Student Films

2017 Summer Documentary Program

RAGE ON. The Raging Grannies are an international organization of senior women changing the face of activism in today's turbulent political climate. Rage On is a window into the activist lives of Judy and Ali, two women from the Grannies' Portland chapter. Film by Emily Curtis (Reed College '16) and Lucy Stevens (Carleton College '18).

SEEDS OF CHANGE. Salma Bashir is a youth ambassador from Portland's Muslim Educational Trust. This film is a portrait of how she spreads awareness of her faith in the face of an antagonizing world. Film by Amanda Peckler (Skidmore College '20) and Isa Kaufman-Geballe (Western Washington University '19).

THE WATER'S FINE. There's a disconnect between the people of Portland and the river that is central to the city. This film calls attention to an organization trying to bridge this gap: the Human Access Project. Film by Atlas Finch (Amherst College '20), Theo Morris (Carleton College '18), and Moira Peterson (Oberlin College '18).

SINGLETRACK. This film explores the positive impact of off-road cycling access through the eyes of a retired park advocate, a camp counselor, and a female mountain biker. Film by Kienna Kulzer (Western Washington University '18) and Madi Stapleton (Western Washington University '20).

HOME LAND. The story of America's housing crisis told through one woman: Desiree Rose. Portland is combating houselessness in its own innovative way, through building tiny house villages. Learn how some of the more than one million Americans who are without proper housing don't consider themselves "homeless." Film by Coral Yang (Tufts University '19) and Jordan Joseph (Oberlin College '19).

Portland Community

New Avenues for Youth gives homeless and at-risk youth a chance to develop successful job skills. Alaric, 20 years old, is now moving forward in the screen-printing industry. Film made during the Media Institute for Social Change's 2014 Summer Documentary Program by Veronica Garcia (Carleton College '16), Drew Auer (University of Kansas '15), and Emma Reasoner (Denison College '15).
This short film tells the story of Jose, an employee on Portland, Oregon's pink Voodoo Doughnut van. He got the job after taking an after-school job skills program run by the non-profit Urban Opportunities. Directed, produced, and edited by Sara Rasmussen, Emily Lad, and Madeline Thompson, 2010 fellows of the Northwest Institute for Social Change.

Liz Like Me is about a woman struggling with homelessness and multiple sclerosis who never lets the challenges she faces get in the way of her ambitions to be a writer or her desire to bring joy into others’ lives. Made during the 2013 Summer Documentary Program by Catherine Gailey (St. Olaf College ’15) and Laci Dent (Vassar College ’14).

In 2007, Erion Moore II was a varsity basketball player and soon-to-be college graduate. A year later, he was diagnosed with scleroderma, a debilitating and life-threatening disease. After eight years of fighting it, an adaptive yoga program at the Daya Foundation helps Erion regain his strength so he can shoot free throws again. Filmed during the 2016 Summer Documentary Program by Trisha Patterson (Western Washington University, class of 2017) and Rashad Saleh (Brown University, class of 2019).


Jennifer is a single mother living in a 'food desert' in Southeast Portland. Through her CSA membership at Zenger Farm, she can access fresh produce with SNAP at an affordable price. Film made during the Media Institute for Social Change's 2014 Summer Documentary Program by Adrienne Picciotto (Mount Holyoke College '16) and AJ Van Zoeren (Carleton College '16).

Urban Chickens illustrated how backyard chicken coops can reduce carbon footprints. Made during the 2010 Summer Documentary Program by Colin Christopher (University of Wisconsin), Katherine Bascom (Wesleyan University ’10) and Caroline Koehler (Whitman College ’12).

Social Justice

A Second Chance is about Emanuel Price, an educator, community organizer, activist, founder of a non-profit, and also an ex-con. His organization, Second Chances Are For Everyone, (SCAFÉ), is committed to opening doors who have done their time and want to get back on track. Film made during the Media Institute for Social Change's 2015 Summer Documentary Program by Kendra Pittman (Virginia Commonwealth University '16), Savannah Tracy (Oberlin College '16), and Rebecca Reibstein (Smith College '16).

Arts & Culture

Over the past decade, Portland clown Dingo Dizmal has personified the pinch many artists feel in the city--the struggle to stay true to their punk roots while still making enough money to afford staying in Portland's increasingly expensive housing market. Priced-out of the notorious Clown House he established on Alberta Street, Dingo now performs with wife Olive Rootbeer in local coffee shops, at children's parties, and during community events. Today, Olive and Dingo live out the current tension between Portland’s quirky recent past and increasingly gentrified present. Filmed during the 2016 Summer Documentary Program by North Bennett (Whitman College 2018) and Lindsey Smith (Macalester College 2016).
What is a jukebox going to do about wage inequality? This short documentary explores how the Wage/Working audio jukebox showcases oral histories to celebrate labor and examine wage inequality in the United States. Filmed during the 2016 Summer Documentary Program by Kate Johnson (Reed College 2016) and Carinna Nikkel (Carleton College 2018).
Art and culture is part of Portland's soul, as well as those of the city's residents. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to this aspect of Portland. Enter Piano Push Play, which puts pianos on the city streets every summer. Please Play Me tells the story of this initiative and the positive ways it affects everyone who encounters it Filmed during the 2016 Summer Documentary Program by Pilar Curtis (Virginia Commonwealth University, class of 2017) and Dylan Walker (St. Olaf College, class of 2018).