Thursday, May 17, 2012


The 6th Annual QDoc (Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival) invades McMenamins Kennedy School Theater beginning tonight (5/17) and running through this coming Sunday evening (5/20).  Packing eleven screenings (many with special guests in attendance) into the four day schedule, there are some really wonderful films on offer here.  Here's a rundown of the ones I was able to catch:

Wish Me Away (dir. Bobbie Birleffi & Beverly Kopf):
The story of one woman's coming out.  The major difference between her experience and that of countless others is that she's Chely Wright, the famed Nashville singer who in 2010 became country music's first star to out herself.  The film follows Chely in the anxious days leading up to her very public announcement on The Today Show.  
Along the way, we're given access to Chely as she meets with her spiritual counselor, publisher (there's a tell-all autobiography in the mix), family and fellow musicians.

Wish Me Away is the opening night selection at QDoc.  It screens on Thursday, May 17th at 7pm.
Chely Wright will be in attendance at the screening.

A moving portrait of Vito Russo that encompasses all sides of his activism: as a researcher/archivist of gay experience in cinema via his landmark tome The Celluloid Closet, as a host for the groundbreaking NYC-based television show Our Time, and as a founder of GLAAD and ACT UP.  This is a rare opportunity for Portland crowds to see this theatrically before it has its broadcast premiere on HBO in July.  Vito is highly recommended viewing.  One of the better documentaries I've seen in 2012.

Vito is the closing film for QDoc.  It screens on Sunday, May 20th at 7pm.
Director Jeffrey Schwarz will be in attendance at the screening.

Girl or Boy, My Sex is Not My Gender (dir. Valérie Mitteaux):
A French documentary exploring the lives of four individuals who were born biologically female and have transitioned to male somewhere along the line.  Out of all of the QDoc content I viewed this week, this film contains the best interviews; there are some incredibly lucid statements throughout concerning gender constructs--what it's like to abandon some while adopting others.  There's also some fairly surprising and sickening revelations about how the French govern the bodies (and technically, the minds, I guess) of their transgendered citizens.

Girl or Boy, My Sex is Not My Gender screens at QDoc on Friday, May 18th at 6:45pm.
One of its subjects, Lynnee Breedlove (of Tribe 8 fame), will be in attendance at the screening.

Love Free or Die (dir. Macky Alston):
This is my pick for the must-see film at QDoc.  Macky Alston (Questioning Faith, Family Name) focuses his lens on Gene Robinson, the priest who made international headlines for being the first openly gay, partnered person consecrated as a bishop by the Episcopal Church in the U.S.
The documentary tracks Robinson as he suffers pressure from without over the splintering effects that his ordination have had on the domestic church and its relationship within the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Yeah, it's scheduled for 4 in the afternoon on a Sunday.  That's not an excuse; don't miss it.

Love Free or Die screens at QDoc on Sunday, May 20th at 4pm.
Director Macky Alston will be in attendance at the screening.

The 6th annual QDoc (Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival) begins this Thursday, May 17th at McMenamins Kennedy School Theater.  More info about the festival can be found here.

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