QDoc takes on the challenge of the queer documentary for the 3rd time

'City of Borders'

'City of Borders'

Relative newby to Portland’s extensive film festival scene, QDoc has, nevertheless, gotten the city in a tizzy. It was the first queer documentary film festival of its kind, and remains the only one in the USA. Now in its third season, QDoc has passed its terrible twos and sports a truly exceptional lineup, and a slew of directors in attendance, this weekend at the Clinton Street Theater.

The fest kicks off with standout City of Borders, Thursday at 7:30pm. The film follows the intertwined lives in Jerusalem’s only gay bar, Shushan. In a city rife with religious and political tension, the one thing many residents have in common is homophobia. This unfortunate situation, however, produces the opposing consequence of deep unity in Jerusalem’s tiny queer community. In stark contrast to nearby Tel Aviv, which has a very active queer community (profiled quite smartly in queer fictional film called The Bubble), the story of the struggle to create a Pride celebration is an inspiring one.

Director Yun Suh will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A and pass holders will also get admission to the opening night soiree.

The rest of the weekend should prove to be just as awesome. The current issue of Just Out dedicated its cover story to profiling each and every one of the weekend’s flicks, while The Oregonian’s Grant Butler profiled his top 4 picks: City of Borders, It Came From Kuchar, Training Rules, and Fig Trees.

And while the frustratingly intense world of womens college basketball, wherein one of the three most important rules was “no lesbians,” makes Training Rules a must see, and the richly beautiful cinematography of Fig Trees is not to be missed (it’s a doc opera that manages to weave Gertrude Stein, a singing albino squirrel, and Saint Teresa of Avila into the moving stories of two AIDS activists), there are a couple other gems I would like to highlight.

'Fig Trees'

'Fig Trees'

Pansy Division: My Life in a Gay Rock Band (Saturday May 30, 9pm) profiles the first big “queercore” band of the 90s. In a world where out gay male musicians are still a rarity, Jon Ginoli and Chris Freeman‘s foray into the jungles of punk and indie rock was trailblazing. And far from trying to gain mainstream acceptance, the raunchy rockers who sang openly about anal sex still managed to snag the opening act for one of the 90s biggest pop punk bands, GreenDay.

The nerd in me, that same one who just visited the Lesbian Herstory Archives while I was in Brooklyn recently, is also excited about Hand on the Pulse (Sunday May 31, 5pm), a documentary following the life of Joan Nestle, one of the archive’s founding members. The sex-radical writer and activist has a unique perspective as a femme in Greenwich Village in the 50s and as a member and/or founder of some of the earliest LGBT rights groups.

To see more of what’s in store for you over the next three days check out the trailer below:

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