December 16th, 2022

McMinnville’s Film Scene

A man with a camera talks to a group.  Others in the group hold filming equipment.  One person has a wolf mask on.
Martinez, cast and crew filming “Her Name Was Red” on location in McMinnville.
Photo by Alder Tree Lane Photography.

The glitter and gravitational pull of Hollywood as a film industry player is such that it’s easy to overlook a simple fact: Filmmakers, and filmmaking, are everywhere … and McMinnville has a film scene. 

The McMinnville Short Film Festival is the flagship, now in its 12th year, and arguably a catalyst for much of what followed. If you’ve not attended, you’re missing fantastic films made by serious artists from around the world. Downtown, meanwhile, the non-profit MCM-TV is a thriving hub of creativity with resources for those who want to try their hand at filmmaking. Some who do are active with the Second Saturday Film Club, founded a few years ago by MCM’s digital video maestro, Phil Guzzo. The group workshops scripts and has had several selections in the MSFF.

Then there are guys like Roman Martinez. A Southern California transplant and Gen-Xer who moved to Mac in 2007 and appeared in some Gallery Theater productions, he’s worked on more than a dozen short films, including a killer clown horror trilogy that concludes with his latest, I, Clown, which will be screened locally later this year.

“This area is great for filmmaking,” he says. “We’ve got vineyards, we’ve got ‘small town,’ you’ve got downtown. You can find an alley that makes it look like you’re in a city. The beach is an hour away. And there’s not a ton of people here, so you can get away with a lot of guerilla filmmaking, which is great.”

Martinez and MCM’s Guzzo said Mac’s film scene is small, but growing and starting to draw talent from Portland and Salem.  

“The film scene here is nascent, but it’s consistent and there seem to be more folks creating narrative films, shorts and documentaries every day,” Guzzo said. “Throw in the MSFF, and you have a small but thriving film scene in McMinnville. 

So, how to get in on the fun? 

  • You can see I, Clown and another film by Martinez, Her Name Was Red, along with Just Another Night, directed by John W. Reddy in the spring of 2023 at McMinnville Cinema 10, 300 Norton Lane. Filmmakers will participate in a panel discussion.
  • Keep an eye on the website for the McMinnville Short Film Festival to announce the 2023 lineup in a few weeks, and plan to catch some screenings Feb. 23-26, also at McMinnville Cinema. “By what I’ve seen so far,” says MSFF executive director Heather Older, “it’s going to be a stellar showcase.” One confirmed already: Claydream, the 2021 tribute to the “father of animation,” Mac native Will Vinton. Director Marq Evans will attend.  
  • Support your local video store! Reel Hollywood Video, owned by Martin Solano and Jessie Adrien, has a HUGE selection of movies and TV series, and they host a sci-fi film fest in the spring. Their Facebook page offers access to the entire inventory. Find ‘em on the corner of NW 9th and Adams, phone: 503-472-0553.
  • Check out your local public access TV station, Channel 11. Find them online at Located at 825 NE 3rd St., phone: 503-434-1234. 

David Bates is a McMinnville writer who has appeared in Gallery Theater productions since 1998.