The winner of the 44th Portland International Film Festival’s Future/future competition is Identifying Features, directed by Fernanda Valadez. The film, an intriguing and confident first feature following a mother’s journey to find out what happened to her son along the Mexican border, was awarded the honor as well as a $1,000 prize.
The Future/future competition highlights boundary-pushing new cinema from emerging filmmakers and represents some of the most exciting new voices in global cinema. The selected films come from around the world and exemplified the theme of cinema unbound in the 44th Portland International Film Festival, presented by the Portland Art Museum’s Northwest Film Center, which ran March 5-14 and featured more than 80 films, programs, events, and drive-in experiences with work from more than 34 countries.
“What the world needs now is not more of the same,” said Amy Dotson, director of the Northwest Film Center and Curator of Film & New Media at the Portland Art Museum. “We are honored to shine a light on cinematic storytelling that pushes the boundaries, breaks rules, and invites new ways of seeing. In Future/future, these artistic and unique films are pushing audiences forward into this new era where great stories—regardless of their budgets, formats, countries of origin—are finally being recognized for their important contributions as storytellers, artists, and non-conformists.”
The 2021 Future/future competition winner was selected by an international jury that included Ali Khechen, the Workshops & Labs Manager at the prestigious Doha Film Institute in Qatar; Natalie Difford, Head of Artist Development at film foundation and funder Cinereach in New York City; and David Cress, an Oregon-based media producer (Portlandia, Shrill, Documentary Now!).
“Fernanda Valadez’s film, Identifying Features, is an assured thriller,” said Cress. “The film has important things to say about immigration and the state of America’s southern neighbors, but it manages at the same time to be compelling, edge-of-your-seat cinema.”
“Once more the Portland International Film Festival’s Future/future competition brought forth an array of unique and engaging films by emerging voices,” said Ben Popp, the Northwest Film Center’s filmmaker services manager. “We cannot wait to see what they do next, and we’re all excited to see what the entries will be for next year’s competition!”
Portland International Film Festival http://www.cinemaunbound.org.