THE PORTLAND QUEER FILM FESTIVAL has always been a small, niche affair—but every year, it makes a point of offering something for everyone. Now in its 18th year and bearing a new name (it was formerly the Portland Lesbian & Gay Film Festival), the fest brings shorts, features, and documentaries from around the globe. This year there's a collection of especially solid documentaries and comedies.
Kicking off the festival is the documentary Back on Board (Fri Oct 3), about Olympic diver Greg Louganis that covers his career, his coming out in the '90s, and his brave disclosure about having AIDS. Louganis and the film's director, Cheryl Furjanic, will be in attendance. Another strong documentary is Born to Fly (Sat Oct 4), an examination of choreographer Elizabeth Streb. It examines the cult-like devotion of her "extreme action" dance company, where dancers walk down buildings and dodge steel I-beams during performances. Also in the documentary selections is One Zero One: The Story of Cybersissy and BayBjane (Sun Oct 5), about the "smallest drag queen in the world." It's a great character study and a visual treat—a little trippy, a little fantastical.
For a dose of lighter fare, there's the campy comedy First Period (Sat Oct 4) and Appropriate Behavior (Sat Oct 4). Appropriate Behavior is the breakout film of writer/director/star Desiree Akhavan; it's raw and honest and funny. With aspects of Noah Baumbach and Girls, it's a story about twentysomething Shirin (Akhavan), who lives in Brooklyn and is rebounding from a recent breakup—while coping with coming out as bisexual to her traditional Persian parents.
Some more serious love tales come in the form of Tru Love (Wed Oct 8), Lilting (Tues Oct 7), and the sweet bildungsroman The Way He Looks (Sun Oct 5). Rounding out the festival on closing night is a fun and uplifting comedy, Pride (Thurs Oct 9), the sprightly story of a miners' strike in the UK in the 1980s.