fest preview

Throuples, queens & a gay rodeo: 10 must-see titles from San Francisco’s Frameline48 film fest

Image Credits, clockwise from top-left: ‘Throuple,’ ‘Life Is Not a Competition, But I’m Winning,’ ‘The Judgment,’ ‘Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story,’ ‘Lady Like’ | Frameline48

Cities don’t get much gayer than San Francisco. It’s where America’s first same-sex marriage took place, it’s (still) home to the very first Pride flag, and to top it all off, the world’s longest-running LGBTQ+ film festival calls San Francisco home as well.

Frameline’s mission is “to change the world through the power of queer cinema”, and that’s exactly what it’s been doing across almost five decades since the festival’s launch in 1977. This month’s Frameline48 promises to continue that vital work with an expansive new program screening at the legendary Castro Theatre and beyond from June 19 – 29 in theaters and June 24 – 30 online.

Like any festival of note, it’s hard to know where to start when it comes to buying tickets and choosing what to watch. Up front, we implore you to check out some of the buzziest titles including Crossing, Good One, My Old Ass and Sebastian, but beyond that, there are plenty more hidden, overlooked gems to discover—and that’s where we come in!

Join us as we shine a light on ten unmissable LGBTQ+ films from Frameline 2024.

All Shall Be Well 

In what might be his best film yet, writer/director Ray Yeung continues to explore the challenges older queer people face in Hong Kong with this delicate, quietly devastating portrait of a devoted lesbian couple named Pat and Angie. Winner of this year’s Teddy Award for Best Feature at the Berlin International Film Festival, All Shall Be Well straddles pain and hope with a tenderness that should ultimately bring the audience some comfort, just like the title suggests.

Screening Thursday, June 27. More info here.

Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story 

On the precipice of stardom, a promising ’60s R&B vocalist suddenly vanished into midair. Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story investigates why in a documentary soundtracked by Jackie herself that combines interviews, archive material and rotoscope reenactments to reveal how a Black trans woman in the spotlight fought to thrive on her own terms. Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story is set to receive Frameline’s third Out In The Silence Award, which rewards films that celebrate queer visibility in places where it’s especially hard to be visible.

Screening Sunday, June 23. More info here.

Carnage For Christmas

Image Credit: ‘Carnage For Christmas,’ Frameline48

Prolific trans director Alice Maio Mackay puts a festive spin on her love of camp horror with Carnage For Christmas where Lola, a trans true-crime podcaster, faces off against small-town bigotry and murder alike. But as she delves deeper into this gruesome serial killer mystery, Lola’s own surprising connection to the original “Toymaker Murders” puts her in danger, too. Already on her fifth feature by the age of 19, Mackay has fully established herself as a queer pioneer whose low-budget genre work is defiantly, intrinsically trans in ways the mainstream struggles to keep up with.

Screening Saturday, June 22. More info here.

In The Summers 

Image Credit: ‘In The Summers,’ Frameline48

Across multiple summers—the kind that come to define us as people—two sisters leave home each year to visit their distant father in New Mexico. What ensues is a deeply personal exploration of how love can endure across time and space, even at its most volatile. While multiple actors beautifully play Violeta and Eva as they grow up, including Mutt star Lio Mehiel and The Flash’s Sasha Calle, it’s Grammy winning Puerto Rican rapper Residente who bridges each era with a delicate balance between tenderness and rage. Sure, Alessandra Lacorazza’s debut feature won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance earlier this year, but quiet, devastatingly beautiful films like this need all the support they can get, hence its inclusion here.

Screening Thursday, June 20. More info here.

The Judgment 

Perhaps no other genre better captures the horrors of homophobia than horror itself, as proven by The Judgment, which follows a US-based couple forced back into the closet upon their return to Egypt. As they attempt to pass as just friends, strange, impossible occurrences lead them to suspect that a family member may be using witchcraft to punish them for their so-called sins. Egyptian director Marwan Mokbel and his all Egyptian cast and crew use this eerie backdrop to explore the very real shame that often intersects with queerness and religion in the Middle East and beyond.

Screening Monday, June 24, and streaming virtually from June 24 – 30. More info here.

Lady Like

From a difficult childhood and extensive ballet training to international tours and a finalist spot on RuPaul’s Drag Race season 14, Lady Camden has had quite the journey. Debut filmmaker Luke Willis documents Rex Wheeler’s rise with help from fellow Drag Race alum Nina West who appears here on narration duty. The result is a moving underdog story full of triumph that reminds us just how difficult yet important drag is at a time when the entire art form is under attack.

Screening Wednesday, June 26. More info here.

Life Is Not A Competition, But I’m Winning

Even if it didn’t come with the best title of the year already, Life Is Not A Competition, But I’m Winning is also worth watching because of how it uniquely depicts the ongoing fight for equal rights when it comes to gender nonconforming bodies in sports. Using interviews, Olympic footage, and some good old-fashioned science, Julia Furhmann’s documentary bridges overlooked chapters of queer history with the rigorous spotlight of now to try and imagine a better future for queer athletes. It’s essential viewing for everyone, but especially the bigots who try to police queer bodies on an organizational level in sports. 

Screening Sunday, June 23. More info here.

National Anthem

Water is wet and cowboys are gay yet not enough movies embody that second truth still. Enter National Anthem, a gorgeous, almost ethereal slice of queer Americana that follows a sweet young man named Dylan who finds love and connection with a rodeo family in the House of Splendor. Lean On Pete’s Charlie Plummer gives a career best performance while Eve Lindley and Mason Alexander Park are just as captivating as the landscapes that director Luke Gilford shoots with a splendor of their own. The campaign for more queer westerns starts here!

Screening Sunday, June 23. More info here.

The Queen Of My Dreams 

For her directorial debut, writer/director Fawzia Mirza blends different worlds with the story of Azra, a queer Muslim grad student whose life changes forever when her father dies unexpectedly. Leaving her white, non-Muslim girlfriend behind in Toronto, Amrit Kaur’s character journeys to Pakistan, her homeland, and reconnects with her overbearing religious mother. Sentimental in the best way possible, The Queen Of My Dreams is a warm, vibrant story of connection that’s easy to fall in love with and even harder to forget.

Screening Saturday, June 22, and streaming virtually from June 24 – 30. More info here.


Image Credit: ‘Throuple,’ Frameline48

When a singer-songwriter named Michael starts making sweet music with a newly-open gay married couple, what starts off casual soon develops into something much more serious. But is that what’s best for Michael in the long run? Thrumming with energy on stage and in bed as well, this horny yet romantic depiction of polyamory reminds us to be open to all possibilities in life, wherever they might take us. And yes, that does include threesomes, but so much more as well.

Screening Thursday, June 27, and streaming virtually from June 24 – 30. More info here.

Even More Frameline48 Films To Look Out For

Beyond what we’ve highlighted above, Framline48 will be screening a number of exciting features we’ve previously mentioned in other festival previews, or covered when their trailers have dropped. Details for each are below with links to where you can read more about them on Queerty:

Learn more about Frameline48 and see the full film lineup here.

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