Frameline, the San Francisco-based queer media arts foundation, returns again this June 20 to kick off its annual queer film festival, marking its 43rd year.
For anyone outside the range of the San Francisco Bay Area, don’t fret: many of these films will come to a festival near you before arriving on streaming services. Frameline has a knack for picking the next big things.
As with every year, much of the festival will take place at the historic Castro Theatre. Remember the titles.
This may be the first time you hear them, but it will probably not be the last.
1. Sid & Judy
The mother of all gay icons (which is kind of literal, considering her daughter, Liza) gets the documentary treatment courtesy of home movies and the personal observations of her third husband, Sid Luft. The film offers a new and intense look at their marriage and the demons that plagued them both.
No relation to the dark comedy about giant snakes (check that one out when you have a chance), this Guatemalan film follows the travails of Pablo (Juan Pablo Olyslager), a man trying to leave his wife and kids for the man he loves. As his world crumbles, Pablo escapes to a gay neighborhood, though the shadows of his past threaten his happiness.
3. End of the Century
From the shores of Spain comes this romance about a horny tourist chasing after a sexy local. When the two connect, the story takes an odd twist that catapults it 20 years into the past, revealing how much people change over time…and how they do not.
June 21 & 29.
This horror thriller about a transgender woman that meets a coven of queer vampires (yes, really) in the hipster scene of Los Angeles has all the markings of a cult film in the making. Actress Nicole Maines (of Supergirl) stars in one of the most unusual films playing the festival this year.
5. Kinky Boots: The Musical
Yes, the famed Broadway blockbuster comes to Frameline with a special HD showing of the West End production. With a book by Harvey Firestein and music by Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots is a feast for the senses. Have a pair of heels on hand…you’ll probably want to wear them.
6. Last Ferry
A shy gay man ends up mugged and drugged on Fire Island, where a group of friendly (and handsome) gay men take him in. But a killer runs loose and said orphan gay may have crucial information about his identity. Shot on location with stellar photography, Last Ferry has plenty of gorgeous visuals, both inanimate and otherwise.
7. Before You Know It
We caught this indie gem when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and we fell in love. Two sisters wrangling with the untimely death of their thespian father (Mandy Patinkin), discover the mother they never knew (Judith Light) is still alive…and she owns their business. Before You Know It combines humor both sweet & screwball and manages to work in an Alec Baldwin cameo.
A neurotic London filmmaker struggling to finish his latest movie meets a handsome French singer, and sparks fly. But can Benjamin—so used to feeling unhappy—actually allow himself to feel joy? Actor Colin Morgan (of The Happy Prince) stars in a bittersweet romantic comedy about a clash of artistic sensibilities and the terror of falling in love.
9. Brief Story of a Green Planet
Growing up sucks, at least in Argentina. Longtime trans performer Tania struggles with the disillusionment of her life, especially after the death of her grandmother. Then she learns a family secret: her dear abuela harbored an extraterrestrial companion. Now, Tania and her friends Pedro and Daniela must find a way to return the creature home, and begin a harrowing journey into unknown territory. Strange, surreal and moving, Brief Story of a Green Planet tells a story in the tradition of ET, but with a welcome queer twist.
June 25 & 27.
10. Scream Queen
Mark Patton had a great career ahead, having appeared in movies like Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. Then he vanished. This documentary uncovers the reasons why, and takes a look at the screamer sequel often labeled the Gayest Horror Film of All Time. Patton also takes the opportunity to exorcise his own demons, including making peace with a business that ostracized him for being gay.
Brazilian-American director Alex Moratto helms this coming-of-age story about a queer teen dealing with the death of his mother and struggling with his sexuality. The film nabbed an Independent Spirit Award last year for the lead performance by newcomer Christian Malherios, who plays the title role.
Sponsored by your very own Queerty at the Victoria Theater June 27
Cubby’s blends animation and live action with hilarious and poignant moments as we follow a young queer artist’s bumpy journey to find his place in the world. The terrific ensemble cast also includes Lucy DeVito (Curmudgeons, Frameline41), Zachary Booth (Keep the Lights On, Frameline36), and a memorable Patricia Richardson (of Home Improvement) as Mark’s mother.