The 22nd annual Portland Queer Film Festival (PQFF) finished up last week. Before it ended, I was able to see Tucked, an independent film which has been garnering fantastic reviews and has so far earned both the Audience Award for Outstanding Narrative Feature as well as the Grand Jury Award for Outstanding International Narrative Feature at the L.A. Outfest. Tucked follows the final weeks of Jackie Collins, an aging drag queen diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, and her desire to continue performing despite her quickly declining health and the advice of her doctor against it. The film addresses issues of identity, familial love, and acceptance, as well as the prevalence of long-standing stereotypes regarding both sexual and gender expression. Tucked draws upon a conventional narrative about struggling with death and relationships while putting queer characters’ lives and the difficulties they face at center stage. The film’s cinematography channels this character focus, with close-ups that draw the viewer into the emotional performances of English screen legend Darren Nesbitt alongside Jordan Stephens, who you may recognize from Rogue One.
If you consider yourself a film fan, I would highly recommend seeing this film, and attending the Portland Queer Film Festival in person next year. Not only will you get to see some really spectacular films, PQFF also helps support local causes with a portion of the ticket sales. This year, money generated by the festival supported two regional non-profit institutions: Cascades AIDS Project and Our House of Portland, both of which have both been providing care and service for over thirty years to members of the community who have been diagnosed with HIV.
The voices of sexual orientation and gender identity minorities are vastly underrepresented in film, both onscreen and behind the camera. Tucked brings the lives of people who identify as such out of their often designated sidekick and comedic roles and into the foreground, as do the festival’s other featured pictures.
Though this year’s Portland Queer Film Festival has ended, the next option in Portland to celebrate these narratives and their presence in film and documentary will happen in the spring, at the QDoc Film Festival in downtown Portland. If you’re interested, you can sign up for updates and lineup information at qdocfilmfest.org.
For more information about the non-profit institutions mentioned above, visit cascadeaids.org/ and ourhouseofportland.org/ respectively, and pdxqueerfilm.com for the lineup of films from this year’s festival if you want to watch any of the films yourself.