Sundays Being BeBe tells the behind-the-scenes story of drag star BeBe Zahara Benet .
Sunday's Being BeBe tells the behind-the-scenes story of drag star BeBe Zahara Benet . Courtesy of Work and Serve Productions LLC

For a second year, Portland Pride festival attendees can enjoy two nights of outdoor queer film screenings, as part of the weekend of LGBTQIA+ community programming in downtown Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

The showings—dubbed Pride Pics—were programmed by Molly King, the co-director of QDoc: a film festival that has brought a wide swatch of top tier LGBTQIA+ documentaries to Portland audiences since 2007.

"Pride Pics features six films from six amazingly talented filmmakers," King told the Mercury in an email. "This year—and any time we program films—visibility and representation lead the way. So we’re very excited to lift up and honor these voices and stories on the big screen."

Similar to last year's Ziddell Yards showings, the 2022 Pride Pics will be offered outdoors. Saturday evening's showcase is made up of five short films, about which King said: "We'll witness young love, immigration, music as joyful protest, and the power of sharing our proud and happy moments."

On Sunday, feature length documentary Being BeBe, which King calls "effervescent," screens by itself. Being BeBe tells the behind-the-scenes story of drag performer BeBe Zahara Benet—who was crowned winner of the first season of RuPaul's Drag Race.

While Pride Pics presents the documentary's in-person Oregon debut, viewers may have had a chance to see it remotely in 2021, as part of the virtual Seattle Queer Film Festival. The Mercury described the film as:

Being BeBe traces an icon's journey with a compassionate eye, taking the audience through an early upbringing in Cameroon, breaking into the scene in America, and getting widespread acclaim,. It's a comprehensive look at Marshall/BeBe that touches on the reality of how Cameroon criminalizes homosexual and transgender people. It's a documentary as vibrant as its subject.

The Being BeBe screening falls on the federal holiday of Juneteenth. Recognized last year by the US government as a national holiday, June 19 is a day Black Americans celebrate the end of US slavery.

“We have a very specific intention around honoring the fact that Pride is overlapping with Juneteenth," Executive Director of Pride Northwest Debra Porta told the Mercury. "So we're super excited about the intentionality of centering and lifting up Black filmmakers.”

This practice goes hand in hand with what Porta sees as an important directive about Pride: building community through visibility.

“Pride was born out of the need to be visible and to have our community, have power in numbers,” Porta said. “Film is a very powerful medium for us to be able to tell our own stories, as LGBTQI2A+ people. This year, in particular, there's a focus on lifting up and centering queer Black voices, Black talent, and Black stories. Pride doesn’t do that very well, quite that often."

King echoed the statement, adding “Film can be so powerful in how it can enable us to walk in another’s shoes, build empathy, and inspire action. It means the world to be able to see our identities represented on screen. Not only does film give us the opportunity to strengthen our sense of shared humanity, it can be life-changing—and sometimes even life-saving.”


Pride Pics will host two screenings of different programming in Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Sat June 18 is a package of five short films: Pure, For Love, 1955, The Glorious Ones, and Resist: The Resistance Revival, 8:30 pm, donation-price tickets here; Sun Jun 19 will screen feature film Being BeBe, 8:30 pm, donation-price tickets here