Four Films You Can't Miss at Portland's QDoc Festival

With 11 films on show at Portland's Queer Documentary Film Festival—billed as the only film festival in the country devoted exclusively to LGBT documentaries—get ready for some serious screen time. Here are the four flicks we're most excited to see

By Fiona McCann May 9, 2015

From We Came to Sweat: The Legend of Starlite

Portland’s annual LGBT documentary festival is back and it’s moved to the Hollywood Theatre, with a line-up of films tackling a range of subjects, among them the challenges of coming out in professional sports, Brooklyn’s legendary Starlite lounge, fifties heart throb Tab Hunter and a Boston-based theater troupe.

With 11 films on show over the three-day festival, you can devote your full weekend to these documentary delights, or curate your own mini-festival. Better still, allow us to curate one for you: we’ve picked the four films that we’re most excited about. Now go find a seat. 

Limited Partnership

Richard Adams and Tony Sullivan fell in love and got married. If this story were taking place in Oregon today, it might—thankfully—be too lacking in drama for a full-length feature. But Adams and Sullivan tied the knot in 1975, when a county clerk in Boulder, Colorado decided she could see no reason not to issue marriage licenses for same sex couples. Adams is Australian, and so filed for a Green Card based on his new marital status. The Immigration and Naturalization Service's response? "You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots." Outraged, the couple sued the US government. This is their fascinating story. 

The cult of JT Leroy 

Marjorie Sturm’s acclaimed documentary—Variety called it “consistently absorbing”—unpacks a literary hoax: the celebrated author of a precocious “autobiographical” novel, allegedly a prostitute’s androgynous teenage son, turned out to be a Brooklyn-born woman in her thirties. A connection with Gus Van Sant—“LeRoy” gets credit on the original screenplay of Elephant—and Portland Monthly contributor Nancy Rommelmann’s appearance in the documentary up the local interest.

Larry Kramer in Love and Anger

Author, advocate and activist, Larry Kramer has long been a divisive figure in the gay community, but few dispute the value of his work on behalf of AIDS sufferers. Founder of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the protest group ACT UP, Kramer has also battled health problems himself, having being diagnosed with HIV in the late eighties. Seen by some as the  necessary mobilizer for a community being ravaged by AIDS, others have decried him as the personification of the thing he had most publicly criticized: homophobia. Fimmaker Jean Carlomusto’s portrait of the man is a reminder of a time when AIDS was greatly feared, woefully misunderstood, and heroically battled.

El Hombre Nuevo

A Nicaraguan-born transsexual living in poverty in Uruguay is the subject of this prize-winning documentary by Uruguayan Aldo Garay. Her decision to return home to her family—having been recruited by the Sandinistas at age seven and lived an unpredictable life first as Roberto and later as Stephanie—is the film’s emotional axis. Winner of the Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.


QDoc runs at the Hollywood Theatre from May 14–17. 

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