Due to Covid 19 and current events, The Portland Unknown Film Festival will be postponing the 2020 festival.


The Portland Unknown is a globally minded, yet community centered film festival seeking films made with a genuine heart, a radical soul, and psychedelic nature. We aim to uplift mind bending, innovative film made with limited resources on a low budget. Calling all young and fresh groundbreaking filmmakers, old punks who never had their day in the sun, and explorers of things that don’t yet exist.


Where your entry fee goes:

We here at The Unknown, really hate monetizing art which is why we have always kept entry fees substantially lower than other festivals. We wish we had the ability to charge $0 for all entries but currently entry fees are the only way we can afford to pay for venue, equipment, festival hospitality and to pay for artists and services when we can. This has not been and never will be a money making venture and the organizers do not get paid a dime. Hopefully as a society, we can begin to tear away from capitalistic norms and everyone will have enough to bring beauty into this world while those who strive to take beauty away will go into extinction.

In an effort to equalize the playing field, The Unknown chooses NOT to invite film and only selects films from the current season’s crop of entries. If you are unable to pay to enter, please contact us. At the end of each month we will be able to offer a small number of entry fee waivers.


The Portland Unknown are
Queer exalting, female empowering, trans adoring, lovers of BIPoC lives.
Working class folk, sick of working for a patriarchal, white supremacist regime, dreaming of decolonization. Immigrant embracing, spiritually inclined individuals who believe in people over property. Earth loving, plastic shamers, against the prison industrial complex. Sex worker esteeming, police abolitionists. Learning everyday how to be better neighbors who are more anti racist than the day before. Neither Democrat nor Republican, education glorifying, discussion inducing, millennial shits on a mission to eat the rich.

We really want to stress - Black Lives More Than Matter

We acknowledge we are living, working, and playing on unceded Atfalati, Cowlitz, Clackamas, Clatskanie, Kalapuya, Molalla, and Multnomah land.


Unknown Masterpiece
Joe Couch Award in Experimentation
The Folk Award
Trans"format"ive Best
Best Art Direction
Best Form & Editing
Prize Soundscape
Top Ranking Student

The Portland Unknown Film Festival accepts entries of all lengths and styles. Entries will be judged and curated by The Unknown judges.


Juried Films
Earth - Through January 1st /$7
Fire - January 2nd - March 18th /$10
Water - March 19th - May 20th /$12
Air - May 21th - June 17th /$15
Meta - June 18th - July 8th /$30

ALWAYS $5 for Pacific Northwest Filmmakers - This includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho, British Columbia, and Northern California.
No restrictions apply. See Terms and Conditions.

We have never selected a film over 95 minutes. Please do not send films over 95 minutes. If you have a film over 1 hour 35 minutes you wish to be considered, please contact us with a trailer, screenshots and synopsis/intent at portlandunknown@gmail.com to discuss.

Music Videos
Free to all! Please send upbeat music video content only! All videos over 6 minutes will be automatically disqualified.

Filmmakers who enter their films agree that (1) their film may be shown at The Portland Unknown Film Festival, (2) the filmmaker owns the copyright of the film or is authorized by the copyright holders to enter the film, (3) any music, archive footage or any other such material that is contained within your film has been approved by the copyright holders. You may be required to provide written evidence of this, (4) no post seected edits accepted without festival approval.

An entrance does not guarantee a screening.

Overall Rating
  • Thank you Portland Unknown Film Festival! Excellent job with all of the film festival coverage and awesome communication. There were a lot of amazing films curated by an amazing team! Also THANKS for choosing my theme song for the the mixtape. What a bonus! You all went out of your way to send me a tape to KY.

    November 2019
  • Andrew Ching

    This is a wonderful small filmfest w/a great filmfest staff who are helping to get your "unknown film" out there to be seen by an audience.

    November 2019
  • Torin Langen

    These folks know what they're doing; a real grassroots underground festival being run by people who love what they're doing. A strong sense of DIY, championing outlier works that may not have found a home otherwise. While I couldn't attend in-person, their communication was top notch, and they worked with me to bring a musician in-theater to perform with my project. Might be the best experience I've ever had working with an event, can't recommend enough for those looking to screen their offbeat/experimental/punk films. Thanks Unknown!

    October 2019
  • I couldn't attend in person - but Portland Unknown really showed their appreciation by writing some wonderful, thoughtful words about my film, and I really felt like they got it - so many festivals give you laurels but nothing else, with Portland Unknown I felt the love - and I would love to attend one day!

    October 2019
  • Sandy Parker

    This was a well-attended festival with excellent hospitality that included delicious free snacks for starving filmmakers! Communication was excellent, and I appreciated the friendliness of those running the festival. I attended on days 1 and 2 and really enjoyed the experience!

    October 2019