The Best of the 44th Northwest Filmmakers' Festival will be on display at the home of Bag&Baggage.

COURTESY PHOTO - The Best of the 44th Northwest Filmmakers' Festival comes to Hillsboro with screenings of several award-winning short films made by Pacific Northwest filmmakers.Hillsboro's Vault Theater is getting artsy next weekend, with a screening of several locally made short films, as part of a new partnership with the Northwest Film Center.

The home of Hillsboro's professional theater company, Bag&Baggage, will be showing the center's "Best of the 44th Northwest Filmmakers' Festival" at the Vault Theater, 350 E. Main St., in downtown Hillsboro, Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m., followed by a series of films by young filmmakers Sunday, April 15.

The films are a juried cross-section of the best short films screened during the center's annual Filmmakers' Festival, which was held in November. Each film is made by Pacific Northwest artists.

The films are being screened at the theater as part of the Vault's "Films for Five" series, which presents low-cost screenings of art house films and classic movies for $5.

The Vault began showing films last winter, when the theater screened a collection of holiday classics, including "A Christmas Story," "It's a Wonderful Life" and "The Muppet Christmas Carol." That screening brought Bag&Baggage to the attention of the Northwest Film Center, according to the theater company's founder and artistic director, Scott Palmer.

"They thought it was awesome," he said. "They wanted to talk about doing more with the theater."

The film screenings on Friday and Saturday include eight films each day, including films by Beaverton filmmaker McKenzie Blake and Portland filmmakers Jodi Darby and David Koesters. The short films range in length from three minutes to a half hour, Palmer said.

"It has everything from dramas to comedies," Palmer said. "My favorite is called 'A Mew Hope' — it's a take on 'Star Wars,' about a woman and her cat, who is also a starship, and she has to escape a planet that's overrun by pugs. It's hilarious, and amazing."

Palmer said it is important to provide a space for artistic filmmaking in Washington County.

"There are lots of big theaters where you can see the newest 'Star Wars' or superhero movie, but Hillsboro doesn't have many options for boutique art house cinema," Palmer said. "Art house films are not things you can get anywhere, except in downtown Portland."

On Sunday, April 15, at 2 p.m. The Vault will give younger filmmakers their turn with a screening of Fresh Film NW, the Northwest Film Center's youth component. The screening will features a showcase of teen-produced short video work in a variety of genres. The films were made by teenagers age 13-19 in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

"It's going to be a lot of fun." Palmer said.

Eventually, Palmer said, he'd like to expand the "Films for Five" series to include more classic films, Bollywood films, and other screenings. If the program at the Vault proves successful, Palmer said he he'd like to eventually put on a Hillsboro Film Festival, with films made exclusively by local filmmakers.

"We want to make a Hillsboro-specific celebration of filmmaking," Palmer said. "That's the hope."

Bag&Baggage moved into the Vault Theater last year, after years at The Venetian Theatre nearby in downtown. Palmer said introducing more film screenings alongside the live theater is a great way to support Washington County's art scene.

"We're bringing in audiences that may not have an interest in live theater, but there are lots of people that love cinema," he said.

Tickets for all screenings are $5 and are available online at or by calling 503-345 9590.

By Geoff Pursinger
Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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