Support a local film about growing up, the outdoors and love

Portland-based filmmakers Ime Etuk (Lion Speaks) and Ifanyi Bell (Open Signal) are teaming up with actor Vin Shambry (ART and more) to create a feature film — OUTDOOR SCHOOL: THE MOVIE — about growing up Black in 90s Portland. Portland in the 90’s was a place of environmental activism, Mayor Bud Clark exposing himself to art, figure skater Tonya Harding, the beginning of coffee culture, and a successful Trailblazers team. In fact, much of this story has been romanticized by productions like IFC’s Portlandia. 

However, under that very white veneer, the Black community was fighting to flourish amidst gang violence, gentrification, and a very real memory of racist police actions like The Burger Barn Incident. This tale of Black Portland hasn’t been told, and whose time has come. Viewers will see and feel what it is like to grow up Black in America, and how even against the backdrop of poverty, joy and transformation can be found.”

This Thursday, July 15, Tony Arnerich, Rex Burkholder, Ryland Moore will host a special event with these filmmakers to share the vision of this story, plans for filming this fall and to provide an unique opportunity for members of the community to invest and contribute to this project. You can RSVP for this event here.

The filmmakers are looking for visionaries to contribute or invest in this project, charitable contributions and grants to support career development opportunities for young people of color interested in filmmaking, as well as product placement sponsorship opportunities.


Outdoor School will tell the story of Vin Shambry, a Black 12-year old boy in Portland, Oregon. Homeless, Vin sleeps under a tree in the park with his mother and baby sister, by day palling around with his school-yard friend, daughter of a famous shoe designer. Vin’s 6th-grade class embarks on an educational coming-of-age adventure known as Outdoor School. Reluctant to leave his family, Vin goes on the trip, where his worldview is transformed by nature and caring adults. 

For the first time, he learns what it means to be a kid. He faces the dilemma of sacrificing his only pair of sneakers, his prized Deon Sanders Nikes in order to help his team win in tug of war. Ultimately, Vin navigates the tension between his family life and the great outdoors while masking his poverty at all costs to protect himself and the people he loves. The experience changes his life: watching it will change yours.


Writer/Director: Ime N. Etuk (pronounced “E-May”) is a Nigerian-American Producer and Director who grew up in Portland, Oregon. Before joining the Director’s Guild of America, Ime worked on the ABCNEWS shows, World News Tonight and 20/20. Ime has worked under some of the most prolific directors in Hollywood, including Paul Haggis “Crash”, The Coen Brothers “The Man Who Wasn’t There”, Antoine Fuqua “Training Day”, and David Lynch “Twin Peaks”.

Producer: Ifanyi Bell is the Executive Producer of Open Signal Labs (formerly known as Portland Community Media), a content studio and social impact incubator that gathers professional creatives, Open Signal Producers, and community members to tell stories of social and cultural relevance.

Author/Executive Producer: Vin Shambry is a published writer, acclaimed storyteller, international actor, and director. He has performed on Broadway and toured nationally as Tom Collins in Rent and John in Miss Saigon. His outdoor school story is featured in Occasional Magic, a New York Times Best Seller. Additionally, his performative, original writing was featured in April Baer’s State of Wonder on Oregon Public Broadcasting.


Portland A&O powered by Prosper Portland aims to support the success of Oregon’s 800+ Athletic and Outdoor firms through community, peer-to-peer learning, events, and programming.


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