QDoc: Queer Documentary Film Fest

The only film festival in the country dedicated solely to LGBTQ documentaries, QDoc may seem such a narrow theme that it could only garner the smallest of niche audiences. But this year’s crop are quite diverse in their portrayals of international queer cultures.

‘Be Like Others’

My colleagues over at The Oregonian have given a concise but thorough overview of the weekend of film, which starts this Thursday at the Clinton Street Theater (2522 SE Clinton) so I won’t duplicate efforts. But I will highlight some of the screen gems that aren’t to be missed.

Friday night’s Be Like Others examines Iran’s culture of homophobic oppression, wherein gay sex is punishable but stoning to death. Sex changes, however, are legal under Muslim law so many gay men are pushed toward gender reassignment. In so many countries where trans individuals struggle to claim their identity this movie presents an interesting role reversal for gay men that would not otherwise identify as trans.

Saturday afternoon might be slightly less depressing when listening to the crazy stories that the extremely active senior Ruth Ellis has to tell in Living with Pride: Ruth Ellis at 100. This black woman, born in 1899, shares her wildly forward and fascinating experiences in a way that acknowledges her intersecting oppressions while still being able to laugh and celebrate life. In a place where so many mainstream Americans still have fears about coming out, Ellis had black gay parties, lived openly with her partner and challenged with an optimism and vibrancy before Stonewall was ever a twinkle in a drag queens eye. And at 100, she still found time to line dance with the (several) younger generations of lesbians.

Sunday free afternoon screening of It’s Still Elementary is a timely follow-up to the groundbreaking 1996 film that introduced the idea of talking about homophobia, prejudice and bullying to children in a way that they could understand. This film looks back at the controversy, catches up with some of the kids, now in college. With co-director Johnny Symons this open community screening is sure to generate some fevered discussion.

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