The king of queer film festivals — San Francisco’s Frameline — hits the four-decade mark this year.
Running June 16-26th at venues across the SF Bay Area, this year’s festival showcases more than 150 films from filmmakers all over the globe. In addition to presenting the best new films of the year, Frameline40 is showcasing a selection of memorable classics and panel discussions looking back and contextualizing cinema today.
This year’s prestigious Frameline Award will be presented to longtime indie industry figure Bob Hawk (Trick, The Celluloid Closet). Seven of this year’s presentations (AWOL, Growing Up Coy, Her Story, The Joneses, Kiki and Out Run) were recipient’s of Frameline’s annual Completion Fund Grant. All descriptions below courtesy of Frameline.
OPENING NIGHT FILM
KIKI / DIR Sara Jordenö / 2016 / USA, Sweden / 94 min
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.
CENTERPIECE US NARRATIVE
AWOL / DIR Deb Shoval / 2016 / USA / 85 min
Tomboy Joey and married mom Rayna fall for each other in this star-crossed love story set in working class Pennsylvania. The pair can’t quit each other, but struggle to imagine a life together as Joey’s deployment for Afghanistan approaches.
CENTERPIECE WORLD NARRATIVE
BEING 17 / DIR André Téchiné / 2016 / France / 116 min
When Thomas, the adopted son of rural mountain farmers, has to temporarily share a home with the more urbane Damien, the two hostile boys are forced to negotiate the challenges of unspoken desire, in director André Téchiné’s alluring new masterwork.
SOUTHWEST OF SALEM: THE STORY OF THE SAN ANTONIO FOUR
DIR Deborah Esquenazi / 2016 / USA / 89 min
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.
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
LOOKING / DIR Andrew Haigh / 2016 / USA / 86 min
Rendered in the same radically real style that made the HBO series a watershed in the presentation of ordinary gay lives, LOOKING, the movie, reunites the show’s sexy San Franciscans in a romantic drama that delivers the sweet satisfaction of closure.
Showcases are gems that are handpicked by Frameline programmers from the hundreds of outstanding films at this year’s Festival.
DIR Alexandra-Therese Keining / 2016 / Sweden / 105 min
In this delectably twisted fairytale of gender fluidity, three outcast girls’ dreams of boyhood become reality, sending them down a shadowy path of self-discovery.
GROWING UP COY / DIR Eric Juhola / 2016 / USA / 86 min
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.
THE INTERVENTION / DIR Clea DuVall / 2016 / USA / 88 min
Friends and family stage a marriage intervention for a toxic couple, only to have to confront their own issues in writer-director-star Clea DuVall’s sharp, funny, and honest portrayal of the complexities of modern adult relationships.
PARIS 05:59: THEO & HUGO / DIRS Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau / 2016 / France / 97 min
The thrilling, sexy contours of a new relationship have rarely been mapped as well as in this bold romance, which unfolds in real time on the streets of Paris. After a sweaty bout in a sex club, Theo (Geoffrey Couët) and Hugo (François Nambot) take off together on their bicycles, engaging in a beautifully crafted and moving dialogue that traverses an extraordinary range of personal and psychological territory.
PUSHING DEAD / DIR Tom E. Brown / 2015 / USA / 108 min
In this quirky dark comedy set in San Francisco, a bureaucratic snafu keeps an HIV-positive writer from getting his prescriptions. Skewering healthcare bureaucracy, a gentrifying city, and the tribulations of being a longtime HIV survivor, the film features a terrific ensemble cast, including James Roday, Robin Weigert, Danny Glover, and Khandi Alexander.
RARA / DIR Pepa San Martín / 2016 / Chile, Argentina / 88 min
With her first feature, writer-director Pepa San Martín constructs a brilliantly subtle family drama that is both a poignant coming-of-age tale and a based-on-a-true-story account of a lesbian marriage threatened by social forces, told chiefly from almost-13-year-old daughter Sarah’s perspective.
SPA NIGHT / DIR Andrew Ahn / 2016 / USA / 93 min
The LA air is thick with sublimated desire and frustrated yearning in Andrew Ahn’s deeply felt feature debut, a touching study of a virginal, closeted teenager wrestling with his Korean-born parents’ expectations and the forbidden, mysterious allure of men’s bodies.
STRIKE A POSE / DIRS Ester Gould & Reijer Zwaan / 2016 / Netherlands, Belgium / 83 min
In 1990, seven male dancers joined Madonna on her taboo-busting Blond Ambition tour-which blew the roof off of global pop culture, raised AIDS awareness, and turned the dancers into sudden celebrities. This empathetic yet probing portrait revisits that era and traces the dancers’ paths from youthful exuberance to complicated adulthood.
SUMMERTIME / DIR Catherine Corsini / France
This 1970s-set, French love story provokes a rush of nostalgia (even if you weren’t there) for that heady time when political and romantic passions intertwined. French farm girl Delphine finds love with Parisian feminist Carole, but family keeps pulling her back into the closet in this smart, sexy movie.
THE TRANS LIST / DIR Timothy Greenfield-Sanders / 2016 / USA / 60 min
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.
Visit Frameline.org for complete information on all of this year’s films.