QDoc, the only film festival in the United States (and one of only two in the world) devoted exclusively to LGBTQ documentaries kicks of Thursday, May 18 at the historic Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon with THE UNTOLD TALES OF ARMISTEAD MAUPIN and continues through May 21 with 11 additional films, broadly exploring LGBTQ history, culture and politics.
Thursday, May 18 at 7:30pm: THE UNTOLD TALES OF ARMISTEAD MAUPIN
The Untold Tales Of Armistead Maupin examines the life and work of one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. The film follows Armistead Maupin’s evolution from a son of the Old South — at one time even a staffer for arch-conservative Senator Jesse Helms — into a gay rights pioneer whose novels (Tales of the City) have inspired millions to claim their own truth. Filmmaker and two-time QDoc alum Jennifer Kroot captures the playful, poignant and laugh-out-loud funny perspective of a literary legend. Subject Armistead Maupin, director Jennifer Kroot and co-director/editor Bill Weber will be in attendance.
Friday, May 19 at 6:30pm: JEWEL’S CATCH ONE
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 community. Subject Jewel Thais-Williams and director C. Fitz will be in attendance.
Friday, May 19 at 8:45pm: BAYARD & ME (short)
Iconic 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.
Friday, May 19 at 8:45pm A GIANT’S LOVE (immediately following Bayard & 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. Director Maria Audras will be in attendance.
Saturday, May 20 at 1pm: MY WONDERFUL WEST BERLIN
My Wonderful West Berlin offers a brilliant homage to hedonism, the story of 1960s West Berlin and the righteous freedom of the gay community of the era. Weaving archival material with contemporary footage, director Jochen Hick offers a bittersweet tribute to a city whose bars, cruising, radical bookstores and left-wing politics paved the way for new German attitudes toward liberation. Director Jochen Hick will be in attendance.
Saturday, May 20 at 3:30pm: THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON 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.
Saturday, May 20 at 6:30pm: CHAVELA
According 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. Director/producer Catherine Gund will be in attendance.
Saturday, May 20 at 9pm: THE FABULOUS ALLAN CARR
For someone who spent most of his Hollywood career behind the scenes, Allan Carr lived a lavish lifestyle that was made for the spotlight. A producer, manager and marketing genius, Carr built his bombastic reputation amid a series of successes including the mega-hit musical film Grease, until it all came crashing down when he produced the 1989 Academy Awards, a notorious debacle. Directed by Jeffrey Schwarz (past QDoc favorites I Am Divine, Tab Hunter Confidential, Vito), The Fabulous Allan Carr brings this complex character to life through cheeky animated sequences and heartfelt interviews. Director Jeffrey Schwarz in attendance.
Sunday, May 21 at noon: CONVERSATIONS WITH GAY ELDERS
QDoc co-founder and filmmaker David Weissman (The Cockettes and We Were Here) returns with a recently completed Conversation featuring Portland resident Kerby Lauderdale, who has been active in Portland’s LGBT community since the early 1980s. The father of Pink Martini founder Thomas Lauderdale, Kerby’s story differs from others in the series because he was in a heterosexual marriage for many years. The editor of this piece is Michiel Thomas, who directed the 2015 QDoc opening night film, Game Face. Director David Weissman, subject Kerby Lauderdale, and editor Michiel Thomas will be in attendance.
Sunday, May 21 at 2:30pm SMALL TALK
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. Teddy Award winner for Best Documentary at the Berlinale film festival.
Sunday, May 21 at 4:30pm THE LAVENDER SCARE
With the United States gripped in the panic of the Cold War, President Dwight D. Eisenhower deemed homosexuals to be “security risks” and ordered the immediate firing of any government employee discovered to be gay or lesbian. It triggered a vicious witch-hunt that lasted for 40 years and ruined thousands of lives, while thrusting an unlikely hero into the forefront of what would become the modern LGBT rights movement. The Lavender Scare is a compelling story of one man’s fight for justice — and a chilling reminder of how easy it can be, during a time of fear and uncertainty, to trample the rights of an entire class of people in the name of patriotism and national security. Josh Howard, 24-time Emmy- winning producer and director of the film, will be in attendance.
Sunday, May 21 at 7:30pm REBELS ON POINTE
Exploring universal themes of identity, dreams, family, loss and love, filmmaker Bobbi Jo Hart’s Rebels on Pointe is the first-ever documentary celebrating the world-famous Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. The notorious all-male, comic ballet troupe was founded more than 40 years ago in New York City on the heels of the Stonewall riots, and has a passionate cult following around the world. The film blends intimate, behind-the- scenes access with rich archives and history, engaging character-driven stories and live performances. Rebels on Pointe is a creative mix of gender-bending artistic expression, diversity, passion and purpose. A story that ultimately proves that a ballerina is not only a woman dancing — but an act of revolution in a tutu. Subject Bobby Carter will be in attendance.