San Francisco, CA — Frameline, the world’s largest LGBTQ media arts nonprofit organization, is thrilled to announce the contenders for Frameline39’s First Feature Award, this $7,500 juried award is proudly underwritten by the Wells Fargo Foundation. While we all love seeing the latest film by our favorite well-known director, there’s nothing quite like catching debut work from an emerging voice whose first feature—whether sharply comic, emotionally gripping, visually audacious, or completely unclassifiable—brings with it the promise of a prolific career as one of our generation’s next vital storytellers. 

Frameline prides itself on introducing audiences to remarkable new talent and filmmaking artists. Groundbreaking First Feature winners include: SOMETHING MUST BREAK (dir Ester Martin Bergsmark), FACING MIRRORS (dir Negar Azarbayjani), UNDERTOW (dir Javier Fuentes-León), and HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (dir John Cameron Mitchell). 

The recipient of this year’s First Feature Award will be announced at the Closing Night Party on June 28 at Oasis Nightclub & Cabaret (298 11th Street at Folsom Street), hosted by the fabulous Heklina, and following the 7:00 pm Closing Night presentation of BARE.


AFTER LOVE / DIR Marc Jago / 2014 / Germany / 72 min

A doomed love triangle forms between a fashion photographer, a trans call-girl, and an emotionally distant rentboy in this haunting, stylishly shot noir, calling to mind David Lynch by way of the French New Wave.

ALL ABOUT E / DIR Louise Wadley / 2015 / Australia / 93 min

On the run after finding a bag full of cash, E, a sexy but closeted DJ and daughter of Lebanese immigrants, and her gay best mate seek refuge with E’s ex-girlfriend. Set in Sydney’s nightclub scene and Australia’s stunning outback, this sexy crime caper is about finding yourself while living between worlds.

ALTO / DIR Mikki del Monico / 2014 / USA / 97 min

It’s a lesbian mob comedy, capeesh? Surprising attractions, the mob, and family traditions gone oobatz pave the road to hilarity in this character-rich story that reveals what it means to come out to The Family.

BABY STEPS / DIR Barney Cheng / 2014/ Taiwan, USA / 103 min

In this cross-cultural comedy, Taiwanese American Danny and his American partner Tate contemplate having a child—anything but simple in the complex world of international surrogacy—when Danny’s well-intentioned but meddlesome mother unexpectedly arrives from Taipei and attempts to control the entire process.

BARE / DIR Natalia Leite / 2014 / USA / 88 min Closing Night

Sarah is trapped in nowheresville Nevada when the worldly drifter Pepper blows into town and opens her eyes to life’s possibilities. But is Sarah being seduced by a wily user, or is she herself using Pepper to break free?

FLOATING! / DIR Julia C. Kaiser / 2014 / Germany / 86 min

Jana and Katha are ready to join their lives together, but the raucous bachelorette parties their closest friends arrange for them will test the bonds of their relationship and the true strength of their commitment.

GUIDANCE / DIR Pat Mills / 2014 / Canada / 80 min

A liquored-up former child star channels his inner Stuart Smalley and prepares for the ultimate role: impersonating a high school guidance counselor. And his hilariously inappropriate remedies lead him down an unexpected path of self-realization.

HOW TO WIN AT CHECKERS (EVERY TIME) / DIR Josh Kim / 2015 / Thailand, USA, Indonesia / 80 min Showcase

As the Thai military draft approaches, an 11-year-old boy tries to keep his beloved older brother close to home and out of the service; but in this tender drama, love and luck might not be enough, as he unwittingly sets in motion events that expose the limited options facing Thailand’s working poor.

I AM MICHAEL / DIR Justin Kelly / 2015 / USA / 100 min Opening Night

In a controversial transformation, committed gay rights advocate Michael Glatze (James Franco) shocked his followers when he renounced homosexuality and embraced a heterosexual life. Justin Kelly’s compelling directorial debut presents this true story in an admirably measured, non-judgmental fashion.

IN THE GRAYSCALE / DIR Claudio Marcone / 2015 / Chile / 98 min

This sensitive romantic drama puts a delicate and mature twist on the classic coming-out story. Filmed in Santiago, Chile, it follows an emotionally ill-at-ease, married architect’s journey of sexual discovery, which switches into high gear after he meets an intriguing gay man.

NAZ & MAALIK / DIR Jay Dockendorf / 2014 / USA / 85 min

Two Black Muslim teens hang out on a quiet Friday afternoon in Brooklyn, little suspecting that an FBI agent is on their tail. Maalik and Naz may be hiding something, but it’s not what the agent thinks.

PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL MONOGAMIST / DIRS Christina Zeidler & John Mitchell / 2014 / Canada / 82 min

This clever, sophisticated Canadian dyke romcom centered around a forty-something Toronto TV producer is thoughtful and fresh—spinning a new groove into the old tune that we can’t always get (back) what we want.

SEASHORE / DIRS Marcio Reolon & Felipe Matzembacher / 2015 / Brazil / 83 min

In an abandoned house on the Brazilian coast, two teenage boys, friends since childhood, reveal secrets, re-open family wounds, and sort out new meanings of friendship, independence, and love in a suddenly adult world. This is a film of delicate poetry and subtle erotic tension.

STORIES OF OUR LIVES / DIR Jim Chuchu / 2014 / South Africa, Kenya / 61 min Showcase

Homophobia is institutionalized in Kenya, heightening the stakes of this brave vignette quintet. Via intimate dramatizations of identity under siege, drawn from real life experiences of LGBTQI people, this anthology, exquisitely shot in black and white, breaks the silence enforced by intolerance.

THAT’S NOT US / DIR William Sullivan / 2015 / USA / 98 min

Whiskey-fueled card games, buzz-killing wisecracks, and overdue emotional conversations are just part of what three couples pack into one weekend on Fire Island in this naturalistic romantic comedy. The superb ensemble cast’s improvised dialogue delivers a refreshingly honest take on contemporary relationships.

THOSE PEOPLE / DIR Joey Kuhn / 2014 / USA / 95 min Showcase

A young artist must choose between pursuing a relationship with a hot new man or continuing his unrequited love for his lifelong best friend in this erotic and arresting romantic drama, set among Manhattan’s social elite.

TWO 4 ONE / DIR Maureen Bradley / 2014 / Canada / 80 min

After a surprising one-night stand that rekindles their previous relationship, ex-partners Adam and Miriam make a most unusual discovery: they are both pregnant. TWO 4 ONE is a refreshing trans romcom.

WHILE YOU WEREN’T LOOKING / DIR Catherine Stewart / 2015 / 72 min

A lesbian couple realizes how far they’ve strayed from the radical ideals of their youth, as they navigate infidelity, aging, class issues, and the complexities of gay life in post-Apartheid South Africa.

About Frameline39: The San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival

Frameline39: There’s No Place Like Here… the 39th San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival celebrates an exceptional experience that unites diverse communities across an evolving cinemascape for 11 days of innovative and socially relevant film. Commemorate legendary filmmakers, discover emerging talents, and join the inimitable community of festivalgoers that distinguish the world’s oldest and largest celebration of queer cinema. Frameline39 pays tribute to LGBTQ experiences through revelatory documentaries, captivating features, enchanting shorts, cinematic classics, and more.

Frameline39 runs June 18-28, 2015, with San Francisco screenings at the historic Castro Theatre (429 Castro Street), Roxie Theater (3117 16th Street), and Victoria Theatre (2961 16th Street), in Berkeley at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood (2966 College Avenue), and new this year, in Oakland at Landmark’s Piedmont Theatre (4186 Piedmont Avenue). The Festival showcases international imports from Kenya, Venezuela, Lithuania, Thailand, France, and Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as local gems. 

The Frameline Box Office, presented by Showtime, located inside The HRC Action Center and Store, (575 Castro Street between 18th and 19th Streets) opens Friday, May 22 for Frameline member ticket sales, and Friday, May 29 for the general public. Box Office hours are 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily. Box Office is closed Monday, May 25 for Memorial Day. Tickets are also available 24 hours daily online ( and via fax (415-861-1404). 


Unless otherwise noted, tickets for matinee screenings, (Monday-Friday, 5:00 pm and earlier), are $10 for the general public and $8 for Frameline members, while evening and weekend shows are $12 for the general public and $10 for members. Castro Passes, good for admission to all screenings at the Castro Theatre, other than Opening Night and Closing Night, are available for $225. Weekday Matinee Passes, good for admission to all weekday matinee screenings starting at 5:00 pm or earlier at the Castro Theatre are available for $40 for the general public and $35 for members. For more information, visit