Priced Out Hits Theaters DecEMBER 3, 12 & 13

McMenamins' Kennedy School Theater. Our first film, NorthEast Passage premiered at the Kennedy School way back in 2002.

McMenamins' Kennedy School Theater. Our first film, NorthEast Passage premiered at the Kennedy School way back in 2002.

The Priced Out production team is happy to announce a series of theatrical screenings starting this Sunday, Dec. 3.

Priced Out: 15 Years of Gentrification in Portland, Oregon will screen at the Clinton Street Theater in Southeast Portland on Sunday, Dec. 3, and at the Kennedy School Theater in Northeast Portland, Dec. 12 and Dec. 13.

Priced Out is the sequel to the documentary NorthEast Passage: The Inner City and the American Dream, which premiered at the Kennedy School in 2002.

“It’s like a homecoming,” said Priced Out director Cornelius Swart. “We were the first independent film to ever show at the Kennedy School. It was kind of a new venue at that time and they only showed first-run movies. It’s very touching and a little ironic that we could come back to the theater after all these years.”

NorthEast Passage’s premiere in 2002 sold out quickly, and the show turned away hundreds of people each of its two screening nights. Priced Out's premiere events also sold out quickly. Advance tickets are not available for the Kennedy School shows, so come early. Tickets are cash only, sliding scale $5–$10.

Advance tickets are available for Clinton Street Theater, $8.

Sunday, Dec 3
Clinton Street Theatre
2522 SE Clinton Street Portland, OR 97202
7 pm, short Q&A to follow
Tickets $8 Online Purchases HERE

Tuesday, Dec 12
Kennedy School Theater
5736 NE 33rd Ave. Portland, OR 97211
7 pm Early Show
8 pm Q&A
9:30 pm Late Show
10:30 Q&A

Wednesday, Dec 13
Kennedy School Theater
5736 NE 33rd Ave. Portland, OR 97211
7 pm Early Show
8 pm Q&A
9:30 pm Late Show
10:30 pm Q&A
Tickets $5–$10 sliding scale, cash only at the door

Priced Out Premiere Packs Portland Art Museum [Slideshow]


Film premieres to sellout crowds, pointed questions, tearful audience response

The Portland premiere of Priced Out: 15 Years of Gentrification in Portland, Oregon drew a sold-out crowd to the Portland Art Museum on Nov. 1, 2017. The show sold out so quickly that the host, NW Film Center, promptly booked an additional show on Nov. 7, which also sold out.

The film screened at the Whitsell Auditorium for the opening night of the Northwest Filmmaker’s FestivalPriced Out is the sequel to NorthEast Passage: The Inner City and the American Dream. The first film made its festival premiere at the Northwest Filmmaker’s fest 15 years ago.

Many of the film’s participants were on hand and dressed to the nines at the film’s prescreening reception, including Albina residents Brianna Williams, Percy Hampton, Michelle Lewis, Paul Knauls, Rachel Hall, and Harry Jackson.

The reception included the unveiling of the official movie poster and a brief awards ceremony for the production team. Appreciation awards went to volunteer motion graphics editor Martin Lendahls, assistant producer Donovan Smith, co-producer Eric Maxen, music supervisor Farnell Newton, and to Nikki and Bri Williams for having the courage to share their stories with the world.


A lively round of questions and answers followed the show. The audience asked hard-hitting questions about housing policy and Portland’s culture of race and class. Director Cornelius Swart and activist Cameron Whitten followed with Q&A exchanges on Whitten’s podcast, Chocolate and Caramel, the following week. Listen to the podcast for more in-depth and at time hilarious discussion on the issues.

While many wanted to talk about the issues, others wanted to talk about the heartbreaking personal stories the film documents.

“What I was surprised at was just how many people were moved to tears by this film,” said director Cornelius Swart. “People young and old and of all colors just kept coming up to production folks to tell them how emotional they got.”

“I think we’ve successfully conveyed the pain and root shock that so many people who are experiencing gentrification feel,” said Swart.


The local premiere clears the way for a small theatrical run planned for Portland in the coming weeks.

After that, Priced Out will be fanning out into dozens of small community screenings hosted by groups as diverse as the City of Portland, the Boise Neighborhood Association, and the Beaverton Library.

If you haven’t already, sign up for our email list at and we’ll notify you of upcoming public screenings. 

If you want to host a screening just send us an email at

Priced Out Premieres in Portland Nov. 1

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The producers are happy to announce that Priced Out will make its local debut this coming November 1 at the opening night of the 44th Northwest Filmmaker’s Festival.

“The housing crisis continues to roll over Portland with no signs of letting up,” said Priced Out Director Cornelius Swart. “We eager to get this film out into the public. We think it’s going to stir the conversation up in a whole new way.”

The screening will be at the Portland Art Museum’s prestigious Witsell Auditorium.   There will be a reception before and after the screening with filmmakers, crew and production participants. Filmmakers will take questions from the audience after the screening.

The Northwest Filmmaker’s Festival is a showcase of films from Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.  The festival is put on each year by Portland’s Northwest Film Center.

“In 2015, when we started working on Priced Out gentrification was a rising issue in the city,” said Swart. “Now, gentrification, housing, and homelessness are Portland’s most pressing social issues. We think the film will really inform and influence how people see the issue. It will open your eyes.”

Wednesday, November 1, 7 pm
Whitsell Auditorium
Tickets: HERE

Priced Out goes to Los Angeles and St. Louis

New Urbanism Film Festival
Later this month Priced Out will make its debut at the 4th New Urbanism Film Festival in Los Angeles, Calif.

The New Urbanism Film Festival showcases short and feature-length films about issues shaping modern cities. The event highlights stories about progressive planning issues such as rapid transit, bicycle transportation, and urban design.

Priced Out will screen alongside the short film Future Portland, a meditation on Portland’s urban growth and the future of the black community.

Oct 21, 3:45 pm
Tickets: HERE

St Louis Film Festival

Priced Out will screen on Nov. 4. at the St. Louis Film Festival as part of its Mean Street series.

Mean Streets is a film series that focuses on racial segregation, police brutality and other issues dividing American cities. A screening of Priced Out will be followed by a panel discussion organized by Washington University’s School of Journalism and Communications.

Saturday, Nov 4, 1:00 pm
More info: HERE

There will be many more public screenings in Portland now that the film has been publicly released. Sign up for our production updates, and we’ll send you notifications as they come.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for latest screening announcements.



Film Gets Glowing Reception From "Cast" and Crew at Private Screening

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“People let me know my story was very powerful”

Private screening for Priced Out participants brought out the community, stirred up emotions.

This June, residents and on-camera experts involved in the documentary production Priced Out got their first chance to see the film. Their reaction? They loved it.

Priced Out held a private screening on June 28 to a packed room of about 100 guests. The audience was composed of the individuals who appeared on camera in the production and those who worked behind the scenes.   

The screening also included the short film The Numbers about East Portland, produced by Priced Out assistant producer Donovan Smith and Priced Out videographer Sika Stanton [More on The Numbers in future posts]. 


[ABOVE: Slideshow of screening and reception. Click photos to advance.]


The screening was held at Billy Webb Elks Lodge, one of the oldest continually run black businesses in the Albina Community. The screening was sponsored in part by Northwest Documentary Arts & Media.

The film is a dramatic look at gentrification in Portland over the last 15 years. It features the story of Nikki Williams, a single black mother who struggles with the pain of losing her community to gentrification.  

The audience was engrossed throughout the film’s 59 minutes.  Viewers exploded into a thunderous round of applause as the lights came up. Some wiped away tears at the movie’s poignant conclusion.

“I was very moved by Nikki; it was extremely emotional,” said Fred Leeson of the Architectural Heritage Society. “I was wondering if this woman was ever going to find peace and happiness."

Leeson appeared in Priced Out as an on-camera expert. The June screening was the first time he’d seen the film.  He was stunned at how openly Nikki shared her struggles, for good and for ill, in the neighborhood over the last 15 years. 

“She was so forthcoming with the camera,” Leeson said. “What an amazing person.“ 


Priced Out blends Nikki’s story with the history of the neighborhood and its fate at the hands of housing discrimination and institutional racism.

Amber Dennis, an event volunteer, was paying close attention to audience reaction during the film.

“I think people felt affirmed to see the history on the big screen,” said Dennis. “There are very few places where you see the history of this neighborhood all at once. You see how discrimination, urban renewal, and gentrification all fit together and how our daily lives play a role in that.”

After the screening guests were treated to a reception where they took selfie's with director Cornelius Swart and got a chance to mingle and share their impressions.

“People let me know my story was very powerful,” said Michelle Lewis said. "They got to see me at my most vulnerable.”

Lewis, featured in Priced Out, works at Oregon Health Sciences University, but describes herself as among “the working poor.” In 2008 her family lost their home in the subprime mortgage collapse.

“The film did a good job of getting at the big picture,” Lewis said. “I think it brought people together and made them want to do something.”

Lewis felt Priced Out inspired viewers take action against the downsides of gentrification.

 “People were talking, ‘OK, how can we get together as a community to hold public officials accountable!” Lewis said.

Representatives from local grassroots groups like Young Gifted and Black and city agencies like the Office of Neighborhood Involvement and Prosper Portland (formerly the Portland Development Commission) were also in attendance. The filmmakers intend to partner with organizations that want to use the film as a tool to engage their constituents, open dialogue, and bring people into campaigns aimed at combatting gentrification. 

Lewis for one thought white and minority residents in Portland and across the country would benefit from the film’s message.

“They should see the movie,” Lewis said. “Gentrification is happening all over. It can happen to you. The film is a wakeup call!

Sneak Peak Gets Big Reception, Passionate Debate


Over Memorial Day Weekend we had a really great sneak peak screening at the Vanport Mosaic Festival. We showed a few minutes of the finished film and had a lengthy discussion with the audience about housing, social justice and the meaning of the word “home.”

SEE THE KATU STORY: Priced Out and the Vanport Festival

It was amazing to see a packed theatre at 11am on a sunny Portland Sunday, during Memorial Day Weekend no less. Folks were enormously engaged and passionate both about the history of Vanport and the issue of gentrification.

It was a very dramatic discussion, just the kind we like.

We think the screening was a good indicator of public appetite for this film.


(left)Director Cornelius Swart was on hand. He answered questions ranging what can be done to halt the current housing crisis, to whether or not Swart was himself exploiting gentrification by making this film.




NorthEast Passage Remastered, Now on Youtube


We're happy to announce that our first film, NorthEast Passage: The Inner City and the American Dream has been remastered and made available, in its entirety, on Youtube.

Earlier this year, our distributor, the National Film Network, closed for business. They released the rights back to SydHonda Media. We took the opportunity to go back in an correct the film for color and sound, something that our production did not have enough money to do when it was released in 2002.

Not having color and sound correction may have seriously held the film back in terms of its appeal to markets outside of Oregon.  Well, we are happy that after 15 years, we've truly finished the film.  

That's thanks in no small part to Jason Wells at AudioWells and Jonnathan Boone of Boone Productions, in association with out partners at Northwest Documentary.  They did a remarkable job of working on a film that a finished and mixed down project.  That meant they couldn't go back into the original editing files to work on the media, but had to work off a final mixed file with all the audio tracks mixed together and video transitions like dissolves in place.

Not everyone embraced gentrification in North/Northeast Portland in the late 1990s, but many did welcome the new investment. Scenes from NorthEast Passage (2002).

Not everyone embraced gentrification in North/Northeast Portland in the late 1990s, but many did welcome the new investment. Scenes from NorthEast Passage (2002).


The result is impressive from a behind the scenes technical point of view.  And the end product is much more pleasurable to view.

If you haven't already, we hope you can take 56 minutes to watch this compelling portrait of what Northeast Portland was like in the late 1990s when neighborhoods besieged by crime and disinvestment many embraced gentrification and others had a sinking feeling that trouble was just around the corner.

Sneak Peek at Scenes from Priced Out at Vanport Festival, May 28


We're very happy to announce that scenes from Priced Out will screen at the this May 28.  

As you know, we've been working on the project for two years now. Priced Out is a sequel to the 2002 documentary “NorthEast Passage: The Inner City and the American Dream,” about gentrification in the late 1990s.  

Priced Out returns to Nikki Williams, a single mother featured in the first film, to document her journey as a homeowner in Portland’s only African American neighborhood.  Angered by the displacement of the black population, Williams finds herself caught between the loss of her community and the economic opportunities created by gentrification.  

We're in the very final stages of post production. Next week we expect to make the last adjustments to motion graphics, color, and sound. Then, we will have to make a very significant strategic deciscion -- submit to national film festivals and keep the project under wraps until we hear from them, or move directly to DIY distribution.

What do you think? Send us your thoughts at

[Above] Scenes from Priced Out: Nikki Williams in 2013, when she realized that the black community in her neighborhood had been "obliterated" by gentrification.

[Above] Scenes from Priced Out: Nikki Williams in 2013, when she realized that the black community in her neighborhood had been "obliterated" by gentrification.


Until then, we are very honored that Priced Out will be debuting scenes at the Vanport Mosaic Festival. The history of the unique housing development is closely tied with the roots of Portland's black community. Priced Out features a section on Vanport in its extensive series of historical flashback scenes.

The screening will be followed by a facilitated dialogue on community and housing hosted by the film's producer/director Cornelius Swart and Oregon Humanities.

The Vanport Mosaic Festival 2017, is a four-day exploration of the history and legacy of Vanport, Oregon’s second largest city wiped out by a flood in 1948. Through theater, documentaries, historic exhibit, lectures, and tours the festival honors the experience of those who lived there.


Priced Out: Selected Scenes
Sunday, May 28, 2017, 11am- 12:30pm
The Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center 5340 N Interstate Ave
Box Office at IFCC open one hour before
curtain. Suggested admission $5, Tickets

Vanport Mosaic Events page Priced Out on Facebook and Instagram

Documentary Screening: When Gentrification Was a Good Thing?

NOTICE: Venue has changed for Nov 17 show. Screening will be at Billy Webb Elk's Lodge, 7 North Tillamook, 97212. 

Was there ever a time when some Portlanders thought gentrification was a good idea, when neighborhoods said there was too much affordable housing? 

The film NorthEast Passage documented life in North/Northeast Portland in the late 1990s when crime and abandoned buildings were the neighborhood's number one concern. Rising home prices and outside investors were welcomed by many. A lot has changed for the better and a lot of mistakes were made for the worse.

Come to a screening of NorthEast Passage: The Inner City and the American Dream and participate in a panel discussion about what the lessons learned in North/Northeast Portland can teach the rest of the city. 

Screenings of NorthEast Passage are part of a drive to raise funds to complete its sequel, Priced Out: Gentrification Beyond Black and White.

For the last six months Priced Out producers have been grinding hundreds of hours of footage into 65-minute rough draft. Once editing is complete, producers hope to take the project into finishing, where audio and color are refined into a production that's ready for primetime.

“Our first film, NorthEast Passage, was very successful locally but never made it to the finishing phase,” said producer Cornelius Swart. “Taking Priced Out into finishing will allow us to get into festivals and reach a much larger audience.”

The film launched successful Kickstarter last summer that funded the start of production. Producers hope to raise new funds through a series of micro-screenings of NorthEast Passage held on the first three Thursdays in November. The event is co-sponsored by Northwest Documentary and Ignorant/Reflections's Gentrification Is Weird project.

Nikki Williams is featured in both NorthEast Passage and Priced Out.

Nikki Williams is featured in both NorthEast Passage and Priced Out.

NorthEast Passage documents gentrification long before the issue became a household word in Portland. The documentary was released in 2002 at a time when much of North/Northeast Portland was plagued by crime and abandoned buildings. Some saw the influx of new white residents and businesses as a boon for the neighborhood while others cautioned that residents could get displaced as the area's revitalization turned into gentrification.

Since that time, the black population in the core of North/Northeast has fallen by 60 percent and gentrification has swept across the city, prompting Portland’s City Hall to declare a “housing state of emergency” in the fall of 2015.

Screenings of NorthEast Passage will be followed by a panel discussion on gentrification with producers, advocates and individuals featured in the film

Proceeds from Ignorant/Reflections and Priced Out items will go to fund the completion of project.

Proceeds from Ignorant/Reflections and Priced Out items will go to fund the completion of project.

Refreshments will be on sale along with Priced Out and Gentrification Is Weird collectible items. Other donations to the project are encouraged.

“We’re considerably behind schedule,” said Swart. “But the idea that we might be able to raise money to make the project something that will really shine will make it all worthwhile.”

Priced Out, the follow-up to NorthEast Passage, began production in September of 2015 and its subject has become increasingly relevant. Producers anticipate release of the film in the winter of 2016/17.

Doors open at 6:15 pm, discussion at 8pm. Seating capacity is limited to 60 per showing; advanced ticket purchase is encouraged.

Thursday Nov 3 tickets
Thursday Nov 10 tickets
Thursday Nov 17 tickets- Change of venue: Billy Webb Elk's Lodge 7 North Tillamook St, 97212,  across the street from Northwest Doc.

Tickets $10-$20 sliding scale. Screenings at Northwest Documentary, 6 NE Tillamook St., Portland, 97212. For more information, email


Priced Out Screens Work-in-Progress for Elemental Technologies

Producer Cornelius Swart and Liz Scott right before screening Priced Out to approximately 150 employees of Elemental Technologies.

Producer Cornelius Swart and Liz Scott right before screening Priced Out to approximately 150 employees of Elemental Technologies.


I presented a portion of Priced Out for a lunch time gathering of about 150 employees of Elemental Technologies in downtown Portland today, Friday Sept. 29th.

I was there at the invitation of Liz Scott, an Elemental Technologies executive assistant and former intern at the newspaper, The Sentinel, that I ran in North Portland back in the day.

Scott said she was impressed with the turn out. 

“We usually don’t see so many people come out for serious social topics like this,” she said. Scott is in charge of arranging lunch time presentations for employees that can range from professional to social issues

The audience was definitely engaged. The group threw out question after question on the issue of gentrification and the housing crisis in a 15-minute question and answer session.

“I feel like I’m a part of this story,” one viewer said. “I’m glad someone is talking about this.”

It was good news for the production, in that it’s the first market test for the film and it appears that there is an audience of concerned citizens out there that want to see a film on this topic.

The painful process of storyboarding/assemble editing is now complete.

The painful process of storyboarding/assemble editing is now complete.

Elemental Technologies builds video streaming software. The company has grown from a small Portland start up to an operation with offices in eight countries. In 2012 Forbe’s ranked it among the most promising companies in America. Last year, Amazon acquired the company for almost $300 million. They continue to grow and next year they will move into the Oregonian’s old office building on Southwest Broadway.

I was impressed with how socially conscious and astute the employees were.  Not everyone can make it through a project in its rough form.

The work-in-progress was a 20-minute sample of Priced Out’s assemble edit.  The assemble edit is a raw form of a film, in which clips are assembled into the basic story shape of the project.

The assemble edit was just completed yesterday. We’ll be doing a lot more test screenings in the coming weeks as the rough cut, the next phase of editing, begins to take shape.