Sep 16 | Sun, 7 pm
SPACE | $8
Khalik Allah’s hypnotic tribute to Jamaica is a fascinating study in a new wave of documentary. In Black Mother, the Brooklyn-based filmmaker examines three slices of the island’s history and culture through the motif of the trimesters of a matriarch. Allah’s work isn’t as explicitly narrative as most documentarians, but his abstracted, cut-up style allows for poetic interpretations that beckon multiple viewings.
HEATHER BOOTH: CHANGING THE WORLD
Sep 20 | Thu, 6 pm
Coworkhers | FREE
This biopic looks at the life of Heather Booth, a second-wave feminist, anti-racist activist, labor rights advocate and political organizer who worked in Chicago, Mississippi, and D.C. from the sixties to the present.
Sep 20 | Thu, 7 pm
Slab | 7 PM | FREE
These eight short films were compiled by Kate Kaminski and Gitgo Productions, who is the architect behind the Bluestocking Film Festival, a summer romp which screens films that pass the Bechdel Test (which you should google at once). Featuring films by Claudia Murray, Charlotte Warren, Candice Vallantin, Amanda Bruton, Carese Bartlett, Jody L. Miller, Jaanelle Yee, and Nat Luurtsema, this showcase will remind you of all that’s missing from the default film experience.
Sep 27 | Thu, 6 pm
Portland Museum of Art | FREE
Documenting a chapter in LGBTQ history and Portland lore, USM Women & Gender Studies professor Wendy Chapkis and filmmaker Betsy Carson compiled this short doc from a series of interviews with members of Portland’s queer community, who tell stories about the importance of the role of gay and lesbian bars in their lives. As the distinction between LGBTQ and “mainstream” bars and community spaces has blurred over the years, some say with the advancements in equality and civil rights, Portland has lost, as other cities have, a number of spaces that served distinct roles for the LGBTQ community (though Blackstones is still kicking).
DAN SAVAGE'S HUMP! FILM FESTIVAL
Sep 28-29 | Fri 7 & 9:30 pm; Sat 6, 8:15, & 10:30 pm
SPACE | $8
You’re familiar with this guy, yeah? The longtime sex educator and columnist’s annual film festival is a collection of stylized “dirty movies.” An unpredictable collection, the film is full of people being candid and vulnerable about their sexualities, their kinks, and their fantasies. HUMP! endeavors to add some levity, humor, and inclusivity to the topics of sex. It’s queer as hell, too — though past festivals have suffered from what some have described as a bit of a “male gaze-y” vibe.
THE SEARCH FOR GENERAL TSO
Sep 29 | Sun, 3 pm
Maine Historical Society | FREE
A film ostensibly about delicious Chinese food yet sneakily covers a slice of the immigrant experience in the U.S., popular documentary director Ian Cheney travels from Shanghai to New York to the Midwest to learn more about the origin story of this complicated dish.
Sep 27 | Frontier
Oct 5-7 | Fri 2 & 6 pm; Sat-Sun 2 pm
Portland Museum of Art | $7-9
Centered around a truth and reconciliation commission over the last decade, this documentary investigates the horrifying practice the Maine state government enacted for most of the twentieth century, forcibly removing Native American children from their families and tribes and raising them with white families and non-Native foster care. The film centers Maine’s indigenous Wabanaki community, and weaves numerous first-hand accounts from victims.
MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 LIVE! FEAT. THE BRAIN
Oct 9 | Tue, 7 pm
State Theatre | $39.50-49.50
IIf you grew up in the sad void where this show wasn’t consistently screening on the Comedy Channel, you’re still catching up. Revived on Netflix last year, this flawless idea deserves to have another generation’s sense of humor to hack away at. This comedy show barely counts as a film screening, but if you need a lesson on how film can be used to spur other great ideas, it’s a strong recommend.
Oct 9-11 | Tue, 3 & 7 pm; Wed 3 pm; Thu 3 & 7 pm
Frontier | $7-9
Shot in China and the U.S., Maineland follows two affluent and cosmopolitan “parachute students” as they move from China into a private boarding school in blue-collar rural Maine. Part of a film series called “Making Migration Visible: Traces, Tracks, and Pathways” in conjunction with the Maine College of Art.
HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING
Oct 23 | Tue, 7 pm
SPACE | $8
An absolutely must-see documentary, Hale County This Morning, This Evening is the work of the esteemed RaMell Ross, whose decade-in-the-making examination of Black American race and culture in the American South is nothing short of groundbreaking. In this vivid, impressionistic doc (that rubs elbows with Terrence Malick), Ross finds a rich, gorgeous portrait in the quotidian gestures and symbols of Black American life, reclaiming the depiction of contemporary Black experience from its many stereotyped cinematic portrayals while carving a new path for nonfiction filmmaking.