(PORTLAND, Ore.) QDoc: Portland’s Queer Documentary Film Festival is back and bigger than ever. The 7th annual festival opens at McMenamins Bagdad Theater May 16 with the larger than life portrait of drag superstar Divine in I AM DIVINE presented with director Jeffrey Schwarz (VITO) and actress Mink Stole in attendance. Following Opening Night, the Festival continues through May 19 at McMenamins Kennedy School with ten documentaries that feature gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, transsexual and gender-questioning artists, lovers, activists and pioneers.
Divine, also known as Harris Glenn Milstead, or by People Magazine as “The Drag Queen of the Century,” was an American actor best known for starring in John Waters’ films (PINK FLAMINGOS, HAIRSPRAY, FEMALE TROUBLE). In Schwarz’s documentary, a host of friends, performers and actors, including frequent co-star Mink Stole, provide a behind the scenes account of Divine’s life (Divine died on March 7, 1988 just weeks after the cult-hit HAIRSPRAY was released) and talent that redefined underground cinema. Visiting artist Stole has had the distinction of starring in every feature film directed by John Waters, in most of them alongside Divine, as well as multiple independent films (BUT I’M A CHEERLEADER, LOST HIGHWAY).
Opening Night Tickets
Igniting the Friday line-up is the eco-documentary GOODBYE GAULEY MOUNTAIN that examines mountain top removal in the Appalachian Mountains. Directed by Beth Stephens with her partner, sex activist and performance artist Annie Sprinkle, who will both be in attendance. Following is INTERIOR. LEATHER BAR, a collaborative documentary made by Travis Matthews (I WANT YOUR LOVE, IN THEIR ROOM) and actor James Franco that was inspired by 40 minutes of controversial footage left out of the 1980 film CRUISING starring Al Pacino. Travis Matthews will be in attendance.
The Festival’s Saturday begins with BORN THIS WAY, a contemporary look at gay and lesbian citizens of Cameroon living in fear of arrest and persecution, attended by co-director Deb Tullman. Taking a look back at the lesbian rights movement of the seventies and eighties is LESBIANA: A PARALLEL REVOLUTION directed by French Canadian filmmaker Myriam Fougère. Another early gay pioneer artist, experimental filmmaker, poet and proto-faerie gets a heartfelt tribute in the documentary BIG JOY: THE ADVENTURES OF JAMES BROUGHTON. James Broughton’s remarkable life and influence on the indie film scene is brought to life by director Stephen Silha and local Portland filmmaker Eric Slade. Shot over six years, the documentary rounding out the Saturday line-up is MR. ANGEL, a profile of the transgender advocate, educator and porn pioneer, Buck Angel.
Sunday, the final day of QDoc, begins in the bayou. BAYOU MAHARAJAH explores the life and music of New Orleans piano legend James Booker, the man Dr. John described as “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.” In the afternoon, the Festival gets wild, screening WILDNESS, about the generational interactions between a younger generation of club queers and Latino drag queens at neighborhood gay bar in Los Angeles. I AM WOMAN NOW offers reflections from 5 older European women who were part of the first generation of transsexuals who had their sex change in Casablanca back in the mid-1950s to 1960s.
Closing the Festival on Sunday evening is VALENTINE ROAD, a new HBO documentary that will air in the fall, about the in-school killing of a 15 year old gender-questioning boy by a 14 year old classmate and the aftermath and trial. This extraordinary real-life event has largely been unknown to the broader public until now. Director Marta Cunningham will be present.
QDoc is funded in part by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, Work for Art and The Wendy Foundation. Major sponsors include Q Center, Morel Ink, HBO and McMenamins. Media sponsors include PQ Monthly, Portland Mercury and KBOO Radio.
Tickets for film-only: $10 general, $8 students and seniors
Tickets for film and Opening Night Reception: $25
Festival Pass: $75, includes all screenings and Opening Night Party
Advanced tickets available at queerdocfest.org
Opening Night screening and pre-reception venue May 16: McMenamins Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne
Post-Opening Night Party: Backstage Bar, 3702 SE Hawthorne
Festival venue May 17-19: McMenamins Kennedy School Theater, 5736 NE 33rd Ave.
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