Tia Palomino

The Portland Dance Film Fest and the inevitable future of dance on film

The Portland Dance Film fest moves online to feature filmmakers from across the globe and encourage positive change


“Getting people in their bodies is a really healthy force for beneficial change,” said Jess Evans over a Zoom call one cloudy afternoon. We were talking about the challenges and triumphs that faced the organizers of the Portland Dance Film Fest during the days of Coronavirus, alongside co-organizers Kailee McMurran and Tia Palomino.

“We learn about ourselves by watching other people,” continued Evans. “There’s a lot of power in what we consume, so offering [films] that sit people into their bodies and makes them more empathetic, hopefully, can allow them to feel more connected [to each other].” 

A still from About Face, directed by Yoram Savion.

The Portland Dance Film Fest, developed in 2016 to showcase both local and international dance filmmaking, has become a staple on the yearly arts calendars of many Pacific Northwest-based dance filmmakers, choreographers, and audience members alike. Featuring expert panels, workshops, documentaries, an annual film commission, and three evenings of dance films hand-picked by a panel of judges, the PDFF this year, which ran October 2-4, faced its most difficult and rewarding year.