Guide to the Festival

The Frameline39 AT&T Audience Awards

Since 1984 our audience has been responsible for selecting the Best Feature Film, Best Documentary Film and Best Short Film of the Festival. Putting the power in the audience's hands, the Frameline39 AT&T Audience Awards offer cash prizes to the favorite Feature ($1000), Documentary ($1000) and Short ($500) in the festival. Audience members will be able to vote via text message from any text-enabled mobile device.

If you love a film, simply text the film's voting code to 55333 within six hours of the start of the screening. To find the film's voting code, look on-screen after the show, check out the film's Frameline39 online description, download the Frameline39 App, or ask a staff member or a volunteer. And remember: you get just one vote per film per mobile device. Standard messaging rates may apply (a small price to pay to support LGBTQ filmmakers).

The Frameline Award

Established in 1986, the Frameline Award is given every year to a person or entity that has made a major contribution to LGBTQ representation in film, television, or the media arts. Past honorees range from film historian and author Vito Russo, to Hong Kong director Stanley Kwan, avant-garde lesbian filmmaker Barbara Hammer, drag artiste extraordinaire Divine, actor-activist George Takei, producer Christine Vachon, long-time leader of the Festival and the organization Michael Lumpkin, and producer/distributor Marcus Hu.

This year, Frameline's Board and Staff are proud to present the Frameline Award to Jeffrey Schwarz.

New York City in 1969 is perhaps the most well-known time and place in LGBTQ civil rights history. Though not the first backlash of its kind, the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village that June ignited the modern LGBTQ rights movement — and a few months later in New York City, Jeffrey Schwarz was born. Pure coincidence? You decide: Schwarz would become one of the most prominent stewards of queer history through a panoply of documentaries on influential queer film icons of the 20th century.

Growing up as a self-proclaimed “closeted teenager with no tangible connections to gay culture,” Schwarz found his ties to the queer world through books like Vito Russo’s The Celluloid Closet and John Waters’ Shock Value, as well as groundbreaking New Queer Cinema of the early 1990s like My Own Private Idaho and Poison, on which he was a production assistant. With his short film Al Lewis in the Flesh, about the octogenarian star of The Munsters, the young director was already establishing his passion for documenting larger-than-life outsider personalities. But Schwarz’s first foray into documenting queer history came in 1995, as an apprentice editor on Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s pivotal documentary The Celluloid Closet. Working on this film aligned his passion for movies and queer history, as well as immersing him in San Francisco’s documentary community. This experience would lead to documenting the life of Vito Russo, the inexhaustible activist and media critic.

Over the next 15 years, Schwarz would introduce new generations to those who revolutionized queer representation on screen — 1970s porn icon Jack Wrangler (Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon), the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, Divine, (I Am Divine), and activist Vito Russo, in the Emmy Award-winning film, Vito. This year, Schwarz presents his latest film, Tab Hunter Confidential, about the 1950s screen heartthrob, helping to shine light on yet another icon. In addition to his extensive directing career, Schwarz is a producer of behind-the-scenes DVD content and original television programming. His work includes dozens of retrospective documentaries about films by directors such as Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Jonathan Demme, Wes Craven, Rob Reiner, Paul Verhoeven, and the Coen Brothers.

For nearly four decades, Frameline has been recognizing and celebrating pioneers in the film and LGBTQ communities, and this year we are honored to award Jeffrey Schwarz with the Frameline Award, for his achievements in documenting the lives of icons who have inspired audiences here in the Bay Area and around the world. Schwarz’s films have received Frameline Completion Funding, played at numerous Frameline Festivals often with standing ovations, and, in the case of Vito, have been viewed by thousands of students across the U.S. through our Youth in Motion program. Jeffrey Schwarz and his work will undoubtedly continue to inspire and ignite action long after he receives this year’s annual Frameline Award.

Join Frameline and acclaimed documentarians Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman as we present Jeffrey Schwarz with the 2015 Frameline Award at the June 20 screening of Tab Hunter Confidential at the Castro Theatre.

Frameline's Juried Awards

Frameline has a long history of supporting outstanding films and filmmakers, and we continue that tradition with our juried awards for First Feature and Best Documentary of Frameline39!