GENRE: Activism | AIDS/HIV | Asian American | Black/African American | Death/Dying | Drugs/Addiction | Experimental | Gay | Genderqueer | Health/Medicine | Local Interest/Subjects | Queer | South East Asian
SECTION: Closed Captioned | Shorts | Streaming

Celebrate our Bay Area neighbors with these local documentaries. You’ll meet Jok, the beloved children’s scientist and leather-clad AIDS activist, as well as Penny, a Filipino immigrant and restaurateur working through the pandemic. Wherever you live, these six, unique portraits from our community are sure to resonate.



DENNIS: The Man Who Legalized Cannabis

DIRECTOR Brandon Moore | 2020 | USA | 20m

Here’s the story of Dennis Peron, a Vietnam War veteran, LGBTQ+ and cannabis activist, who fought to get cannabis to HIV/AIDS patients in 1990s San Francisco. Watch Trailer

Bayanihan & Resilience

DIRECTOR Jocelyn Tabancay Duffy | 2020 | USA | 5m

Penny Baldado, a queer Filipino immigrant and proud owner of Café Gabriela, makes it through the COVID-19 pandemic by giving back to Oakland. Watch Trailer

Blackness Is Everything

DIRECTOR Alba Roland Mejia | 2021 | USA | 5m

This experimental/performative short film celebrates the diversity of the Black diaspora in the Bay Area. Watch Trailer


DIRECTOR Elliot Gordon Mercer | 2021 | USA | 19m | World Premiere

A queer fantasia on the slippages of memory, scholarship, meaning-making, and the transcendental. Created, written, and directed by Elliot Gordon Mercer with Michael Cicetti.

Surviving Voices: The Substance Use and Recovery Community

DIRECTOR Jörg Fockele | 2021 | USA | 15m | World Premiere

Presented by the National AIDS Memorial, the latest installment of this ongoing oral history project provides a unique perspective from the substance use and recovery community.

Beakman & Jok

DIRECTORS Kolmel W. Love & Lex Sloan | 2021 | USA | 25m | World Premiere

Beakman & Jok explores the complex and fascinating life of Bay Area artist, leather man, AIDS activist, and renowned children’s science educator Jok Church. Church revolutionized children’s science education through his internationally syndicated comic strip, bestselling children’s books, and the hit TV show Beakman’s World.

Buying Note: This is a digital screening. For tickets to the in-person screening at the Castro Theatre, please click here. This digital screening is available to view between Thu, Jun 17 and Sun, Jun 27. We suggest watching it at 11:00am PDT Sun, Jun 27.

Bank of the West

National AIDS Memorial, San Francisco Documentary Film Festival, Oakland LGBT Center