Movie City: Portland

Posted by | March 7, 2009
Movie City: Portland A shot of Portland, Oregon

FilmInFocus’s latest Movie City is Portland, Oregon, the home of Milk director Gus Van Sant and Laika animation studios, where Coraline was made.

Portland, Oregon, is the city where the Willamette and Columbia rivers meet, and the City of Roses has been deemed the greenest city in the country. However, Portland’s image as a lush place of flowers and trees takes second place to its status as one of the most artistic and bohemian U.S. cities. Despite its modest population, Portland has fostered the creativity of an astonishing number of imaginative minds, principally filmmakers, musicians and authors. The list includes the directors Gus Van Sant, Todd Haynes and Todd Field, animators Matt Groening, Will Vinton and Bill Plympton, and authors Chuck Palahniuk, Ursula K. Le Guin and Jean M. Auel. To list all its famous bands would take too long, but its most notable include The Shins, The Decemberists, Elliott Smith and Stephen Malkmus.

The last two Focus Features releases, Coraline and the Academy Award-winning Milk, both have Portland connections: Coraline was made at Portland’s very own Laika animation studios, and Milk’s director Gus Van Sant is one of the city’s best-known sons. So, to honor these connections, FilmInFocus has made Portland its latest Movie City.

Below, you can find an interview with author and filmmaker Jon Raymond, most recently the writer of the acclaimed Wendy and Lucy, take a look at the principal places for filmmakers and film lovers alike in the city, and enjoy a Five In Focus feature in which some of our favorite Portland bands – the Dandy Warhols, M. Ward, Richmond Fontaine, Menomena, Viva Voce and Pink Martini – pick their top movie soundtracks.

Jon Raymond

Jon Raymond’s Portland

Writer/filmmaker Jon Raymond guides us through Portland’s cultural scene.



Cinema 21

Portland's Picturehouses and Production Palaces

A brief guide to movie hubs in Stumptown.



The Dandy Warhols

Five In Focus: Portland Bands

We asked five major indie bands from Portland to pick their top five film soundtracks.


Courtney Taylor-Taylor from The Dandy Warhols
M. Ward
Willy Vlautin from Richmond Fontaine
Danny Seim from Menomena
Anita Robinson from Viva Voce
Thomas Lauderdale from Pink Martini

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