby Cinema on Wednesday, Oct. 9. While the caliber of the show was fit for a larger stage, those who did attend were in for a treat with a few definite highlights.

"The Talk" was one such highlight. Phillip A. Anderson, of Portlandia fame according to his IMDB page, is the filmmaker behind this short work.

In "The Talk," the main character, Marcelle, has been living with a secret and she finally decides to come out to her parents.

Spoiler alert: Marcelle's secret is that unlike each of her parents, she is not a mime. No, she loves words — even "moist."

Cheesy as the plot may sound, this well-acted, well-produced film was a clear crowd favorite.

"The Talk" is yet to be released to general audiences.

Another standout was Portland Filmmaker Sean Parker's "Word on the Street."

COURTESY PHOTO: SEAN PARKER - Actors Austin Hillebrecht (left) and Conor Eifler portray two mobsters who are arguing over which word is the 'Word on the Street' in this short by Sean Parker.

This one starts in a dark alley, where two mobsters meet up to argue over what word is in fact the word on the street. One says it's "implication," while the other insists it's "insinuation." What follows is a wordplay battle wherein the mobsters use as many words as possible that end in "-ation."

When one of the mobsters reveals his source of information was Mickey Moo Face, well, the other mobster responds with quite a communication about the probable misinformation.

"Mickey Moo Face wouldn't know the word on the street if it made a confirmation of its pronunciation in a presentation of declaration right in front of his very eyes in a national syndication's major publication," the mobster argues. "And that's no exaggeration."

This film was released in July and is available for anyone's viewing pleasure on YouTube. Watch below.

Ending the night was a film that tugged on local heartstrings.

"Natasha's Voice," by Portland Filmmaker Zach Putnam in partnership with Community Vision, is about 29-year-old Canby resident Natasha, who experienced brain damage as the result of a car crash when she was just a baby.

The damage was extensive enough that it would prevent Natasha from speaking.

"What if you're suddenly thrown into the idea that your child is never going to communicate with you?" is the line Natasha's mother speaks to open the film. "The right to communicate is a human right," she says later. "It's important that every human has that right."

Fortunately, Natasha maintained excellent cognitive ability and is able to use augmentative and alternative communication. In other words, she uses a device to speak.

"People will see the physical disabilities, but don't underestimate her," Natasha's mother says in the film. "She understands just about everything."

While Natasha's voice is computerized, still it's her own and is recognizable as such. In the film, Natasha visits one of her favorite spots, Gwynn's Coffeehouse.

"Did I hear Natasha's voice out here?" Gwynn's owner Mallory Gwynn can be heard saying before he comes out to greet and hug his "buddy."

NATASHA'S VOICE - Mallory Gwynn embraces local resident Natasha in Zach Putnam's documentary 'Natasha's Voice.'

The film goes on to highlight a couple of Natasha's hobbies, including her latest, which is talking to friends via video chat.

"It would be very frustrating to not have a voice to tell people what I want, how I feel and for me to ask how they are," Natasha says in the film.

The heartwarming documentary is available on YouTube. Check it out right here.

The film fest was made possible by the library foundation and its supporters, Canby TV-5 and Canby Cinema 8, all with the goal of helping one of Canby's central organizations, its public library.

Prior to the start of the Film Fest, foundation board member Jon Dragt had addressed the audience to remind all about the importance of the library and why the foundation is determined to create an endowment fund to support the library.

"Almost all the cities in Oregon are struggling to make ends meet with increasing costs and not increasing revenue," Dragt said. "Recently, the library has had to be closed on Sundays due to lack of resources and money. We also have lost the bilingual outreach position as well, which is really unfortunate because the library is such a great place in which we can bring everybody that lives in our community and integrate them into the community.

"It just goes to show that there is a need for supporting our library and they're up against diminishing resources," he said.

Through the film fest and other fundraising efforts, the foundation hopes to eventually raise $2 million.

"And we're a long ways off from that, but every year we are making progress toward that goal," Dragt said. "We want to build an endowment fund that will always be there as a memorial to the people who have given to it and that every year will give money to this valuable community resource (the library)."

To find out more about the foundation, visit

Kristen Wohlers
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