The Portland State film program will host a talk with Oregon screenwriter Jon Raymond on Feb. 4 to discuss his career and creative process. The lecture will take place in Lincoln Hall room 331 at 4 p.m.
The talk will be moderated by film professor Dustin Morrow and will be followed by a question-and-answer session with students. Because of limited seating, this event is only open to film students and faculty.
Morrow said he is honored to welcome Raymond to campus and expects as large a crowd as the room can accommodate.
“He is certainly famous within the Portland film community, and in this instance we just didn’t have the space or time to do a promotion to the general public,” Morrow said.
In 2011 Raymond was nominated for a Humanitas Prize at Sundance Film Festival for his screenplay Meek’s Cutoff. That year he and co-writer Todd Haynes worked on the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce, which earned them a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special.
Raymond is the author of the novels The Half-Life and Rain Dragon, as well as the short stories “Old Joy” and “Train Choir,” the latter of which became the film Wendy and Lucy.
Despite not being open to the public, Morrow said he is still glad for the opportunity to share this experience with Portland and show future students what could be in store for them.
“We want Portland to know what the film program is up to and that we’re committed to bringing in important writers for our students.”
Raymond’s impending visit is inciting buzz among film students, as well.
“I haven’t seen his most recent film, Night Moves, but Meek’s Cutoff was one of the best films of the aughts,” said film studies junior Basil Swartzfager.
The smaller, more intimate classroom that will house the talk will offer students an opportunity to rub elbows with one of Portland’s creative elite. Having worked on a variety of productions, Raymond has a plethora of wisdom to share with film students.
“He’s a very compelling speaker, so I’m happy that he’s coming in,” Morrow said.
His films have proved important in Oregon, where they are primarily filmed. They showcase the beautiful natural landscapes found here and embody the low-key vibe that is a big difference between shooting in Portland versus Hollywood.
Wendy and Lucy shot a scene at a Walgreens near Raymond’s home in North Portland, and despite the activity one would expect filming a star like Michelle Williams, the store remained open and few customers even realized what was happening.
“It’s crazy, because they didn’t even close the store when we were filming,” Raymond said in a 2009 interview with The Oregonian. “The way these movies are filmed is so different than any kind of Hollywood production.”
In addition to his screenwriting resume, Raymond also co-edits quarterly literary magazine Tin House and edits Plazm, an art, design and culture magazine. Though he’s successful in literary circles as well as film, Morrow expects that the talk will primarily stick to film.
“The talk will be more oriented to his film and television work,” Morrow said. “I’m going to talk to him about his whole career, but I want to ask him how his process for screenwriting compares to how he approaches a novel, and whether there are any parallels there.”