Turning 37 this year, San Francisco’s Frameline is the undisputed daddy of US LGBT film festivals, annually offering the newest crop of US and international queer films for its large and loyal local audience, as well as for the scores of fest programmers and film fans that come from far afield to sample the “gay Cannes.” Beginning this Thursday, June 20, and running through Sunday, June 24 – always coinciding with the end of SF’s gay pride celebration – the festival will present more than 35 feature documentaries among its more than hundred selections, including the gala Centerpiece slot, Sundance alum VALENTINE ROAD. Among the other docs that Frameline’s expected 60,000 attendees can check out are the following:
A number of titles this year spotlight the LGBT experience in other, historically more repressive, cultures, reminding American audiences that, for all the strides made since Stonewall, we have a ways to go before achieving global equality. Among these docs are: Micah Fink’s THE ABOMINABLE CRIME (pictured), about homophobia in Jamaica; Shaun Kadlec and Deb Tullmann’s BORN THIS WAY, on the LGBT experience in Cameroon, where homosexuality is a punishable crime; Saad Khan and Saadat Munir’s CHUPPAN CHUPAI, which follows LGBT Pakistani living in defiance of sharia law; Chris Belloni’s I AM GAY AND MUSLIM, focusing on gay men in Morocco; and Fan Popo’s more hopeful MAMA RAINBOW, which shares the stories of Chinese mothers of lesbian and gay children.
Several of Frameline’s selections revisit the recent and even distant past, excavating the stories of individuals and communities making a space for queer sexualities. The City by the Bay naturally figures in this look back, as seen in Jallen Rix’s LEWD & LASCIVIOUS, a look at the intersection of queerness and 1950s-60s political activism; and Joe Balass’ JOY! PORTRAIT OF A NUN (pictured), a history of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Expanding the scope to include Canada as well the US, Myriam Fougére’s LESBIANA – A PARALLEL REVOLUTION explores lesbian activism of the 1970s-80s, while Mari Agui Carter’s REBEL heads further back in time to tell the story of a Havana-born New Orleans woman who fought as a white man in the Civil War. Two titles tell of famous gay figures: Clare Beaven and Nic Stacey’s docudrama CODEBREAKER explores the life of mathematical genius Alan Turing, while Daniel Young’s PAUL BOWLES: THE CAGE DOOR IS ALWAYS OPEN focuses on the life of the acclaimed novelist and composer.
Finally, the festival offers a panorama of contemporary portraits of LGBT lives around the world, including a sneak preview of Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ upcoming HBO doc, THE OUT LIST, as well as: Jonah Mossberg’s OUT HERE: A QUEER FARMER FILM PROJECT (pictured), about the new generation of activist agriculture; Jonathan Menendez’s GAY LATINO LOS ANGELES, profiling three young men negotiating the complexities of multiple identities; Roberto Fiesco’s QUEBRANTO (DISRUPTED), the story of a Mexican boy actor turned female cabaret performer – and her doting stage mom; Grant Lahood’s INTERSEXION, revealing the experiences of a number of intersex individuals; and Pamela Drynan’s WHERE I AM, which follows a writer back to the scene of a homophobic attack in Dublin that left him with permanent brain damage.