Media Arts Program

Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.

$8 general, $6 students/seniors, $5 members

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Empty Quarter

(2011, 71min, 16mm B&W)

Empty QuarterAlain LeTourneau and Pam Minty (aka 40 Frames) champion the art of celluloid and, as creators of the 16mm Directory, are advocates for its exhibition. The Portland filmmakers will present their experimental documentary Empty Quarter, a portrait of Southeastern Oregon. The region, which represents nearly one third of the state's landmass and less than 2% of its population, is inhabited by new pioneers from around the world drawn to jobs in Oregon's rural ranching and farming communities.
Empty Quarter


Empty Quarter (2011, 16mm black & white/sound, 71 minutes) is a film about the region of Southeast Oregon, an area populated by ranching and farming communities, in Lake, Harney, and Malheur counties. The region is roughly one-third of Oregon’s landmass yet holds less than 2% of the state’s population.

Southeast Oregon, though familiar by name is a foreign place, particularly to those who reside in urban environments. It is a landscape in the making, constantly undergoing change, being re-worked. It is a highly politicized landscape, evoking differing opinions concerning resource management and land use. It is also a landscape that is, despite some beliefs, rich with diversity, as seen by the presence of East Indian and Japanese families, ancestors of Basque sheepherders, home to the Paiute tribes people, and to Latinos who have come to help work the land.

Empty Quarter borrows from earlier forms of documentary. Rather than subscribe to a modern form of documentary replete with talking heads and B-roll images, Empty Quarter presents stark portraits, waiting to be explored and digested by the viewer. Their meaning can be felt in the slow process of accumulation and measured response. Through a series of stationary shots, recording open landscapes and activities of local residents, Empty Quarter reflects on the character of the region. Natural areas are viewed among images of industry, various labor processes, resource management and recreation. Voices of local residents describe the history of pioneer settlement, social life of rural communities, and the struggles of small town economies.(



Pam Minty is a Portland, Oregon based filmmaker and sound recordist. After moving to Portland in the mid-1990s, Pam began working for the Northwest Film Center’s exhibition program. She later worked for a brief period in the commercial film industry as a sound technician, before returning to the Film Center to work as the School of Film Registrar and instructor for field sound recording workshops.

In 2000, Pam began programming 16mm films with Alain LeTourneau, under the name 40 Frames. Starting in 2008, 40 Frames transitioned to a new scope of work involving the completion of two major projects: the web resource 16mm Directory and the film Empty Quarter.  (

Alain LeTourneau is a filmmaker, photographer, and film preservationist engaged in efforts to sustain the 16mm format as a viable production and exhibition medium. Starting in 1999, Alain began programming and publicly exhibiting 16mm films in Portland, Oregon under the moniker Cinema Next Door. He is the co-founder of 40 Frames, a 16mm preservation and advocacy organization that maintains the web resource 16mm Directory, houses a collection of 16mm film prints, and provides technical services to filmmakers and organizations.

Alain’s film and video work has screened at venues in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Toronto. Broadly speaking, his work examines the cultural biography written on contemporary landscapes. Alain utilizes 16mm film, photographic survey, and video installation to explore the natural and built environment, and the idea of development as it relates to land use.  (


40 Frames is dedicated to preserving the art of 16mm filmmaking and exhibition. We advocate for a living history of 16mm through the preservation and exhibition of film prints, and continued production in the 16mm format.

The activities of 40 Frames aim to prevent tens of thousands of perfectly functioning 16mm cameras, editing equipment and projectors from becoming obsolete, challenging the field of filmmaking to value and sustain variety and tangibility in a digitally dominated world.

Starting in 2000, 40 Frames began coordinating and hosting public screenings of 16mm films at a warehouse space in Portland’s Central Eastside, as well as working in collaboration with other organizations and venues, including the Northwest Film Center, Portland State University, Portland Community College, Cinema Project, and the now defunct PDX Film Festival.

In 2009, 40 Frames transitioned away from series programming of 16mm films, and began focusing on the creation of the web resource 16mm Directory and on-going preservation work maintaining a collection of 16mm prints. 40 Frames is now in-progress developing a menu of Technical Services and Workshops to serve the local and regional community of media makers and film enthusiasts.   (