Portland

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As a recent transplant to Portland, OR, one of the many things I’ve come to appreciate about the city is the incredibly diverse, affordable, and delicious food scene. But this ain’t no food blog, so thankfully I’ve also fallen hard for the local movie houses. The area’s populated with numerous theaters showcasing films new and old, foreign and domestic, wide release and independent. As rewarding as it’s already been, I’m about to be even more spoiled. Portland’s International Film Festival (PIFF) returns next week for its 37th year (official site), and its 104 feature films and 24 shorts promise something for everyone. Welcome to the Northwest Film Center’s 37th annual showcase of new world cinema! The Portland International Film Festival explores not only the art of film but also the world around us. The cultural diversity, the extraordinary range of subjects, genres, and experiences explored—for all ages and from matinee to midnight—invite exploration and discovery, movie-lover or not. We welcome you to join in this shared cinematic and community experience.” Keep reading for a look at the fest’s (unintentionally) eerie teaser video and some of the scheduled film highlights.

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Editor’s note: With FSR favorite ParaNorman opening today, we thought it was only appropriate to re-post our very special set visit from the film, originally posted on May 21, 2012. I recently visited a nondescript building outside Portland, Oregon that would feel right at home in any corporate office park in America. Nothing about the bland, uninteresting exterior even hinted at what to expect beyond the front doors. There’s no sign outside to tell you where you are. No iconic sculptures alluding to what they do inside. Nothing at all that even hints at the harmonious blend of magic and technology within. But make no mistake, what LAIKA Studios is hiding inside those four generic-looking walls is nothing short of a revolution in film production…a revolution 115 years in the making. LAIKA is the studio behind 2009’s critical and commercial hit, Coraline, a film that utilized creepy but beautiful stop-motion puppetry to tell Neil Gaiman’s dark childhood fable. Their follow-up feature is an original work called ParaNorman. It’s an Amblin-like tale of a small New England town, a very special boy who can see and talk with the dead, and a zombie uprising that threatens to destroy them all. And yes, it’s a comedy. Keep reading for a peek behind the scenes of LAIKA Studios’ upcoming production, ParaNorman, and their secret, high-tech weapon…Rapid Prototype 3D printers.

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