Films / Programs

LGBTQ Film as an Agent of Social Change: Then & Now

Authentic portrayals of LGBTQ lives—through documentaries in particular—have played a significant role in establishing visibility, promoting social and political progress, and shifting attitudes toward the LGBTQ community. From landmark films that have screened throughout the Festival’s history to those making waves today, we reflect upon LGBTQ documentaries—and the change makers behind them—that push forward important narratives.

The Celluloid Closet

109M

Exactly twenty years after its theatrical release, San Francisco-based documentarians Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s monumental film remains an indispensable—and profoundly moving—record of the way Hollywood depicted gays and lesbians throughout the 20th century.

Read more »

Check It

USA, 2016, 90M

Desperate to survive state and police violence, a group of black gay and trans teens form a gang to protect one another. In a country where blackness is criminal, forming a gang is a radical act of resistance.

Read more »

Conversations with Gay Elders: An Intergenerational Film Project

USA, 2016, 60M

In this project-in-progress screening, director David Weissman (We Were Here, The Cockettes) brings viewers inside the experiences of gay men of the pre-Stonewall generation via filmed conversations, which are in turn edited by young gay filmmakers in a unique cross-generational collaboration.

Read more »

Flashback 1977: Frameline’s Founding Year

91M

In tribute to Frameline’s 40th anniversary, this program revisits a remarkable year in gay and lesbian visibility, including a film from the first festival and the rarely screened Gay USA, Arthur Bressan’s groundbreaking documentary on the burgeoning gay rights movement of 1977.

Read more »

The Freedom to Marry

USA, 2016, 86M

Last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision upholding same-sex marriage was the culmination of decades of groundbreaking, uphill work. This inspirational documentary traces the surprising history of the cause, profiling Evan Wolfson and Mary Bonauto, the “godparents” of marriage equality.

Read more »

Growing Up Coy

USA, 2016, 86M

In a highly conservative Colorado town, a pink-loving, pig-tailed six-year-old girl named Coy becomes the unlikely poster child for transgender rights, in a landmark case that is reverberating in state courts across the country.

Read more »

Kiki

USA, 2016, 94M

More than two decades after Paris Is Burning, filmmakers Sara Jordenö and Twiggy Pucci Garçon’s vibrant documentary fast-forwards to the ballroom scene of today: an unapologetically flamboyant and political subculture centered on LGBTQ youth of color, for whom dance is far more than performance.

Read more »

Living with Pride: Ruth C. Ellis @ 100

67M

Filmmaker Yvonne Welbon’s breakthrough documentary provides exceptional insight into the life and times of activist and centenarian Ruth C. Ellis, who shows us—with undeniable charm, humor, and joy for life—that a life lived with pride is a life well lived.

Read more »

Out Run

USA, 2016, 75M

Documentarians S. Leo Chiang and Johnny Symons turn an incisive international lens on the only LGBTQ political party in the world—the Ladlad Party of the Philippines, where beauty salons become campaign chapters and dubious party alliances are the norm.

Read more »

Political Animals

USA, 2015, 90M

This is the eye-opening story of four out lesbian politicians—Sheila Kuehl, Carole Migden, Jackie Goldberg, and Christine Kehoe—who took the LGBT civil rights struggle from the streets to California’s state capitol.

Read more »

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four

USA, 2016, 91M

At the tail end of the “Satanic ritual abuse panic” of the 1990s, four Latina lesbian women were accused and wrongfully convicted of a heinous sexual assault. After serving over a decade in prison, the women won’t stop fighting to prove their innocence, in this heart-wrenching examination of the criminal justice system.

Read more »

Tongues Untied

68M

Emmy Award-winning director Marlon T. Riggs’ 1989 seminal documentary used poetry, personal testimony, and performance to examine homophobia and racism through images of gay bashings, voguing, and protest marches.

Read more »

The Trans List

USA, 2016, 60M

Boasting an impressive assemblage of transgender luminaries—including Buck Angel, Laverne Cox, and Shane Ortega—this riveting documentary highlights the distinct individuality and diverse outlooks of its subjects, while simultaneously evoking the collective power of an indomitable community.

Read more »

Upstairs Inferno

USA, 2015, 96M

An unsettling snapshot of what is considered to be the largest mass murder targeting gays in American history, this documentary gets inside the hearts and minds of a handful of vibrant people who are connected by tragedy and compassion.

Read more »