QDoc Returns with another Stellar Lineup!
By Daniel Borgen, PQ Monthly Weâ€™ve said it before and weâ€™ll say it again: David Weissman, co-founder of QDoc, is a national treasure, a man beaming with passion and creativity. Weissman is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, teacher, film programmer, public speaker (catch his Dark Night of the Soul stuff), and longtime activist. Heâ€™s best known for his two acclaimed documentaries, â€œWe Were Hereâ€ and â€œThe Cockettes.â€ Before moving to Portland, he spent over 30 years in San Franciscoâ€”at the height of the gay revolution. Heâ€™s taught classes and workshops, been a guest speaker, and presented his work at many universities, including USC, Stanford, Yale, and UC Santa Cruz, to name a few. And he remembers wistfully the history of old San Franciscoâ€”a city he used to consider his muse. QDoc is the only film festival in the world devoted exclusively to LGBT documentaries; its other co-founder, the wildly talented (and sometimes quieter of the duo) Russ Gage, has a long background in the film festival world, dating back to Frameline in San Francisco. QDoc is the very definition of community-building: An inspirational, joyful, emotional romp through queer culture.Â â€œEvery year, I want everyone to see every fucking movie,â€ says Weissman. â€œWe [him and Russ Gage] do this [curate QDoc] for cultural and political reasonsâ€”there are a lot of amazing, compelling stories out there. Sharing this stuff reminds us weâ€™re all in this togetherâ€”that weâ€™re a community, and as a community we have a shared experience. Each year, we program based on what we think will bring people backâ€”not necessarily what will bring people in. We want to give you something you canâ€™t get anywhere else.â€ Itâ€™s this drive and passion that help make QDoc the wild success it is year in and year out. â€œI run into people I know,â€ says Weissman. â€œThey tell me, â€˜I donâ€™t even need to look at the program, I know itâ€™s going to be great.â€™â€ He also suggests sitting in on a movie that night not necessarily interest you. Some people find their favorite documentaries that way. Mark your calendars, clear your weekend, and fit QDoc into your schedule. Check out a movie you might not otherwise choose (the complete schedule follows). In the meantime, here are some descriptions to whet your appetite. This yearâ€™s festival runs from Thursday, May 14, through Sunday, May 17â€”and itâ€™s at The Hollywood Theater. To purchase advanced tickets and passes, and to review the complete schedule, go to queerdocfest.org. (Festival passes are $75, but you can get tickets for individual screenings.)
â€œLarry Kramer in Love & Anger." QDoc runs from Thursday, May 14, through Sunday, May 17 at The Hollywood Theater.
This yearâ€™s festival kicks off Thursday, May 14 at 7:00pm with the screening of GAME FACE. Filmed in several locations around the country, including Portland, filmmaker and gay basketball player Michiel Thomas follows MMA fighter, Fallon Fox, and rising college basketball player, Terrence Clemens, as they train and compete against other athletes in their respective sports. While Fallon Fox came out as the first transgender professional MMA fighter amid a wide range of reactions and public debate, Terrence is new to his college campus, where no one knows that he is gay. This is the powerful coming out story of two athletes at the top of their game, seeking to be seen, accepted and permitted to compete as equals among their peers. Filmmaker Michiel Thomas, Fallon Fox, and Terrence Clemens will be in attendance. Rumor has it that gay former NBA player, Jason Collins, who appears in the film, will also be attending opening night â€“ stay tuned for more information! (After the Q&A at Hollywood Theatre, there will be an Opening Night Party held at Velo Cult at 1969 NE 42nd, from 9:00pm â€“ 11:30pm, featuring beer, wine, and catering by Pambiche. Tickets for the film and Opening Night Party are $25. Festival Passes, $75, and include admission to all screenings and the Opening Night Party.) The other films featured in this yearâ€™s festival include (in order of their screening): PACKED IN A TRUNK (Friday, May 15, 6:45pm) â€“ In this HBO film from director Michelle Boyaner, writer/director Jane Anderson digs into the mystery of her aunt, Provincetown artist Edith Lake Wilkinson, who was committed to an asylum in 1924 and never heard from againâ€”a thoroughly entertaining lesbian â€œHistory Detective.â€ WE CAME TO SWEAT: THE LEGEND OF STARLITE (Friday, May 15, 9pm) â€“ When Brooklynâ€™s oldest black gay bar, the Starlite Lounge, is faced with eviction, the community decides to fight back. Will they be able to save this pre-Stonewall safe haven? Or is gentrification unstoppable? Kate Kunath and Sasha Wortzelâ€™s timely portrait of a community banding together to preserve their culture and history is a stirring must-see. TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL (Saturday, May 16, 1pm) â€“ Svelte and hunky Tab Hunter was one of Hollywoodâ€™s leading male movie stars throughout the 50s and 60s. Director Jeffrey Schwarz, returning to QDoc for the third time (â€œVitoâ€ and â€œI am Divineâ€), chronicles Hunterâ€™s meteoric career and allows the movie star to tell his own story of being a closeted movie star while carrying on relationships with actor Anthony Perkins and an Olympic skating star, among others. THE ROYAL ROAD (Saturday, May 16, 3:30pm) â€“ In this poetic and visually captivating film, San Francisco filmmaker Jenni Olson interweaves her romantic obsessions with the history of colonial California while musing on nostalgia, butch identity, and Alfred Hitchcock's â€œVertigoâ€ â€“ all cast against a contemplative backdrop of 16mm urban California landscapes. LIMITED PARTNERSHIP (Saturday, May 16, 6pm) â€“ In 1975, Richard Adams and his Australian partner, Tony Sullivan, became one of the first same-sex couples in the world to legally marry, thanks to a courageous county clerk in Boulder, Colorado. Richard and Tony immediately filed for a green card for Tony, the denial of which by the US Immigration and Naturalization Service resulted in the first federal lawsuit seeking equal treatment for a same-sex marriage in U.S. history. Thus began their decadesâ€™ long battle for their right to stay together. THE CULT OF JT LEROY (Saturday, May 16, 8:30pm) â€“ This film follows the bizarre and sensational story of queer teenage literary sensation JT LeRoy, who burst onto the scene with the autobiographical novel â€œSarahâ€ in the mid-1990s. The painfully shy LeRoy â€“ an HIV-positive, transsexual, former child prostitute â€“ became the darling and protÃ©gÃ© of celebrities and literary figures such as Gus van Sant and Dennis Cooper, making him a cult sensation until a scandalous revelation blew it all apart.
THE YEAR WE THOUGHT ABOUT LOVE (Sunday, May 17, 12:30pm) â€“ A behind-the-scenes look into the powerful work of one of the oldest queer youth theaters in America. Filmmaker Ellen Brodsky follows Bostonâ€™s True Colors: OUT Youth Theater as they write a play about love. With wit, grace, and attitude, this diverse ensemble transforms personal struggles into theater for social change. When bombs explode outside their building during the Boston Marathon, the troupe becomes even more determined to share their stories of love to help heal their city. THE NEW MAN (Sunday, May 17, 2:30pm) â€“ StefanÃaâ€™s life began as a boy named Roberto, who at the tender age of twelve fought for education and social reforms in the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua. Thirty years later, after a challenging life amid violence, drugs, prostitution, and political struggle, StefanÃa strives to be accepted by society and her long estranged family. FEELINGS ARE FACTS: THE LIFE OF YVONNE RAINER (Sunday, May 17, 4:30pm) â€“ Over the course of her career, postmodern choreographer and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer revolutionized modern dance, generated what later became known as performance art, and changed the basic tenets of experimental filmmaking â€“ all during a time when women were largely ignored in the art world. Director Jack Walsh captures Rainerâ€™s defiant, uncompromising, and highly influential ideas and creations. LARRY KRAMER IN LOVE & ANGER (Sunday, May 17, 7pm) â€“ Jean Carlomustoâ€™s HBO biopic beautifully captures the complex, irrepressible, inspirational, exasperating and brilliant essence of Larry Kramer.Â Widely known as the founder of ACT-UP and as one of the most strident voices of AIDS activism, Kramer is portrayed here also in his role as screenwriter, novelist, brother, friend and lover.Â This is a powerful and moving film about one of the giants of our post-Stonewall history. QDocâ€™s David Robinson contributed to this report.
"The Year We Thought About Love"