The Portland Underground Film Festival was founded in 2004, and for nine years was the place in the Pacific Northwest to find films and videos by artists with limited means and big imaginations. Clinton Street Theater was PUFF's primary home during this time, with other screenings at secondary locations; and for three days each year, we celebrated filmmakers of all genres who were bent upon realizing a personal and independent cinematic vision. After theater ownership changed hands in 2012 and the remaining founder moved to Sacramento, California in 2014, PUFF took a two-year hiatus.

With the loss of the Experimental Film Festival of Portland in 2015, few opportunities existed in Portland to see film arts that are alternatives to mainstream entertainment, and PUFF started up again in 2017 to fill that void. 

The 2017 & 2018 Portland Underground Film Festivals were a blast! We received submissions from all over the United States, and from Czech Republic, England, Germany, Israel, Italy, Spain, and Russia. In 2018, a filmmaker visited from Argentina, and met her future spouse at the festival! (No promise of future matchmaking services intended).