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Portland State film student wins national Princess Grace award for emerging artists
Author: Suzanne Pardington, University Communications
Posted: August 21, 2014

Pam Minty, a fine arts graduate student at Portland State University, has won a national Princess Grace award to make a documentary about her mother’s blindness and her family’s connections to the landscape of western Oregon. 

The Princess Grace Foundation-USA awards grants to talented emerging artists in theater, dance performance, choreography and film in memory of Princess Grace (Kelly) of Monaco.

“The Princess Grace Awards provide a significant launch for the professional careers of the winners,” said Robert Bucker, dean of PSU’s College of the Arts. “Not only does the foundation invest in the young artists that they initially identify as winners, but they also provide a sequential process to reward the progress of the artist's career and provide progressively greater support as the work of the artist develops.”

Minty plans to use her $7,000 honorarium for her thesis project, “A Roadside Geology of Oregon,” an experimental documentary weaving her family’s archival home movies of western Oregon with new footage of the landscape and her mother navigating it as a blind person. The Princess Grace award will cover the film stock and processing, and she needs to raise another $5,000 to complete the film. 

“It’s really exciting,” Minty said. “It’s a validation of your work at a time when you’re exploring and trying new ideas as a student, and the funds make it possible to do the work.” 

Prior to coming to Portland State, Minty worked as the education program manager for the Northwest Film Center, and she still teaches there. Her 2011 feature documentary, “Empty Quarter,” focuses on the farming and ranching communities of southeast Oregon. Samples of her work are at

“This is a fantastic award,” said Ethan Seltzer, interim director of the School of Art and Design. “It will help Pam complete an important piece that will contribute to her MFA degree, and it places her work among the very best in the nation. This kind of recognition confirms that PSU is attracting amazing artists to our programs.”