BTTW-0918Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (POWFest) organizers are excited to host acclaimed director, Penelope Spheeris, (Decline of Western Civilization I-III, Wayne’s World, Suburbia) as this year’s guest of honor, with a Director’s conversation following the screening of three of her films: DUDES, SUBURBIA and DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION III during POWFest on Saturday, March 9th at 2pm and 7pm .

Each year, POWFest pays tribute to a key woman in the filmmaking industry who has helped pave the way for those just getting their start.  Previous years’ honorees include 2010 Academy Award winner for Best Director, Kathryn Bigelow; Academy Award Nominee for Best Short Documentary, Irene Taylor Brodsky; one of our generation’s most cutting-edge, determined and prolific directors, Allison Anders; Australia-born director, Gillian Armstrong; acclaimed director, Amy Heckerling and Academy Award winning documentary director, Barbara Kopple.

Often referred to as a Rock ‘n Roll anthropologist, Spheeris worked as a film editor and cinematographer before forming her own company in 1974.  ROCK ‘N REEL was the first Los Angeles production company specializing in music videos. She produced, directed, and edited videos for major bands through the Seventies and Eighties, concluding her music video work with the Grammy nominated, “Bohemian Rhapsody” video for WAYNE’S WORLD.

She has enjoyed two distinct careers in film – one where she does mainstream Hollywood films such as WAYNE’S WORLD, and the other where she does independent music themed documentaries such as the DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION films.

A student of both psychobiology and film, Spheeris has said, “I think about myself as someone who studies human behavior and is trying to figure out what the hell is going on in our current society. If I can leave any film that helps define a certain time after I’m dead then that’s great.”

Traveling to Portland to support women filmmakers, film enthusiasts and the public at large are encouraged to attend this unique opportunity to hear from Spheeris about her filmmaking experiences firsthand.  The screenings of her films are at 2 p.m, 7pm and 9pm. Q&A’s with movie historian David Walker will take place after DUDES and in between SUBURBIA and DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION III. Movie goers will have an opportunity to hear from Ms. Spheeris as well as individuals whose lives were chronicled in DECLINE III. The event will take place at Portland’s historic Hollywood Theatre located at 4122 NE Sandy Blvd. Tickets for the event are $7 and $10 and can be obtained at, as well as The Hollywood Theatre box office.

Sponsors for the evening include SAGIndie. Buy a pass here or link to tickets below:

  • DUDES (2 p.m.) – Starring Flea, Lee Ving, John Cryer and Daniel Roebuck. Alienated punk kids who discover a sense of values while setting straight the death of a friend. Followed by a Q&A with Director Penelope Spheeris, Screenwriter Randall Jahnson, moderated by film historian, David Walker. 
  • SUBURBIA (7 p.m.) – Spheeris’ first narrative film from 1983. A disturbing and somewhat prophetic story of rebellious, homeless kids squatting in abandoned houses, trying to make new families, and protecting one another. Followed by a Q&A with Director Penelope Spheeris and individuals who’s lives were chronicled in DECLINE III.
  • DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION III (9 p.m.) – The third installment of her Decline of Western Civilization films that received unanimous critical praise.  Eerily mirroring the events she scripted in “SUBURBIA”, DECLINE III was filmed in 1997 documenting the contemporary punk rock scene.  Most of the kids in it were not yet born when the first installment was filmed. Focused more on social issues rather than music, most of the subjects are crusty gutterpunks, proud products of a society truly in decline. Still, Spheeris maintains a tender attitude toward her young subjects, who honor, respect, and admire the culture that began before they were born

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