Sundays BeBeBe tells the behind-the-scenes story of BeBe drag star 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 LGBTQIA+ Community Programming Weekend at downtown Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
The screenings – dubbed Pride Pics – were programmed by Molly King, the co-director of QDoc: a film festival that has brought a wide range of high profile LGBTQIA+ documentaries to Portland audiences since 2007.
“Pride Pics features six films from six incredibly talented filmmakers,” King told the Mercury in an email. “This year, and every time we program films, visibility and representation lead the way, so we’re very excited to elevate and honor those voices and stories on the big screen.”
Similar to last year’s Ziddell Yards screenings, Pride 2022 photos will be offered outdoors. Saturday night’s showcase is made up of five shorts, of which King said: “We will witness young love, immigration, music as joyous protest and the power to share our moments of pride and happiness. .”
Sunday, feature documentary BeBeBewhich King calls “effervescent”, screens by itself. BeBeBe tells the behind-the-scenes story of BeBe drag performer Zahara Benet, who was crowned the winner of the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
While Pride Pics features the documentary’s in-person Oregon debut, viewers may have been lucky enough to see it remotely in 2021, as part of the virtual Seattle Queer Film Festival. The Mercury described the film as follows:
BeBeBe traces the journey of an icon with a compassionate eye, taking audiences through an early education in Cameroon, entering the American stage and gaining widespread recognition. It’s a comprehensive look at Marshall/BeBe that touches on the reality of how Cameroon criminalizes gay and transgender people. It is a documentary as alive as its subject.
The BeBeBe the screening falls on the June 19 federal holiday. Recognized last year by the US government as a national holiday, June 19 is a day when black Americans celebrate the end of American slavery.
“We have a very specific intention to honor the fact that Pride straddles Juneteenth,” Pride Northwest Executive Director Debra Porta told the Mercury. “So we’re very excited about centering and elevating black filmmakers.”
This practice goes hand in hand with what Porta sees as an important guideline on pride: building community through visibility.
“Pride was born out of the need to be visible and to have our community, to 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, the focus is on uplifting and centering queer black voices, black talent and black stories. Pride doesn’t do it very well, often enough.”
King echoed the statement, adding, “Film can be so powerful in the way it can empower us to walk in another’s shoes, create empathy and inspire action. This means that the world can see our identities represented on screen. Not only does cinema give us the opportunity to strengthen our sense of shared humanity, but it can be life-changing and sometimes even life-saving.
Pride Pics will host two different program screenings at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Saturday June 18 is a set of five short films: Pure, By love, 1955, The Gloriousand Resist: the revival of resistance, 8:30 p.m., donate tickets here; Sunday, June 19 will screen a feature film BeBeBe8:30 p.m., donate tickets here