6 Films to See at Portland’s QDoc Film Festival

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May 9, 2017
Marsha P. Johnson

By Allison Dopp

QDoc, the nation’s only film festival dedicated exclusively to LGBTQ documentaries takes place May 18-21, 2017 in Portland, Oregon at Hollywood Theatre. Under the new leadership of Deb Kemp and Molly King, QDoc celebrates its 11th year with a lineup of 12 documentary films.

King says QDoc is all about bringing documentaries to Portland that would not likely be seen here otherwise. It provides opportunity for dialogue between filmmakers and the LGBTQ community and allies, and illuminates diverse aspects of queer life for all audiences. “I love the quote by documentary filmmaker Patricio Guzmán, ‘A country without documentary films is like a family without a photo album,’” says King.

King and Kemp could not be more excited to step into this new role working closely with festival Co-Founders Russ Gage and David Weissman. “We look forward to carrying out the wonderful legacy they have built over the past decade, and sharing our second decade with the extended community of Portland,” says King.

Having attended my first QDoc last year, it’s incredibly special to have an entire weekend dedicated to real-life queer stories with the opportunity to participate in Q&A sessions with film subjects and directors following most films. Last year, I took the good advice from a friend and purchased a festival pass and basically camped out at the theater for three days. It was magical and has become one of my yearly must-dos.

So grab a beer and slice of pizza at the historic Hollywood Theatre and settle in for a documentary marathon weekend sure to leave you laughing, crying, moved and connected with hundreds of LGBTQ friends.

At Tagg, we are excited to check out these six films centering the stories of LGBTQ women, transgender people and LGBTQ people of color.

 

1. JEWEL’S CATCH ONE
Friday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m.

Jewel Thais-Williams helped changed laws, save lives and influence communities across Los Angeles at her legendary nightclub, a home for LGBTQ people of color for 42 years. Through interviews with clubgoers Sharon Stone, Sandra Bernhard and Bonnie Pointer, among others, director C. Fitz draws a portrait of a determined entrepreneur who overcame the challenges of being black, female, poor and lesbian to create a lasting legacy in the West Hollywood community. Includes Q&A with subject Jewel Thais-Williams and director C. Fitz following the film.

 

2. BAYARD AND ME
Friday, May 19 at 8:45 p.m.

Bayard Rustin and PartnerIconic U.S. civil rights leader Bayard Rustin and his longtime partner, Walter Naegle, wanted to legally marry in the 1980s, but that was not possible. Still wanting legal protection for their union, Bayard adopted Naegle, who was 30 years his junior. In this intimate love story, Naegle remembers Bayard and a time when same-sex marriage was inconceivable. He reflects on the little-known phenomena of intergenerational gay adoption and its connection to the civil rights movement.

 

 

3. A GIANT’S LOVE
Friday, May 19 (Following Bayard and Me)

Leonardo Munoz was born in 1943 in Argentina. At the age of 14, Leonardo became Mariela. Being transgender under a right-wing military dictator was not without complication. A loved and loving woman, Mariela welcomed, fostered and raised 17 abandoned children in her lifetime, and became the first transgender person ever to obtain legal documents, thus setting a precedent in Argentina. Through the testimonies of her children and others close to her, A Giant’s Love traces the fight for the recognition of Mariela’s identity in a country under military junta and highlights her commitment to the protection of the oppressed.

 

4. THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON
Saturday, May 20 at 3:30 p.m.

Who killed Marsha P. Johnson? When the beloved, self-described “street queen” of New York’s Christopher Street was found floating in the Hudson River in 1992, the NYPD called her death a suicide. Protests erupted, but the police remained impassive and refused to investigate. Now, 25 years on, Oscar-nominated director and journalist David France (How to Survive a Plague) re-examines the death of a beloved icon of the trans world while celebrating the story of two landmark pioneers of the trans rights movement.

 

5. CHAVELA
Saturday, May 20 at 6:30 p.m.

ChavelaAccording to The Guardian, legendary Mexican singer Chavela Vargas is “probably Donald Trump’s ultimate nightmare: a Mexican lesbian diva who can wring your very soul.” The Hollywood Reporter calls her “a trailblazing free spirit whose appetite for tequila and women was as legendary as her soul-stirring vocals.” Through its lyrical structure, Chavela takes viewers on an evocative, thought-provoking journey through the life of this iconoclastic, game-changing artist. Includes a Q&A with director/producer Catherine Gund following film.

 

 

 

6. SMALL TALK
Sunday, May 21 at 2:30 p.m.

In Taiwanese culture, questioning a mother’s love is taboo. But as filmmaker Hui-chen Huang sets out on a journey with her mother, such an inquiry forms the basis for an intimate exploration of a complex and nuanced relationship. Huang seeks to understand her mother, Anu, who took the radical step in the 1970s of leaving her violent husband and raising her two children alone, forging an unusual path in which her female lovers have all shared her profession as a Taoist priestess and professional mourner. Through often-unresolved conversations with her mother, as well as interviews with her mother’s siblings and ex-lovers, Huang reveals the complex and changing landscape for Taiwanese women.

 

Films will sell out quickly, so be sure to visit http://www.queerdocfest.org/ to purchase tickets in advance and arrive to the theater early to grab your seat. Free tickets are available to youth 23 and under – contact info@qdocfilmfest.org to request your ticket.

 

 

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