Frameline Announces Lineup for LGBTQ Film Festival's 45th Edition

Thursday May 27, 2021

'Firebird' plays at Frameline45
'Firebird' plays at Frameline45  (Source:Courtesy Frameline45)

The following is a press release from Frameline:

Frameline announced the full program for Frameline45 — the world's largest LGBTQ+ film festival — taking place Thursday, June 10 through Sunday, June 27, 2021.

Slated to be the largest and most attended festival in Frameline history, the 17-day festival will feature a hybrid of in-person and virtual offerings, including four drive-in screenings, two screenings at Oracle Park in partnership with San Francisco Pride and the San Francisco Giants, as well as over 50 virtual film screenings. In addition, in-person screenings return to Frameline with a series of special screenings at San Francisco's historic Castro Theatre and Roxy Theater.

This year's Frameline45 virtual offerings are available to ticket holders nationwide. Tickets ($8-$12 per screening) and passes (starting at $95) are available now at frameline.org/festival. For the first time, Frameline will offer a Festival Streaming Pass, which gives which gives ticket buyers the opportunity to unlock all virtual festival content, including film screenings and other unique programming. To ensure maximum flexibility, ticket holders will be able to tune in live to each screening or stream nearly every film at any time beginning Thursday, June 17, 2021.

"We are beyond thrilled to present the world's largest LGBTQ+ film festival," says Frameline Executive Director James Woolley. "The past year has shown us the value and importance of connections with one another. As the world begins to reopen and revitalize, so too is Frameline45 with a unique combination of in-person and virtual events. We look forward to celebrating the power of queer storytelling and sharing in a collective experience together."

"The theme of this year's festival is 'All Kinds of Queer,' and our lineup certainly reflects that," adds Frameline Director of Programming Allegra Madsen. "Representing 30 countries — from Argentina, Egypt, and India to Nigeria, Taiwan, and South Africa — this year's slate of films will touch on themes ranging from the American Dream and gentrification to trans resilience and gender and race identity. Through these films, we believe we can cultivate a more compassionate and empathetic world."


Movie Nights at Oracle Park

For the first-time ever, Frameline and San Francisco Pride will present Pride Movie Nights at Oracle Park. A natural extension of Frameline and SF Pride's decades-long, mutually advantageous relationship, this socially distanced and ticketed event (subject to state-mandated capacity limits) is further strengthened by a partnership with the San Francisco Giants and support from the City and County of San Francisco.

"In the Heights"
Friday, June 11 at 6:30 p.m. PDT
DIR Jon M. Chu | USA
The creator of "Hamilton" and the director of "Crazy Rich Asians" invite you to a cinematic event, where the streets are made of music and little dreams become big... "In the Heights."

Lights up on Washington Heights... The scent of a cafecito caliente hangs in the air just outside of the 181st Street subway stop, where a kaleidoscope of dreams rallies this vibrant and tight-knit community. At the intersection of it all is the likeable, magnetic bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who hopes, imagines, and sings about a better life. In the Heights fuses Miranda's kinetic music and lyrics with director Jon M. Chu's lively and authentic eye for storytelling to capture a world that is very much of its place, but universal in its experience.

"Everybody's Talking About Jamie"
Saturday, June 12 at 6:30 p.m. PDT
DIR Jonathan Butterell | UK/USA
Inspired by true events, "Everybody's Talking About Jamie" is the film adaptation of the award-winning West End musical about Jamie New (Max Harwood), a teen in a blue-collar English town dreaming of becoming a fierce, proud drag queen. His BFF Pritti (Lauren Patel) and loving mum (Sarah Lancashire) shower him with support as drag legend Miss Loco Chanelle (Richard E. Grant) mentors him toward his stage debut. But it's not all rainbows for Jamie as his unsupportive dad (Ralph Ineson) and an uninspired career advisor (Sharon Horgan) attempt to rain on his aspirations. In rousing musical numbers, Jamie and his community inspire one another to face adversity and step into the spotlight.

"Everybody's Talking About Jamie" will launch exclusively on Amazon Prime Video on September 17, 2021 in over 240 countries and territories.


Drive-in Movies

Frameline45 will feature four Drive-in screenings — one at Concord's West Wind Solano Drive-In (1611 Solano Way), and three at San Francisco's Fort Mason Flix (2 Marina Blvd.).

"Fanny: The Right to Rock"
Thursday, June 10 at 9 p.m. PDT
DIR Bobbi Jo Hart 2021 | Canada
West Wind Solano Drive-In, Concord | Also streaming
Deemed "one of the most important female bands in American rock" by David Bowie in Rolling Stone, Fanny kicked down the door for women musicians by being the first all-woman rock band to release an album with a major record company. As the band members reunite to record new music, we follow Fanny's trailblazing rise and unfortunate plateau mired by sexism, racism, and homophobia.

"Potato Dreams of America"
Tuesday, June 15 at 9 p.m. PDT
DIR Wes Hurley | USA
Fort Mason Flix, San Francisco | Also streaming
A wonderful blend of camp, melodrama, and earnest coming-of-age fable, Wes Hurley's semi-autobiographical new film is the charmingly wild tale of young Potato, a sensitive closeted kid in the splintering Soviet Union whose only joy is watching pirated American movies. Desperate for escape, his mother Lena becomes a mail-order bride, and the two set sail for America to live with her eccentric new husband on a strange and beautiful adventure.

"Summer of 85 (Été 85)"
Wednesday, June 16 at 9 p.m. PDT
DIR François Ozon | France
In French and English with English subtitles
Fort Mason Flix, San Francisco
Two teenage boys find themselves fatefully linked together following a boating accident in this sun-kissed tale of summer flings, first love, and the thin line between passion and obsession.

With a soundtrack featuring hits from The Cure and Bananarama, the latest from French provocateur and Frameline Award winner François Ozon takes a sexy, nostalgic trip back to the mid-1980s on the Normandy Coast.

"Ailey"
Thursday, June 19 at 9 p.m. PDT
DIR Jamila Wignot | USA
Fort Mason Flix, San Francisco
In this special screening to mark Juneteenth, the life and work of genius choreographer Alvin Ailey take center stage. Charting his trajectory from dance student to globally lauded creative force to his untimely death from AIDS in 1989, this expansive documentary weaves in candid testimonials from the artist's closest collaborators with breathtaking dance footage from his most revelatory work. Showcasing one of the 20th century's singular Black artists, Ailey celebrates the enduring legacy of his work while illuminating his against-the-odds achievements for a new generation.


In-Person Screenings

Theatres are back! Frameline will be hosting a handful of regular, in-person screenings at both the Castro Theatre and the Roxie Theater. Some of these films will not be available for streaming and will be exclusively screened at these two iconic San Francisco cinemas.

"Genderation"
Sunday, June 20 at 3 p.m. PDT
DIR Monika Treut | Germany
Roxie Theater, San Francisco
Twenty years after the queer classic Gendernauts (Frameline23) illuminated the shifting nature of gender through the eyes and lives of unapologetic, iconic San Franciscans, director Monika Treut returns to see where life has led her original pioneering subjects. "Genderation" finds Annie Sprinkle, Sandy Stone, Susan Stryker, Stafford, and Max Wolf Valerio still breaking the mold as gender visionaries, even as they grapple with a changing city and the challenges of aging in America.

"Baloney"
Sunday, June 20 at 6 p.m. PDT
DIR Joshua Guerci | USA
Roxie Theater, San Francisco
Come experience titillating and charming story behind San Francisco's first and only all-male gay revue. A melding of theater, dance, and burlesque, Baloney has become a nightlife staple, interrogating the local, modern queer experience with humor and fantasy. In-depth interviews with the co-creators and their colorful, sultry cast provide engaging insight into the world of Baloney's tantalizing and hilarious performances.

"Fun in Shorts" (Shorts)
Saturday, June 26 at 11 a.m. PDT
Castro Theatre, San Francisco
Need a lift? How about a sweet smile? What would you say to an actual laugh? Our signature selection of light-hearted, smile-inducing, joyful short films couldn't come soon enough after the year we've had. Everybody's welcome to have some FUN IN SHORTS!

  • "Coming Out" DIR Cressa Maeve Beer | USA
  • "Early to Rise: Episode 1" DIR Alec Cohen | USA
  • "From A to Q" DIR Emmalie El Fadli | UK
  • "How Moving" DIR Owen Thiele | USA
  • "Sunday Dinner" DIR Kevin Mead | USA
  • "The Test" DIR Jessica Smith | Australia
  • "Thank You for Being Here" DIR Elizabeth Archer | USA
  • "Virgin My Ass" DIR Adar Sigler | Israel
  • "The Wash (In Love)" DIR Ibon Hernando | Spain

    "Invisible"
    Saturday, June 26 at 3 p.m. PDT
    DIR T.J. Parsell | USA
    Castro Theatre, San Francisco
    Contemporary country music is finally coming out of the closet. Some of the greatest hits sung by the likes of Willie Nelson, Reba McEntire, Johnny Cash, and more are the work of gay women writing, producing, and persevering in a traditional corporate industry that requires most to keep their authentic selves secret. Featuring interviews with Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, and Pam Tillis, Invisible reveals these talented women and their singular voices at last.

    "Jump, Darling"
    Saturday, June 26 at 6 p.m. PDT
    DIR Phil Connell | Canada
    Castro Theatre, San Francisco
    Aspiring actor Russell tries to make it big on the Toronto drag scene, but after (literally) falling flat, he flees his rich boyfriend and holes up with his grandmother, played by the inimitable Cloris Leachman, in her final starring role. This affecting family drama, filmed in the bucolic Canadian wine country, also features real acts from the Toronto drag scene.

    "Homegrown" (Shorts)
    Sunday, June 27 at 11 a.m. PDT
    Castro Theatre, San Francisco
    Celebrate our Bay Area neighbors with these local documentaries. You'll meet Jok, the beloved children's scientist and leather-clad AIDS activist, as well as Penny, a Filipino immigrant and restaurateur working through the pandemic. Wherever you live, these six, unique portraits from our community are sure to resonate.

  • "Bayanihan & Resilience" DIR Jocelyn Tabancay Duffy | USA
  • "Beakman & Jok" DIR Kolmel W. Love | USA
  • "Blackness Is Everything" DIR Alba Roland Mejia | USA
  • "Dennis: The Man Who Legalized Cannabis" DIR Brandon Moore | USA
  • "Sensorium" DIR Elliot Mercer 2021 | USA
  • "Surviving Voices" DIR Jörg Fockele 2021 | USA

    "Firebird"
    Sunday, June 27 at 2:30 p.m. PDT
    DIR Peeter Rebane | UK/Estonia
    Castro Theatre, San Francisco
    Blending a Cold War thriller and a true story of a secret love, Firebird begins with the steamy passions of gay romance in an environment where expressing it is lethal. Young private Sergey (Tom Prior) begins a passionate affair with ambitious fighter pilot Roman (Oleg Zagorodnii) while stationed at an air force training base. When they are reunited years later, their reignited love risks being revealed to the Soviet military.

    "No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics"
    Sunday, June 27 at 6:30 p.m. PDT
    DIR Vivian Kleiman | USA
    Castro Theatre, San Francisco
    From Tom of Finland to "Dykes to Watch Out For," comics and zines have been firmly embedded in queer culture since before Stonewall, through the AIDS epidemic, and continuing through today's modern obsession with superheroes. But this deeply queer artform finally gets its true moment in the limelight thanks to Peabody Award winner Vivian Kleiman's extensive documentary that explores over 70 years of history.


    Virtual Screenings

    Ranging from narrative features and documentaries, to episodics and shorts programs, Frameline45 will feature over 50 virtual screenings, including 16 world premieres, nine international premieres, nine North American premieres, and seven US premieres.

    Highlights include:

    "Language Lessons"
    DIR Natalie Morales | USA
    In English and Spanish with English subtitles
    Spanish lessons lead to emotional revelations in this richly touching, character-driven first feature. Well-off Oakland resident Adam (Mark Duplass) is at first put out by his husband's gift of online sessions with cheerful Costa Rican Cariño (director Natalie Morales), but a shocking event right before their second tutorial, followed by some mysterious bruises on Cariño's face, lead to conversations that go deeper than the difference between "ser" and "estar."

    "Charlatan"
    DIR Agnieszka Holland | Czech Republic/Ireland/Poland/Slovakia
    In Czech and German with English subtitles
    Based on the incredible true story of Czech herbalist and healer Jan Mikolášek, "Charlatan" is veteran filmmaker Agnieszka Holland's handsomely filmed biopic of a little-known icon of 20th century Europe. With great skill and a vivid, cinematic eye, Holland weaves the personal and the professional in Mikolášek's life, from teenage flashbacks and his passionate clandestine affair with his hunky assistant to his trials under the Communist regime in the 1950s.

    "Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man the Waters"
    DIRS Rosalynde LeBlanc & Tom Hurwitz | USA
    This exhilarating and moving dance documentary celebrates the work of acclaimed choreographer Bill T. Jones, who with his partner Arnie Zane founded their iconic dance company in New York during the ravages of AIDS. As a young dance troupe mounts a new production of one of the company's signature pieces, we witness a new generation discovering the strength of art in the face of tragedy.

    "Prognosis: Notes on Living"
    DIRS Debra Chasnoff & Kate Stilley Steiner | USA
    In what was perhaps her bravest act as a filmmaker, Academy Award-winning documentarian and LGBTQ+ activist Debra Chasnoff (It's Elementary, Frameline Award) responded to her diagnosis of stage-4 breast cancer by turning the camera on herself to chronicle the journey that lay ahead of her. Clear-eyed and unsentimental, intimate and honest, the film is an unforgettable, present-tense diary of a life fiercely lived. This world premiere free screening will stream on Saturday, June 19 beginning at 4 p.m. PDT, followed by a live conversation and Q&A with the filmmaking team. An encore screening with recorded Q&A will replay on Saturday, June 26 at 4 p.m. PDT. Reserved ticket required.

    "Summertime"
    DIR Carlos López Estrada | USA
    In an increasingly gentrified LA, one question gets more and more difficult to answer: How do you find a good burger at a decent prize? A poetry-infused valentine to Los Angeles in all its queer and BIPOC glory, director Carlos López Estrada delights with this sophomore effort. Slam poetry-style recitations erupt like musical numbers, as the film uses language to create a portrait of a changing Los Angeles populated by a generation demanding to enter adulthood on their own terms.

    "Nelly Queen: The Life and Times of José Sarra"
    DIR Joseph R. Castel | USA
    Pride parades, out politicians, the Imperial Courts: how many people know that the existence of all three have José Sarria to thank? This sweeping documentary follows the public personas and private losses that shaped the life of the unapologetic, influential, and often overlooked queen of San Francisco queer culture, history, and rights.

    "Swan Song"
    DIR Todd Stephens | USA
    Based on an outlandish true story, a flamboyant hairdresser (screen legend Udo Kier) escapes from his nursing home to come out of retirement for one last hairdo. When Pat is offered $25,000 to style his estranged friend at her funeral, it's an opportunity he can't pass up, forcing him to confront the demons of his past as well as the changes of his small Ohio town. Jennifer Coolidge, Linda Evans, and Michael Urie also star.

    "Ma Belle, My Beauty"
    DIR Marion Hill | USA
    In English and French with English subtitles
    The rolling vineyards and sun-washed French villages may be ancient, but the shifting dynamics of a polyamorous relationship are fresh and tingling in this contemporary romance set in the picturesque South of France. As newlywed Bertie struggles to adjust to country life, her husband encourages a visit from her American ex-girlfriend, hoping to recapture the free-spirited relationship that they all used to share. New and old intimacies and complications ensue in this luminous Sundance award winner. Proudly sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

    For a complete lineup of virtual screenings, visit www.frameline.org


    Focus on Taiwan

    "Focus on Taiwan" is supported by Ministry of Culture, Taiwan (R.O.C.) and Taiwan Academy in Los Angeles

    "As We Like It"
    DIRS Chen Hung-i & Muni Wei | Taiwan
    In Mandarin with English subtitles
    Boasting an all-female cast, this queer spin on one of the Bard's classics is a striking reworking of Shakespeare's comedy "As You Like It," involving cross-dressing, kidnapping, mysterious disappearances, and family feuds. With her uncle poised to control the family business, Rosalind sets out to locate her missing father with the help of her cousin Celia. But things get complicated when Rosalind, disguised as a man, finds herself falling for the charming Orlando.

    "Dear Tenant"
    DIR Cheng Yu-Chieh | Taiwan
    In Mandarin with English subtitles
    Winner of three awards at Taiwan's prestigious Golden Horse Film Festival, "Dear Tenant" is a moving portrait of unconditional love, gay identity, and the ties that bind — centering around a trio of people who form their own chosen family within the confines of their apartment building. Blending a slowburn family drama, courtroom intrigue, and an impassioned plea for LGBTQ+ equality, writer-director Cheng Yu-Chieh finds the perfect balance between a compassionate character study in the vein of Taiwanese master Edward Yang (Yi Yi) and a good old-fashioned tearjerker in this box office hit.

    "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"
    DIR Arvin Chen | Taiwan
    In Mandarin with English subtitles
    Come rediscover this infectiously charming Taiwanese queer classic from director Arvin Chen, a graduate of UC Berkeley and former Bay Area resident. "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" takes a breezy and playful look at modern love as it clashes against longstanding tradition. This ensemble comedy centers around family man Wei-chung, whose long-repressed gay urges are reawakened by a young flight attendant named Thomas.

    "Taiwan Shorts"
    Frameline is pleased to present a free program of shorts showcasing Taiwan's next generation in film talent. Catch a brief document of Taipei Pride 2020; a coming-of-age tale about self-discovery, dating apps, and first crushes; a sweet portrait of modern millennial queer life; and a cruisy short set during martial law in 1979.

  • "Hidden" DIR Kuo Hsuan-Chi | Taiwan
  • "Taiwan Pride for the World" DIR Larry Tung | Taiwan
  • "Undercurrent" DIR Weng Yu-Tong | Taiwan
  • "Unnamed" DIRS Gao Hong & Chang Chun-Yu | Taiwan


    Frameline Talks

    Frameline has curated a series of exclusive talks supported by Variety, set to debut over the course of the Festival's 18 days. These talks will be free to stream nationwide through Frameline's Facebook and YouTube channels, as well as their streaming platform.

    Highlights include:

    "Youth on Screens"
    Thursday, June 17 at 5:30 p.m. PDT
    Television is currently on the forefront of queer representation and identity expression, and leading the charge are images of young people. Each generation challenges what is taken for granted by the previous. Currently, through the medium of television, ideas of gender and sexuality are being expanded right in our living rooms. Moderated by IndieWire's Jude Dry, panelists include Jordan Seamon (HBO's "We Are Who We Are"), Daniel Barnz (Co-creator of HBO Max's "Generation"), Javicia Leslie (CW's "Batwoman"), and Crystal Moselle (HBO's "Betty").

    "Two-Spirit: Indigenous Voices in Queer Cinema"
    Saturday, June 19 at 5:30 p.m. PDT
    Indigenous filmmakers and storytellers explore the complexities of gender and sexuality as seen in spiritual traditions and creation stories. This talk will center on creatives exploring the boundaries of gender expression and sexual identity in the context of Indigenous tradition, culture, and belief. Panelists will explore the importance of Two-Spirit Native representation onscreen that centers an Indigenous point of view. Featuring a chance to reconnect with Sherente, the focus of Frameline45 documentary Being Thunder. Proudly sponsored by Gilead.

    "Sugar in My Bowl: African American Representation in Queer Cinema"
    Sunday, June 20 at 5:30 p.m. PDT
    The African American queer experience is abundant, varied, multi-dimensional, and also underrepresented in queer cinema, festivals, and media. This panel is a conversation aimed at taking stock of where queer African American representation is. This is also an opportunity to look forward and chart the future of African American representation in queer cinema. This conversation is the beginning of a longer process to create the groundwork to support queer Black filmmakers in telling queer Black feature-length stories. Panelists include Clay Cane, Brittani Nichols, Elegance Bratton, Kat Blaque, Maisie Richardson Sellers, and Nathan Hale Williams. Variety's Film & Media Reporter, Angelique Jackson, will serve as moderator.

    "Women in Rock"
    Friday, June 25 at 5:30 p.m. PDT
    A talk with talent and producers from Frameline45 docs "FANNY: The Right to Rock" and "Invisible" focusing on the unbelievable talent of women in the music industry and the struggle for recognition. Fanny kicked down the door for women musicians by being the first all-woman rock band to release an album with a major record company. Invisible highlights the work of gay women behind some of country music's greatest hits. These music powerhouses will talk about persevering in the corporate music industry that requires most to keep their authentic selves secret. Proudly sponsored by National Center for Lesbian Rights.

    "Wilson Cruz in Conversation with Raffy Ermac"
    Saturday, June 26 at 5:30 p.m. PDT
    Few actors have pushed LGBTQ+ representation on television as far as Wilson Cruz. From his breakthrough role as Rickie Vasquez on the 1990s teen drama "My So-Called Life," Cruz was the first openly gay actor to play an openly gay role on a TV series. In the years since 'Rickie' and Cruz made their mark on a generation of queer youth, he has carried his talent and activism into recurring roles on "13 Reasons Why," "Party of Five," and "Noah's Arc," as well as executive producing the doc series "Out on Television." As 'Dr. Hugh Culber' on "Star Trek: Discovery," things have come full circle, in a sense, for the actor playing a happily partnered gay man and father figure to a non-binary human close to 30 years after his indelible debut. In conversation with Raffy Ermac, editor-in-chief of the LGBTQ+ youth-oriented entertainment website Pride, Cruz traces his television legacy from 'Rickie' in 1994 to showcasing queer representation all the way into the 23rd century as 'Dr. Culber.'

    For a complete lineup of Frameline Talks, including a list of participants, visit www.frameline.org/talks.


    Frameline Awards

    Frameline45 will hand out two sets of awards at the closing of the festival — the First Feature Award and the Audience Awards.

    For over 20 years, Frameline has presented the annual juried First Feature Award to a notable narrative feature from an emerging voice in LGBTQ+ cinema. Previous groundbreaking winners have included "Something Must Break" (dir Ester Martin Bergsmark), "Head On" (dir Ana Kokkinos), "Facing Mirrors" (dir Negar Azarbayjani), "Undertow" (dir Javier Fuentes-León), and "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (dir John Cameron Mitchell). Since 2020, Frameline is proud to partner with the San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle to jury this award.

    In another annual award tradition, audiences can weigh in on their favorites of the festival by voting for Frameline's Audience Awards. For information on how to vote, visit www.frameline.org.

    Frameline 2021

    This story is part of our special report titled Frameline 2021. Want to read more? Here's the full list.

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