Gay film fest season officially kicks off tonight with the opening night of Frameline, celebrating its 38th edition this year. San Francisco is home to the world’s longest-running queer film festival, drawing an estimated 65,000 attendees to experience the newest in LGBT cinema. More than 30 feature length documentaries are included in this year’s lineup, including the fest’s coveted Opening Night slot, which goes to Sundance winners Ben Cotner and Ryan White’s excellent THE CASE AGAINST 8, with fellow Sundance alum Jennifer Kroot and Bill Weber’s TO BE TAKEI taking one of the Centerpiece spots. The following spotlights additional documentary programming SF audiences should be sure to check out:
A number of the fest’s nonfiction offerings offer a look back at significant LGBT figures, events, or culture from the past. Among these are: Cheryl Furjanic’s BACK ON BOARD: GREG LOUGANIS, an affecting portrait of the Olympic superstar; Nadine Licostie’s THE LAST ONE, the story of the AIDS Memorial Quilt; Andrea Meyerson’s LETTER TO ANITA, in which a woman recounts her path to activism in the aftermath of Anita Bryant’s notorious 1970s anti-gay campaign; Stefan Haupt’s THE CIRCLE, a hybrid project exploring the history of a 1950s Swiss gay society; Mike Skiff’s FOLSOM FOREVER, a history of the infamous, beloved SF leather street fair; and Hervé Joseph Lebrun’s celebration of bygone adult films, MONDO HOMO: A STUDY OF FRENCH GAY PORN IN THE ’70S (pictured).
Frameline’s expansive programming also provides audiences with insight into contemporary LGBT life, including: Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler’s political profile, COMPARED TO WHAT: THE IMPROBABLY JOURNEY OF BARNEY FRANK; Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson’s portrait of a powerful Hawaiian transgender woman, KUMU HINA (pictured); and Red Summer’s look at a burgeoning queer community united by race, gender, and religion, AL NISA: BLACK MUSLIM WOMEN IN ATLANTA’S GAY MECCA.
Finally, the fest offers powerful examples of the real-life cost of homophobia, often on younger people, in films like: blair doroshwalther’s investigation into the truth behind a sensationalized so-called “lesbian gang” attack, OUT IN THE NIGHT; Alix Lambert’s exploration of bullying in a seemingly idyllic midwest town, MENTOR; Jeremy Stulberg and Randy Stulberg’s poignant story of a young suicide, BROKEN HEART LAND (pictured); and Ian W Thomson’s look at gays’ uncomfortable fit in surf culture, OUT IN THE LINE-UP: UNCOVERING THE TABOO OF HOMOSEXUALITY IN SURFING.