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Cinema Unbound Awards 2024

Jun 21, 2024
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
1119 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR
Kridel Grand Ballroom
$500 for individuals ($150 non tax deductible)


Portland Art Museum’s PAM CUT // Center for an Untold Tomorrow announces the honorees for the fifth annual Cinema Unbound Awards at the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon, on June 21, 2024. As one of the few major art museums in the U.S. that celebrates cinematic storytelling and new media in all its many forms—including film, television, new media, animation, audio storytelling, gaming, immersive arts, and boundary-pushing multi-sensory XR & VR—Portland Art Museum’s PAM CUT is uniquely positioned to present these awards honoring bold, cinematic creators who use their vision to challenge for whom, by whom, and how stories can be told. 

Honoring artistic innovators working at the intersection of art and cinematic storytelling, the annual Cinema Unbound Awards celebrate multidisciplinary artists who push the boundaries of what’s possible in media arts. This year’s recipients include Mickalene Thomas, an award-winning multidisciplinary artist known for her elaborate portraits of Black women; Sterlin Harjo, best known for his work as the co-creator and showrunner of Reservation Dogs; Irene Taylor, an Oscar-nominated, Emmy, duPont and Peabody-winning filmmaker; and James Beard Award–nominated chef/entrepreneurs Peter Cho and Sun Young Park, who will construct a full culinary takeover of the night from their award-winning restaurant Han Oak

Comedian, actor, writer, and philanthropist Ron Funches will host and MC. In addition to being a former Portlander and self-proclaimed national treasure, Funches is currently on the Apple TV+ hit Loot with Maya Rudolph, has a standup show for Netflix is a Joke Festival 2024, and has been featured in a wide variety of shows including Curb Your Enthusiasm, Black-ish, Adventure Time, and Nailed It!. He recently designed sneakers for Puma/Foot Locker where proceeds go to NEXT for AUTISM.   

Each of the honorees has ties to Portland and our community, bringing Portland to the world and the world to Portland.

For more information and to purchase tickets/table, please contact Harper Brokaw-Falbo at harper.brokaw-falbo@pam.org.

Mickalene Thomas

Astonishing Artist

Presenter: Kimberly Drew

Headshot of Mickalene Thomas.

Mickalene Thomas is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist whose work has yielded instantly recognizable and widely celebrated aesthetic languages within contemporary visual culture. She is known for her elaborate portraits of Black women composed of rhinestones, acrylic, and enamel. Not only do her masterful mixed-media paintings, photographs, films and installations command space, they occupy eloquently while dissecting the intersecting complexities of black and female identity within the Western canon.

Outside of her core practice, Thomas is a Tony Award–nominated co-producer, curator, educator, and mentor to many emerging artists. Apart from her own monumental solo shows, she simultaneously curates exhibitions at galleries and museums and collaborates with corporations and luxury brands. In 2023, she became the first Black femme artist to have a scholarship in her name at the Yale School of Art. She has also been the recipient of numerous prizes,  grants, and honors including the Creative Capital Wild Futures: Art, Culture, Impact Award (2024); Hirshhorn Artist x Artist New York Gala honoree (2023); the Pratt Institute Legends Award (2022); Rema Hort Mann Foundation 25th Anniversary honoree (2022); Artistic Impact Award, Newark Museum (2022); Glass House 15th Anniversary Artist of the Year (2022); Yale School of Art Presidential Visiting Fellow in Fine Arts (2020); Legend in Residence Award, Bronx Museum (2020); Pauli Murray College Associate Fellow at Yale University (2020); Appraisers Association of America, Award for Excellence in the Arts, (2019); Meyerhoff-Becker Biennial Commission at Baltimore Museum of Art (2019). In 2018, she received an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from the New York Academy of Art and, in 2015, she was a United States Artists Francie Bishop Good & David Horvitz Fellow. Thomas is also the Co-Founder of SOULAS House, a cultural hub and retreat for Black women, the Co-Founder of Pratt>FORWARD and founder of Art>FORWARD Artist in the Market incubator for post-graduate students

Work by Thomas is the collections of numerous institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum; Studio Museum of Harlem, New York; International Center of Photography, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.; Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles among others. Thomas serves on the Board of the Trustees for the Brooklyn Museum and MoMA PS1.

Mickalene Thomas walked into the Portland Art Museum in 1994 and saw Carrie Mae Weems’ work—specifically the artist’s Kitchen Table series. “And that was transformative,” Thomas told Vogue Magazine. “Not only to me as a young Black girl from Camden, New Jersey, standing in a museum in Portland, Oregon, but as a queer woman, as a young artist, seeing those works—they changed my life and allowed me to really consider being an artist. My journey began the moment I walked into that museum.”

  • “I am absolutely thrilled to be an honoree for the Cinema Unbound Awards. It’s an incredible privilege to be recognized by the Portland Art Museum’s Center for an Untold Tomorrow (PAM CUT) for my work in expanding the reach of storytelling and amplifying voices like mine,” Thomas says. “As a multi-hyphenate artist and leader in the community, I believe that storytelling has the power to shape our understanding of the world and ourselves. This honor is a testament to the impact that creative vision can have, and I’m humbled to be part of a community that is dedicated to sharing diverse perspectives and inspiring new narratives. I look forward to continuing to push the boundaries of storytelling and creative expression!”

Sterlin Harjo

Spectacular Storyteller

Presenters: Wes Studi and Ethan Hawke (video)

Headshot of 
Sterlin Harjo.

Sterlin Harjo (Seminole/Muscogee) is an award-winning filmmaker from Holdenville, Oklahoma. Now based in Tulsa, Harjo is the co-creator and showrunner of Reservation Dogs (FX Productions), a comedy series following four Indigenous teenage friends living on a reservation in Oklahoma. After its first season, Reservation Dogs won a 2022 Peabody Award, 2022 Television Academy Honors award, and 2022 Independent Spirit Award for Best Comedy Series, was an American Film Institute Awards Honoree, and won Best Breakthrough Series under 40 minutes at the 2021 Gotham Awards. The series completed its third and final season. Currently, Harjo’s series The Sensitive Kind and Poster Girls are in development with FX Productions.

Over his career, Harjo has created and directed five feature films: three narrative dramas and two documentaries. His most recent feature, Love and Fury, is a documentary chronicling the work and intersection of over a dozen contemporary Native American artists. Love and Fury was acquired by Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY and released on Netflix in December 2021. The film premiered at the 2021 Hot Docs International Documentary Festival and was an official selection of the Seattle International Film Festival, Virginia Film Festival, and DeadCenter Film Festival.

Harjo’s first feature film, Four Sheets to the Wind, premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2007 and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. His feature documentary This May Be the Last Time premiered at Sundance in 2014. His most recent narrative feature, Mekko, premiered at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival and had its international premiere at Toronto International Film Festival. Each of his films is set in Oklahoma and addresses contemporary Indigenous experiences.

A founding member of the Native sketch comedy troupe the 1491s, Harjo co-wrote the group’s play Between Two Knees, an intergenerational comedic love story/musical set against the backdrop of true events in Native American history. Co-commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival and New Native Theater, the play premiered at OSF in 2019 and has been lauded by The New York Times as “a virtuosic romp through a century of terrors.”

Harjo is repped by CAA, Circle of Confusion, and Del Shaw.

Sterlin Harjo performed at the Portland Art Museum in 2016 as a member of the 1491s, the sketch comedy group depicting contemporary Native American life in the United States. The 1491s were also commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, along with New Native Theatreto write a play for their American Revolutions series of new plays about US history. The troupe has been featured on The Daily ShowRutherford Falls, and Harjo’s acclaimed series Reservation Dogs.

Irene Taylor

Creative Powerhouse

Presenter: Celine Dion (video)

Headshot of Irene Taylor.

Irene Taylor is an Oscar-nominated, Emmy, duPont and Peabody-winning filmmaker whose films explore a broad range of the human experience, including her own.  

Her debut documentary, Hear and Now,  a film she shot, directed and edited about her deaf parents, won the Audience Award at Sundance 2007. Her upcoming Amazon MGM Studios documentary, I AM: Celine Dion, will premiere in June 2024.

Most recently, Irene turned her cameras on our obsession with the arboreal world and with each other in the HBO original documentary Trees, and Other Entanglements.   For her Oregon-based investigation into one of the most trusted institutions in America, Irene won a Columbia-DuPont Award for Leave No Trace: A Hidden History of The Boy Scouts (Hulu). 

Premiering at Sundance 2019 and nominated for Special Merit in Documentary Filmmaking at the 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards, Irene’s Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements  told the story of her deaf son, her deaf father and Ludwig Van Beethoven, as he went deaf while composing his famous sonata.  Her other award-winning films include several HBO titles, including the Academy-Award nominated The Final Inch, Beware the Slenderman, Open Your Eyes and Saving Pelican 895; 

Irene’s early career began in Kathmandu, Nepal, working as a Himalayan Mountain guide, photographer and filmmaker. She is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Television Academy, and is a graduate of New York University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.  She founded Vermilion Films in 2006 after moving to Portland and, in 2019, founded The Treehouse Project, a non-profit bringing independent cinema to deaf and blind audiences.

Irene Taylor makes her home in Portland, and her documentaries have been shown at the Museum and PAM CUT’s Tomorrow Theater throughout her career. Her upcoming Amazon MGM Studios documentary, I AM: Celine Dion, begins streaming globally on Prime Video on June 25. 

  • “When I moved from Manhattan to Portland 22 years ago, the folks at the NW Film Center (now PAM CUT) welcomed me to town with their slate of rad films from all over the world, all year long,” Taylor says. “As time went on, the Center’s Portland International Film Festival and the Northwest Film Festival began programming and hosting my own films on Portland’s big screen—seven feature and short documentaries. When the exquisite Tomorrow Theater hosted my HBO film Trees, and other Entanglements last year, I realized why I have never looked back and why Portland has become, and will always be, my home. To now receive the Cinema Unbound Award from this long lineage of idea-makers is a distinct honor.”

Peter Cho & Sun Young Park

Tastemaking Trailblazers

Presenter: John & Janet Jay

Peter Cho and Sun Young Park with two children sharing food at an outdoor table.

Peter Cho and Sun Young Park are the husband and wife duo behind Portland’s beloved Han Oak restaurant where Korean culinary tradition meets Pacific Northwest flair. Peter, born in Jeju, South Korea and Sun in Los Angeles, celebrate the dynamic fusion of their heritage and the vibrant community they now call home, Portland, Oregon.

With a shared passion for food and a deep reverence for their Korean roots, Peter and Sun set out to create a haven where their creative passions and young budding family could grow. Their vision came to life with Han Oak, the iconic culinary gem that doubled as their home.

After years of honing his craft in New York, Peter returned to Portland with a wealth of knowledge and a renewed passion for Korean cuisine. His diverse culinary background and dedication to authenticity, Peter is the driving force behind Han Oak’s innovative menu. His creative approach to his family’s traditional dishes breathes new life into familiar flavors, offering guests a dining experience that is both comforting and exhilarating.

Sun, with her background in the arts, brings a unique perspective to the Han Oak experience. Trained as a visual artist, she infuses the restaurant with her creative spirit, from the intentional decor to the thoughtful presentation of each dish. Every aspect of Han Oak reflects the couple’s shared vision, as well as the path of curiosity and destruction in their young boys’ wake.

Beyond the kitchen, Peter and Sun and their two boys are dedicated members of the Portland community, actively involved in supporting local farmers, artisans, youth education, and charitable organizations. They believe in the power of food to bring people together, fostering connections, and creating moments of joy and celebration.

At Han Oak and Jeju, Peter and Sun invite diners to savor the flavors of their Korean experience as they know it, enjoy the warmth of their hospitality, and become part of a culinary tradition that honors both heritage and community.

Peter Cho and Sun Young Park are the award-winning culinary powerhouse team behind acclaimed Portland restaurants Han Oak, Toki, and Jeju. Han Oak was named on Esquire magazine’s 2021 list of “100 Restaurants America Can’t Afford to Lose.” Peter and Sun were also featured in Phil Rosenthal’s Netflix series Somebody Feed Phil.

  • “The relentless business of food often overshadows the profoundly meaningful connections that can only be shared through the language of food,” say Peter Cho and Sun Young Park. “We are honored and grateful to Cinema Unbound for this recognition, for tasting our stories as we attempt to dish it, shared by our team with collective fluency, a visceral and soulful language that breaks all language barriers, and really knows no bounds.”


VISIONARY SPONSOR: Lisa Domenico Brooke. CHANGEMAKER SPONSORS: LAIKA, SkyLight, Wieden+Kennedy. TRAILBLAZER SPONSORS: Mary & Don Blair, KeyBank, Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, Anish Savjani, Pat & Trudy Ritz. TRANSFORMER SPONSORS: Dior, Priscilla Bernard Wieden, Industry, Linda Andrews, Alix Meier Goodman, & Grace Serbu, Pat & Leona Green, Mark & Katherine Frandsen, Jin and Julieann Park, Greg & Cathy Tibbles, and Wacom. SPONSORS: Oregon Film, Amjad & Helen Bangash, Westridge Foundation, Shadowmachine, ESP. EVENT PARTNERS: Art of Catering, Aviation Gin, Jim Beam, L’Angolo Estate, Oregonian, Ritz Carlton.

Weiden + Kennedy
Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation
Emery Serkin Pound
Art of Catering
Aviation American Gin
Jim Beam
L'Angolo Estate
Oregonian: Here is Oregon
The Ritz-Carlton