Established in 1977, The Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) is a creative, multi-media feast spotlighting artists both around the corner and across the globe—embracing bold, original, future-forward storytellers making cinema in all its forms.

The Future/future competition highlights boundary-pushing new cinema from emerging filmmakers and representing some of the most exciting new voices in global cinema. Winners are chosen by a panel of guest judges.

The Winners from 2020 are:

The Fever
Directed by Maya Da-Rin

This is Not a Burial it is a Resurrection
Directed by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese

Guest Judges were:
Brandon Harris, Development Executive at Amazon Original Movies
Emily Woodburne, distribution for Janus Film
Susan Lewis, Senior VP of Original Programming at Starz Encore Group LLC.

PIFF also honor artists, curators, and industry leaders who inspire new ways of seeing through The Cinema Unbound Awards.

The 2020 Cinema Unbound Award Recipients were:

Astonishing Auteur TODD HAYNES (Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning writer and director; Carol, Far from Heaven, Mildred Pierce)

Creative Powerhouse JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL (Tony Award-winning writer, director, and actor; Hedwig & The Angry Inch, Anthem: Homunculus, Hulu’s Shrill)

Documentary Doyenne JULIE GOLDMAN (Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning producer of over 50 feature documentaries, including Life, Animated, Buck, Weiner)

Immersive Maestro MICHEL REILHAC (Filmmaker, Experiential Artist and Head of VR, Venice Biennale)

Animation Arts Wizard ROSE BOND (Internationally-recognized, large-scale, site-specific animations)

Curatorial Mastermind RAJENDRA ROY (The Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film, MoMA)

Costume Designer Extraordinaire AMANDA NEEDHAM (Emmy-winning costume designer; Portlandia, Shrill)

Please, when submitting your work, we strongly recommend that you also send an online screener link to <piffsubmissions (at) nwfilm (dot) org> with the film title and tracking number clearly stated in the subject line of the email.

Optional pieces include a cover letter and any other press material, but it's best to hold off sending those until we ask for them — they make no difference in our selection process. If your film is selected, we'll get them from you at a more appropriate time.

We will contact you in mid-January 2021 if your film has been selected to screen.


By submitting your film you agree to the following:

I understand that submission of my work authorizes the Northwest Film Center, the producer of the Portland International Film Festival, to use the work for exhibition and/or publicity related to the Festival, that the Festival will handle the prints and tapes with a maximum of care but cannot be held liable for any damage or loss during the shipping, preview, or screening, and that the Festival is also not responsible for any claim involving copyright, trademark, or royalty infringements related to the work. I warrant that I am authorized to commit the film for screening, and understand and accept these requirements and regulations.

Overall Rating
  • Jesse Pickett

    Easily one of the coolest festivals. PIFF went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the filmmakers felt connected, could network with programmers, and participate in all the virtual events the festival had to offer. Would love to attend in person, post-pandemic. Thanks so much for being the coolest, PIFF!!!

    May 2021
  • Rollyn Stafford

    Seeing my film at the drive-in was a great experience! I would love to come back next year!

    March 2021
  • It was a great pleasure and a major honor to present American Thief at the Portland International Film Festival. I watched over a dozen features and multiple short films, and the selection was incredible. Congrats to everyone involved! Hope to see you again next year!

    March 2021