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Oregon Documentary Created by L&C Alumni

August 07, 2012

  • The Martha Washington Hotel is the subject of a documentary by alumni filmmakers.
    Photo courtesy of Dana Plautz

Alumni Dana Plautz ‘82 and Miles Sprietsma ‘07 created an award-winning documentary about the Martha Washington, the first women’s boarding house in Portland, Oregon. Other alumni collaborations include music by Nik Walton ‘10 and flute by Leslie Simmons ‘13.

Screening Details:

The Oregon Encyclopedia History Pub
McMenamins Mission Theater to Premiere:                                       
“The Martha Washington & the Women Who Built Her “  40 minutes
A Documentary Film by Dana Plautz & Miles Sprietsma 
Winner of the Gold Aurora Award for documentary-historical event category.

September 10, 2012  7:00  FREE Admission
1624 Northwest Glisan Street  Portland, OR 97209
Come meet the filmmakers and learn about the 125-year history of the oldest women’s philanthropic organization in the State of Oregon.

In 1887 100 women, all volunteers, started the first women’s boarding house in Portland, Oregon. The iconic women’s hotel, built for women at the turn of the last century, by Portland’s founding mothers, many with the last names familiar still today, provided safe housing and cultural benefits for young women arriving to work in the rough and tumble village of Stumptown.  Through a series of video interviews interwoven with supporting imagery, historians, residents of the Martha, housing experts, and past Presidents of the organization, the film traces the Portland Women’s Union and how they raised the monies, managed, and actually built the hotel.

Can’t attend this event?  The next showing will be October 6th at the Oregon Historical Society as part of  the Oregon Archives Crawl & the Oregon Historical Society’s Free Day.  Check the website for updated details & showing times.



Dana Plautz  graduated in 1982 with a communications major.  She spent 10 years in the Hollywood entertainment industry holding senior posts at Norman Lear’s Embassy Communications and Hanna-Barbera Studios. An accomplished video and web producer, some of her projects include the award winning documentary “Artist Response to 9.11”, that she produced  & directed with LC Alum Dave Decker, class of ‘81.  She also produces and co-owns, a website for children about books and reading; winner of the American Library Association honor of “Great Web Site for Kids”.

Miles Sprietsma, graduated in 2007 with a degree in Art and received his MFA in contemporary art practice at Portland State University.  He is an artist, filmmaker and musician living in Portland. He is employed at the NW Film Center.  His documentary film “Insects, Art and I” that he made while at LC was featured in the 32nd NW Film and Video Festival, a short 16mm film “Kiss” was a finalist in the Oregon Sesquicentennial Film Festival Gold Coyote Competition, and Solaristics was screened at the NW Film Center Movers and Markers event in 2012. 

Nik Walton, graduated in 2010 with a degree in music. He served as a production intern at Chamber Music Northwest before composing the original music for the film. This is the first film he has scored. He was also responsible for directing & coordinating all of the musicians who perform on the soundtrack.

Leslie Simmons, class of 2013 is also a music major. She just completed an overseas study program to London and currently has been interning at the Oregon Symphony.  Leslie plays the flute on the film’s musical score.  She is a recipient of The Alumni Leadership Scholarship award.

Plautz who served on the Board of Alumni met Leslie while interviewing her for the Alumni Leadership Scholarship award and acted as Leslie’s mentor as part of the scholarship opportunity.  This led to the relationship with Nik Walton.  “Mentoring and being involved with current and past students leads to many great collaborations because the Lewis and Clark students are creative thinkers, reliable, and have such a high caliber of skills and commitment”, said Dana.  “In this case, it also gives them an award winning project for their resumes and something to show people in their portfolio”, she added.