Frameline40 Ends on a High Note With Sold-Out Screenings, Prestigious Honors, and Solidarity in Showcasing and Embracing Queerness in Film and Beyond
San Francisco, CA—Frameline40: The King of Queer Film Festivals, the San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival, closed its historic 40th anniversary on Sunday, June 26, with a sold-out World Premiere of Andrew Haigh's LOOKING, proudly presented by HBO. Joining Haigh at the Premiere were stars Jonathan Groff (Glee, Broadway's Hamilton), Russell Tovey (Being Human, THE PASS), Murray Bartlett (AUGUST), Frankie J. Alvarez, Raúl Castillo, Lauren Weedman, Daniel Franzese (MEAN GIRLS), and producer/writer Michael Lannan. Festivities continued at the Closing Night Party and Awards Ceremony at Oasis Nightclub & Cabaret.
The Closing festivities topped off an amazing Festival that welcomed an audience nearing 60,000, as well as a diverse and talented group of filmmakers, actors, and industry guests from around the globe. Frameline40 spanned 11 days of sold-out screenings, lively parties, social events, interactive panels, special guests and more, culminating in the Frameline40 awards presentations. The Festival's 155 films, presented through five venues in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland, were met with thunderous applause and thoughtful dialogue amongst the LGBTQ, independent film, and media arts communities.
Frameline40 began the week following the tragic events of Orlando, from which we found strength from our community as we mourned and reflected. With passion and solidarity, we held hands, marching forward with our queer family. Touching tributes and an outpouring of support flowed from many introductions and discussions during the Festival.
Frameline40 is pleased to announce its juried awards for Outstanding First Feature, Outstanding Documentary, and two Honorable Mentions. The Frameline40 First Feature Award, proudly underwritten by the Wells Fargo Foundation, went to JONATHAN, by director Piotr Lewandowski, for its powerfully rendered story of a son grappling with family secrets, and for its meticulous craftsmanship, complex characters and moving performances. Honorable Mention went to WOMEN WHO KILL, whose director, Ingrid Jungermann, was praised as an original comic voice and an emerging triple-threat talent as writer, director, and actor.
Jury members for the Frameline40 First Feature Award, proudly underwritten by the Wells Fargo Foundation, were Jennifer Hatton (Programming Chair, Sacramento International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival), Mitchell Leib (Programming Director, REEL Q: Pittsburgh LGBT Film Festival/PLGFS) and Bard Ydén (Programming Director, Oslo/Fusion International Film Festival).
Taking home the Frameline40 Outstanding Documentary Feature Award was Deborah Esquenazi's SOUTHWEST OF SALEM: THE STORY OF THE SAN ANTONIO FOUR. Exposing a miscarriage of justice that befell four Latina lesbians in the 1990s, the film is an investigative documentary that weaves together complex issues of race, class, and sexuality into a superbly cohesive narrative. Honorable Mention for Special Contribution to Queer History went to UPSTAIRS INFERNO, directed by Robert L. Camina. The film, about the 1973 arson at a New Orleans gay bar that killed 32 people, was honored for spotlighting a critically important story, long overlooked, that could not be timelier today.
Jury members for the Frameline40 Outstanding Documentary Feature Award were Hilary Hart (veteran festival staffer at Sundance, Frameline, Telluride, and former publicist at San Francisco Film Society), Dawn Logsdon (Editor, PARAGRAPH 175, THE ROYAL ROAD; Co-Director, BIG JOY: ADVENTURES OF JAMES BROUGHTON) and Sandip Roy (Journalist, NPR commentator and novelist, Don't Let Him Know).
The Frameline40 AT&T Audience Awards went to the Festival's most popular favorites. The Frameline40 AT&T Audience Award for Best Feature was awarded to Tom E. Brown's PUSHING DEAD, an oddball comedy about a long-term HIV survivor in San Francisco, featuring a terrific ensemble cast including James Roday, Danny Glover, Robin Weigert, and Khandi Alexander. Berkeley-based director Shaleece Haas was awarded the Frameline40 AT&T Audience Award for Best Documentary for REAL BOY, the music-filled coming-of-age story of Bennett Wallace, a transgender teenager on a journey to find his voice-as a musician, a friend, a son, and a man. And the Frameline40 AT&T Audience Award for Best Short went to VÁMONOS, directed by Marvin Lemus, a heartbreaking and hilarious ride-or-die inspired story about overcoming personal grief to respectfully send a loved one off into the afterlife.
CINEMATIC & MOMENTOUS HIGHLIGHTS
Standing ovation and passionate celebration were inspired by Opening Night at the iconic Castro Theatre with the stunning film, KIKI. Director Sara Jordenö joined writer/subject Twiggy Pucci Garçon and subjects Gia Marie Love, Ivan "Smerk" Mendoza, Chi Chi Mizrahi and Christopher Waldorf to share their unapologetically flamboyant and vibrant documentary exploring the ballroom scene of today and the LGBTQ youth of color, for whom dance is far more than performance. The phenomenal opening continued with the Frameline40 Gala at The NWBLK.
Continuing the success from last year, Frameline40 extended its coverage in the East Bay with a full week of screenings at the Rialto Cinemas® Elmwood in Berkeley and Landmark Piedmont Theatre in Oakland. Highlights included an extended conversation with Angelica Ross and Jen Richards on the lives of transgender and cisgender women in HER STORY, a standing ovation for Shaleece Haas' REAL BOY and an enthusiastic Q&A with former state senator Carole Migden following POLITICAL ANIMALS, all at the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood in Berkeley. At the Landmark Piedmont Theatre, a sold-out audience enjoyed an encore presentation of Opening Night film KIKI, and the East Bay run wrapped up with a full day of screenings on the Festival's final Saturday, concluding with GIRLS LOST.
In San Francisco, delighted audience members enjoyed special events at the historic Victoria and Roxie Theaters. Peaches Christ Productions helped celebrate the 25th anniversary of the cult classic, VEGAS IN SPACE, with a live pre-show and many guests from the film. Two interactive panels explored topics of trans stories in media and culture, and queer film as an agent of social change, both part of a special initiative, funded by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, titled "In Whose Image? LGBTQ Storytelliing, 1977–Today," which also featured a film celebration of Frameline's founding year (1977), with many in attendance who had participated in San Francisco's very first "Gay Film Festival of Super-8 Films."
Back at the Castro, there were a fair share of exciting moments. Director Deborah Esquenazi and the four inspiring subjects from SOUTHWEST OF SALEM: THE STORY OF THE SAN ANTONIO FOUR received a 5-minute standing ovation from a touched audience, followed by a truly thoughtful dialogue with attendees. Consultant, advisor, mentor, producer and festival programmer Robert Hawk was awarded the Frameline Award for his many contributions to the world of independent film. Five of the talented and seasoned dancers from Madonna's Blond Ambition Tour thrilled a packed audience at STRIKE A POSE. And director Clea Duvall and actress Natasha Lyonne had the audience rolling on the floor in a hilarious talkback following the screening of THE INTERVENTION.
Esteemed guests at Frameline40 included nearly 250 filmmakers from around the world, joined by industry leaders, independent cinema stars, and renowned international guests such as actor Breeda Wool and director Deb Shoval (AWOL); writer Armistead Maupin and directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (THE CELLULOID CLOSET); activist Evan Wolfson (Founder, Freedom to Marry); State Sen. Carole Migden and Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg (POLITICAL ANIMALS); Director Tom E. Brown and actors James Roday, Khandi Alexander and Robin Weigert (PUSHING DEAD); director, writer, actor Clea DuVall and actor Natasha Lyonne (THE INTERVENTION); director Händl Klaus (TOMCAT); director Sudhanshu Saria (LOEV); and director Alexandra-Therese Keining (GIRLS LOST).
The ever-increasing popularity and relevance of Frameline shined brightly with many programs playing to sold-out audiences including: KIKI; LOOKING; FUN IN BOYS SHORTS; PUSHING DEAD; COMING UP QUEER; A HOLY MESS; HORSES; GIRL GETS GIRL; REALNESS & REVELATIONS; FLASHBACK 1977: FRAMELINE'S FOUNDING YEAR; BRUISING FOR BESOS; POLITICAL ANIMALS; DADDY'S BOY; REAL BOY; OH THE HORROR!; OVARIAN PSYCOS and TWO SOFT THINGS, TWO HARD THINGS.
Frameline Executive Director, Frances Wallace, said "Frameline40 was one of the strongest Festival's in the forty year history, capturing an extraordinary slate of strong queer film content. The stories represented asked us to reflect on our history, discuss our present and inspired us to action for the future. Empowered by these films—we understood that our work is not yet done, to represent all queer people and their allies across the globe. Also in the wake of Orlando, the Festival became a gathering place for support and discussion, as we came together to try to make sense of this terrible tragedy, knowing that in communing we can achieve great heights—and film can be part of that change."
Stay tuned for Frameline's year-round programming, and Frameline41, June 15–25, 2017.
About Frameline40: San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival
Frameline40 runs June 16-26, 2016 in San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland. Commemorate legendary filmmakers, discover emerging talents, and join the distinguished community of festivalgoers at the world's premier LGBTQ film festival and the largest celebration of queer cinema. Festival tickets go on sale to members on Friday, May 27, and to the general public on Friday, June 3. www.frameline.org/festival
Frameline's mission is to change the world through the power of queer cinema. As a media arts nonprofit, Frameline's programs connect filmmakers and audiences in San Francisco and around the world. Frameline's integrated programs provide critical funding for emerging LGBTQ filmmakers, reach hundreds of thousands with a collection of more than 250 films distributed nationally, inspire thousands of students through Youth In Motion, which sends free films and curricula to schools across the nation, and creates an international stage for the world's best queer film through the San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival and additional year-round screenings and cinematic events. Learn more at www.frameline.org.