Frameline 37 Highlights

By Moira Sullivan
Opening film 'Concussion'

The Frameline LGBT film festival, the largest in the world.  will be held June 20 to 30 in San Francisco at the Castro, Victoria and Roxie Theaters and also in the Elmwood in Berkeley.

After the triumph of two gay films at the Cannes film Festival in May,  Frameline will screen romances, coming out stories, documentaries on the LGBT scene and films on the different LGBT populations, predominately gay men, lesbians, bisexual and transgender populations. This means that the film categories are divided into sexual preferences. 

There is a first feature and best documentary competition, to entice filmmakers; this is not only an audience award based public festival The best first feature brings with a cash prize of 7500. Two films have debuted at other festivals –Concussion at Berlin and Beyond the Walls at Cannes last year, a candidate for the Queer Palm Award.

Films that screen here are shown all around the world and this several films are from 2013. But, there is a caveat to this –some filmmakers do not want their films labeled as queer or gay and want their films to be just “films”. For example the winning Palme d’or film was made this year by director, Abdel Kerchiche, La Vie d'Adèle (Blue is the Warmest Color) who said it was not a gay film, but "a love story". So in this respect Frameline is radical and necessary for LGBT affirmation. But we can have it all.

The opening night film , CONCUSSION , by Stacie Passon  is an example of a film that could might have started out at Frameline, if it was a festival that wanted to be a competitive in the festival arena. The film is about a woman in a same sex relationship that suffers a concussion and buys a condo where she begins a new life away from the routine of monogamy and a safe predictable job.

Here are some highlights for this year’s festival

Queer Asian Cinema

Frameline37 presents a showcase of queer Asian feature film cinema and program of shorts from China Nepal, Pakistan, The Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand---two films compete for the first feature award -  Two Weddings and a Funeral by Kim Jho and Gwang –Soo and Soongava – dance of the Orchids – directed by Subarna Tharpe. Don’t miss also the QWOCMAP – Queer women of color short program June 23 the best of that festival which will be held this weekend (June 14-16)  at the Brava Theater in San Francisco.

Also up this year are retrospective screenings of Jamie Babbit's 'But I'm a Cheerleader' 1999 and a 20th anniversary screening of Last Call at Maud's from 2013.

Babbitt’s 'Cheerleader' film is an amazing explosion of color and kitsch and a classic that takes up religious groups that try to reeducate gay people to become straight.

Jamie Babbit will also be honored as this year’s guest of honor with her latest film, a lesbian thriller Breaking the Girls (2012).

Maud’s was a famous San Francisco lesbian bar, and the city had several that closed and it’s just hard to figure out why there are so few bars for women anymore. After all it is San Francisco.

Don’t miss the documentary by Academy award winners Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman --The Battle of AmFAr on June 26, which focuses on the efforts of the late Elizabeth Taylor and Dr Mathilde Krim who founded Amfar in 1985 to empower the scientific community to fund Aids research.

Avant-garde filmmaker James Broughton is featured in a documentary by Stephen Silh, Eric Slade and Dawn Logsdon entitled Big Joy, the adventures of James Broughton. A native of Modesto, Broughton was a maverick of underground films and was in a long-term relationship for 25 years. Also of interest is The New Black about changing attitudes in the African American community about same sex marriage, an initiative that was not majorly supported in 2008 by the African American church when Prop 8 passed, directed by Yoruba Richen.

Next week more from the Frameline festival.

© 2013 - Moira Sullivan- Air Date: 06/12/13
Movie Magazine International