Northwest Film Center

Northwest Film Center
NW Film Center - Portland, Oregon.JPG
Established1971; 49 years ago (1971) (as Northwest Film Study Center)
1977; 43 years ago (1977) (as Northwest Film Center)
Location934 SW Salmon St.
Portland, Oregon, U.S.

The Northwest Film Center (NWFC) is a regional media arts resource and service organization based in Portland, Oregon, United States that was founded to encourage the study, appreciation, and utilization of film. The center provides a variety of film and video exhibition, education and information programs primarily directed to the residents of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.


The center was founded as the Northwest Film Study Center in 1971,[1] and incorporated into the Portland Art Museum in 1978.[2]

The center was located in Portland's historic Guild Theatre from 1998 to 2006.[3]

Sponsors of the center include the National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Cultural Trust, Washington State Arts Commission, Regional Arts & Culture Council, The Ted R. Gamble Film Endowment, The Rose E. Tucker Charitable Trust, The Paul G. Allen Foundation for the Arts, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission.


The Center offers college credit in association with Portland State University, Marylhurst University, and the Pacific Northwest College of Art.[4] [5] The core program contains about 20 classes covering fundamentals of video, film, sound, lighting, editing, screenwriting, post production, animation, stop motion and other aspects. Classes are also available to members of the public who satisfy prerequisites. Classes begin three times per year. Most classes are one day a week and have sections either in the afternoon or at night, and usually last about 13 weeks.There are also several certificate-based curricula equivalent to a degree in fine arts which take two to four years to complete.

There are three levels of the certificate program. All require the same four core classes: Art of Filmmaking (using 8 mm film), Digital Video Editing (with final cut pro), Shooting Digital Video, and Sound Recording and Post. A final project is required for each level, which is made over a two-term period (in the winter and the summer) in a class called advanced production and advanced editing. The final projects are shown at the Portland Art Museum Whitsell Auditorium in the Fall.

One elective class is required for level 1, and two elective classes are required for levels 2 and 3. Level 2 requires three additional classes -- Narrative Traditions, Documentary Forms & Visions, and Experimental Film & Video. Level 3 adds a requirement for a class on 16 mm. In addition, 10 - 12 hours of workshop time is required for level 1, 15 - 20 hours of workshop time required for level 2, and 20+ hours of workshop time required for level 3. Workshops are short classes lasting an afternoon or an entire day offered periodically throughout the year, often by visiting filmmakers. As all of the classes have sections in the evenings, it is possible to complete the certificate program while working full-time. The school's 36 instructors are mostly working filmmakers with several hundred years total experience.[6]

The film center rents a wide range of filmmaking equipment to students, artists, and for commercial use. Preference is to the school's students.[7] It has standard video, super 8, and 16 mm film equipment, along with a full range of sound capture, lighting, electrical supplies.[8]


Events at the NWFC include the Portland International Film Festival, the Northwest Filmmakers' Festival, Reel Music Film Festival, Portland Jewish Film Festival and the Young People's Film Festival.

Past judges of the Northwest Filmmakers' Festival (previously known as the Northwest Film and Video Festival) have included Gus Van Sant, Matt Groening, Todd Haynes, Christine Vachon, Bill Plympton, Dan Ireland, Karen Cooper of Filmforum, B. Ruby Rich, Amy Taubin, J. Hoberman, and John Cooper, Sundance Film Festival and Outfest programmer.


  1. ^ Rose Bond. "The Portland Story 1925-76". History of Northwest Animation: The Roots of Creative Variance. ASIFA Seattle. Retrieved 2009-05-14.
  2. ^ 1970s & 1980s
  3. ^ Levy, Shawn (June 25, 2006). "Before flying off with Superman, a good-bye to the Guild". The Oregonian. p. O2.
  4. ^ "College Credit". Retrieved 2009-05-14.
  5. ^ "Certificate Programs". Retrieved 2009-05-14.
  6. ^ "Faculty". Retrieved 2009-05-14.
  7. ^ "Equipment Access". Retrieved 2009-05-14.
  8. ^ "Equipment Access Program: Commercial + Artists rental rates" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-05-14.

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Coordinates: 45°31′04″N 122°40′59″W / 45.5178°N 122.6830°W / 45.5178; -122.6830