The NW Film Center announced today that the 36th Portland International Film Festival will kick off on February 7 with the opening night film The Sapphires, a true-life Australian comedy about a group of Aboriginal girls who were plucked from obscurity by their manager (played by the Irish comedic actor Chris O’Dowd, best known as Kristen Wiig's cop courter in Bridesmaids) and thrust onto the international stage as Oz's answer to the Supremes. We can cross our fingers that O'Dowd will be in attendance for the opening-night party. (The attendance of directors and actors at film festivals is always a bit of a guessing game, even for the organizers, dependent upon how well the film does at other festivals and what other movies they're working on at the time.)

The festival will run through February 23 and will screen over 125 films—narratives, shorts, and documentaries—from over three dozen countries. The full lineup will be announced on January 24. 

Culturephile confirmed with NWFC that the festival will include the premieres of at least one local documentary, including the much anticipated Alien Boy: The Death and Life of James Chasse. About the 2006 death of local artist Chasse after a stunning case of police brutality that sparked a firestorm of public outcry over how the police handle mental illness, the film is directed by Brian Lindstrom—whose credits include the documentaries Kicking and Finding Normal, about drug detoxification and recovery, respectively—with cinematography by John Campbell, a Hollywood vet who filmed, among many others, Gus Van Sant's Mala Noche and My Own Private Idaho.

The Oregonian and NWFC confirmed several additional films, including the winner of the 2012 Cannes Film Fest's Best Director prize, Carlos Reygadas's Post Tenebras Lux; Pieta from Kim Ki-Duk (The Bow); the documentary tribute Love, Marilyn, wherein contemporary celebrities read recently discovered diaries from the blonde bombshell; Lore, the long-awaited follow-up to Australian director Cate Shortland's Somersault, about the children of a German family trying to put their lives back together after World War II; the eyebrow-raising Paradise: Love, an Austrian film about a middle-aged woman traveling to Kenya for sex tourism; and the Chilean film No, starring Gael Garcia Bernal.

 

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