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Oregon Film Luminaries to Kick Off Sesquicentennial Film Festival

For Release: April 16, 2009

Three of the biggest names in Oregon film will launch a week-long tribute to our state's significant contributions to the movie industry as part of Oregon's sesquicentennial celebration.

Filmmakers James Ivory and Gus Van Sant and screenwriter Mike Rich will open the Oregon Sesquicentennial Film Festival at Marylhurst on Friday, May 1 with a special event at the Mission Theater at 1624 NW Glisan in Portland.

Rich will join Marylhurst University President Judi Johansen at 6 p.m. for a special reception open to all ticket holders, and launch the festival at 7 p.m. by sharing his story of moving from radio news reporter and anchor to successful screenwriter. Rich's remarks will be followed by a conversation with Ivory and Van Sant, who will show clips of several of Ivory's films, including a sneak preview of a portion of Ivory's new movie, The City of Your Final Destination.

Film festival activities will continue through May 10 on the Marylhurst University campus on Highway 43 one mile south of Lake Oswego. KINK-FM is a presenting sponsor of the 10-day festival.

"All of us at Marylhurst are thrilled to be hosting this special event that showcases Oregon history through film," said Johansen. "I'm particularly pleased that James Ivory, Gus Van Sant and Mike Rich can join us on opening night. Each of them has made a lasting contribution to film in our state, and has solidified Oregon's reputation as an incubator of artistic creativity."

Film festival curators Dennis Nyback and Anne Richardson have created a program that highlights Oregon's contributions to film through the decades, from the end of the silent movie era in the 1930s to the animation boom of the current decade.

"When people think of Oregon film, they think of Oregon as a location. We want to open that definition up to include films with Oregon actors, directors, musicians and animators," said Nyback. "We didn't choose the films people are most familiar with. We chose films which show off the wide range of Oregon's contribution to American film history."

Nyback and Richardson will end the festival with the presentation on May 10 of the Gold Coyote Super Short Film & Video Awards, honoring the best films with a running time of five minutes or less. More than 50 entries have been submitted in the competition.

In addition to the opening and closing night activities, highlights of the festival include:

• A screening of Shakespeare Wallah, the low-budget film that catapulted the career of James Ivory, who was born in Klamath Falls. Ivory will be on hand for a pre-screening reception and to introduce and discuss the film. He'll also show a clip from his latest movie, The City of Your Final Destination. (May 2)

• A day with Oregon City native and two-time Oscar nominee Bill Plympton, who will curate two animation workshops, teach a Master Class and host a screening of his 2008 film, Idiots and Angels. (May 3)

• Special appearances by Portland playwright Tad Savinar before and after the screening of the 1988 movie Talk Radio, directed by Oliver Stone and based on Savinar's play. (May 5)

• A screening of Portland filmmaker Penny Allen's 2007 Iraq war documentary The Soldier's Tale, followed by a discussion with Jason Faler, an Oregon National Guardsman who created an organization to help relocate Iraqi citizens to the United States. (May 6)

• A screening of the nearly lost 1930 film City Girl (shot in Athena, Oregon), complete with a new score composed by Marylhurst University music department chair John Paul and performed by a local quartet. (May 8)

• A special appearance by Portland-born director Chris Eyre as part of the screening of his first feature film, Smoke Signals, based on the novel by Sherman Alexie. (May 9)

A complete list of film festival activities is available on the Oregon Sesquicentennial Film Festival Web site and on the Marylhurst University Web site. MEDIA NOTE: There have been a few changes to the film festival calendar of events since early April, so please check the Web site to confirm all activities, dates and times.

Tickets for most events range from $10 to $15, with special rates for students and senior citizens. Tickets can be purchased online through Brown Paper Tickets on the film festival Web site.

About Marylhurst University

Marylhurst University, a private liberal arts university located one mile south of Lake Oswego on Highway 43, is regionally accredited and nationally recognized for innovation and academic excellence. Marylhurst's small, seminar-style classes – offered weekdays, evening, weekends and online – provide convenience and flexibility for students with busy lives seeking professional certificates and undergraduate and graduate degrees.

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