The Northwest Film Center is now PAM CUT // Center for an Untold Tomorrow

PAM Center for an Untold Tomorrow

The Portland Art Museum announced tonight a new name for the Northwest Film Center—PAM CUT // Center for an Untold Tomorrow. The new name, which was revealed during the third annual Cinema Unbound Awards on March 8, positions the 50-year-old organization for a more expansive future. 

Founded in 1971 as the Northwest Film Study Center, the Northwest Film Center has served as the leading film arts organization in the region with a robust exhibition program, classes, and equipment rental services.

A lot has changed since the founding of the organization, but what remains is the spirit of being a place for artists and audiences to experience the magic of immersive cinematic storytelling in all its many forms. Committed to the mission of expanding for whom, by whom, and how cinematic stories in all forms are told, PAM CUT is participatory, vibrant, dimensional, and unbound. By delivering multimedia stories that expand minds and shift perspectives through shared experiences, PAM CUT invites all audiences to “go beyond” together. 

“PAM CUT is a place, a space, and a state of mind that welcomes those who aren’t content to be contained. Thinking more extensively about how to serve the unbound multidisciplinary artists and storyteller community locally and globally—and the daring audiences and supporters who make it all possible—fuels our reinvention.”

Amy Dotson, PAM CUT Director

PAM CUT is a name rooted in history while also looking toward the future. Through the use of the classic filmmaker’s “Cut!” command, PAM CUT ties into cinematic arts. Short and to the point, PAM CUT is clear, efficient, and fun to say. However, as an acronym for Center for an Untold Tomorrow, CUT is also forward-looking and hopeful to include voices from new forms of storytelling. CUT embraces both the organization’s past and future lineages. 

The new name also serves to fully embrace the interconnectedness with the Portland Art Museum. As a name and logo expression, CUT is paired with the Museum as PAM CUT.

Dotson, hired for her expansive vision of what the Film Center could be, and her deep knowledge of emerging media, has been moving the organization toward this moment since her arrival in September 2019. The pandemic accelerated a number of long-range strategic changes for PAM CUT. From evolving the definition of cinema and storytelling and offering more inclusive ways to connect with film arts, to consolidating resources more closely with the Museum, the time for renaming was right. 

“The relationship to the Film Center has always been vital to the Museum. PAM CUT represents an important way forward where visitors, members, artists, and community partners can experience not only the traditional moving image, but also a wide range of storytelling experiences and opportunities that challenge the traditional boundaries of the film medium.”

Brian Ferriso, Portland Art Museum Director

The name change brings into alignment the evolution that is already underway. Audiences and participants of PAM CUT programming will be familiar with the current offerings and can look forward to more as the vision of for whom and by whom is expanded further. In-person screenings will continue, as will learning and mentoring opportunities through Co:Laboratory classes and Sustainability Labs. 

Now and Coming Soon at PAM CUT


Whitsell Auditorium Weekend Matinee Screenings 

Recently reopened, the Whitsell Auditorium inside the Portland Art Museum is now showing matinee screenings. Recent films included selections from the Cinema Unbound Awards honorees, and ongoing matinee programming continues in March with the upcoming Tilda-Whirl, a celebration of the ever-evolving performances of Tilda Swinton.

Cinema Unbound Outdoor Screenings 

They’re back and more immersive than ever. More details will be announced in early April 2022. 

VR to Go As the only U.S. venue in partnership with Montreal’s PHI Center, this innovative program aims to reimagine how exhibitions are presented, giving direct access to the artistic experiences of virtual reality. Portlanders can rent a VR headset from PAM CUT’s downtown location and experience stories from top global artists at home. After selling out the first iteration in four days, phase two begins in April 2022.



Expansive in genre, mediums, and ideas, the PAM CUT Co:Laboratory is one grand experiment. The Co:Laboratory exists to uniquely inspire new projects, new skills, and new ways of seeing. Classes have included projection mapping primers, Bollywood dancing, poster design, stop motion animation for kids, and more. Spring break classes include It’s Alive! Puppet Making and Stop Motion Animation for Kids! and Creating Comics! Spring will also see a new course taught by documentary filmmaker and sound artist Donal Mosher titled The Gooey 80’s: Transforming Bodies, Affect, and the Physicality of Practical Effect. Summer Camps will be returning for in-person classes for youth, teens, and adults starting in June and running through August with courses in animation, podcasting, fashion, game design, practical effects, poster design and merch design, and more! 

Sustainability Labs is a program designed to ensure that talented, multidisciplinary media storytellers receive the support, resources, and connections to a variety of professional opportunities necessary to thrive creatively, financially, and personally in an ever-changing landscape. The Labs began as a people-centered pilot program in fall 2021, uniquely prioritizing holistic career advancement and sustainability over project development. Applications for Fall 2022 will go live on April 1, 2022. 

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