The doors are closed. There are no more screenings of this film.
Synopsis: In the summer of 2020, amid a global pandemic and political unrest, demonstrations erupted worldwide following the murder of George Floyd. Portland became the focus of media attention for its intense, prolonged demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality. Oregon’s racist beginnings set the stage for Portland to become a central battleground for leftist activists and far right extremist groups, training ground for violence that culminated in the January 6th U.S. capitol attack. Tipping Point reaches for a deeper, depoliticized look at Portland’s spotlight-grabbing reckoning. Through never-before-seen footage and exclusive interviews with Portlanders on the ground, Tipping Point humanizes the struggle while allowing Portland’s story to serve as a mirror for all of America – the past that brought us here and the future we must choose.
It’s important to know that I showed up as a passionate supporter of the movement and not as a filmmaker in the first days after the protests began in late May 2020. I was just going down to check it out because I cared about BLM. I didn’t bring my camera. I saw all the people contributing and participating – food / medics – and it dawned on me that I should bring my best skill to contribute and be documenting everything. After about a month of gathering footage day and night, it became clear that a documentary needed to be made, which is when I teamed up with TOC and their We Can Listen social justice program.
Before the pandemic I was making documentary shorts for my web series on musicians, but the pandemic brought music to an abrupt halt, and shortly after, George Floyd was murdered. I pivoted to making my first feature with Tipping Point. During the process of filming, I was repeatedly targeted and tear gassed by the police and the federal officers, had to get stitches after getting stabbed by a Proud Boy and was almost run over intentionally by a Trump supporter when a Trump Rally invaded the BLM demonstration. Before the 2020 protests I was already aware of the high rate of racial profiling and brutality towards people of color by the Portland police. I had also witnessed the emergence of the Proud Boys rallies in Portland since 2017. I went down to the protest to see first-hand how much truth there was to the stories. I expected to go down there and see that people were overreacting, but what I discovered exceeded my expectations. It was shocking to witness the Portland Police Bureau abuse of power and rampant disregard for court ordered bans on deploying munitions night after night.
As a white male I recognized that I was the last person anyone would want to hear from in a documentary about the Black Lives Matter protests and the mostly unheard history of people of color in Oregon. I enlisted Julianne Johnson to produce the documentary and facilitate the interviews with her own questions. Julianne is the host of the We Can Listen social justice series and it was her skill and ability to connect with people, and the fact that she is a Black woman, that brought these stories to life and elicited the most honest responses.
Jon Meyer’s artistry as a musician and music-video maker brings a compelling energy to his work. He has his own short-form documentary series featuring musicians and has earned top prizes at local and international film festivals for his directing and editing skills. Jon has been making short films for over a decade. Tipping Point is his first feature.