Portland’s New Pride Film Festival Announces Full Lineup

A gay hairdresser on a hero’s journey, cottagecore Australian lesbians, a forgotten Filipina-American punk band, and more.

By Conner Reed May 13, 2021

Image: Courtesy QDoc

We’ve been saying it all year: life would be better if we could watch gay movies outside. Well, at long last, it looks like that needle has begun to move. 

Smack in the middle of Pride month, the directors of QDoc will produce a brand-new, two-day festival at Zidell Yards called Pride Pics. Tickets for the fest—which runs June 16 and 17—went on sale May 11, the same day QDoc announced the full slate of films. Attendees will sit in furnished pods of 2, 4, or 6 at Zidell’s drive-in space; each pod runs $35–45 per person per screening. 

“It’s been such a challenging 15 months for so many, so I think our first thought was gathering, celebration, togetherness,” says Molly King, one of QDoc's co-directors. "We were also conscious of the origins of Pride, so we didn't want Pride Pics to be all fluff. We sought out films that hopefully showcase a balance of entertainment and empathy onscreen and celebrate the trailblazers of our community."

PrideNW executive director Debra Porta approached King late last year about producing a drive-in movie event for 2021’s uncertain Pride month. Porta, who organizes the annual Pride parade and waterfront festival, would handle the logistics, and QDoc would program the content. If all goes well, there are plans to keep the festival running well into the future.

Here’s a rundown of the full lineup—each feature is a Oregon premiere, and each showing sports at least one local connection:

Swan Song

Logline: An Ohio hairdresser (Udo Kier) breaks out of his assisted living facility to complete a fraught job for a deceased client. Jennifer Coolidge is his icy rival and Ugly Betty's Michael Urie plays the dead client's son. We've seen this one, and it's great: Kier is unforgettable, and director Todd Stephens, who also created the Ohio-set gay cult classic The Edge of Seventeen, is clearly working in mega-personal territory.

Paired with: A four-minute short called Taffy, about a photographer who reminisces with a subject about an old flame.

Showtime: 11 a.m. on Wed, June 16

Local connection: Portland native (and Portland Monthly contributor) Thom Hilton plays a twinky young bartender named Gabriel.

My First Summer

Logline: Two Australian teenagers fall in love in a cottage in the summertime, one scarred by the recent loss of her mother.

Showtime: 3:30 p.m. on Wed, June 16

Local connection: Music by Portland singer-songwriter Kyle Morton

Fanny: The Right to Rock

Logline: A documentary about the queer, Filipina-American garage band Fanny, who achieved significant success during their brief run in the ’70s. Their story has mostly been lost to time, despite their momentary popularity—David Bowie counted himself among their fans.

Showtime: 7:30 p.m. on Wed, June 16

Local connection: Fabi Reyna of Sávila is one of the film's talking heads; director Bobbi Jo Hart attended Portland State University

No Ordinary Man

Logline: A documentary about Billy Tipton, a jazz pianist and saxophonist who lived openly as a trans man in the 1940s and beyond

Paired with: A 12-minute short called In France Michelle Is a Man's Name, about contemporary masculinity and living as a trans man in the 21st century.

Showtime: 11:30 a.m. on Thu, June 17

Local connection: In France Michelle Is a Man's Name was filmed in Oregon and directed by Em Weinstein, who spent much of their childhood in The Dalles.

No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics

Logline: A documentary that follows five queer comics artists with a range of experiences and expertise.

Paired with: The 8-minute animated short Kapaemahu, about a mysterious monument on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. It was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short this January.

Showtime: 3:30 p.m. on Thu, June 17

Local connection: Portlander Rupert Kinnard, a former recipient of PoMo's Lifetime Achievement Light a Fire award, is one of the film's main subjects.

Potato Dreams of America

Logline: An autobiographical black comedy about a gay kid fleeing the USSR for Seattle in the ’90s with his mother, a mail-order bride. Jonathan Bennett, a.k.a. Aaron Samuels from Mean Girls, plays Jesus Christ; this one generated some pretty strong buzz when it premiered at SXSW back in March.

Paired with: The Leaf, a documentary short about filmmaker Will J. Zang's pandemic-era experiences as a gay Chinese immigrant living in San Francisco

Showtime: 7:30 p.m. on Thu, June 17

Local connection: Potato director Wes Hurley is a Seattle mainstay and has produced work in and around Portland

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