It’s that time of year again—SF gets all abuzz as Frameline Film Festival, the oldest film festival dedicated to LGBT programming, crushes it with an amazing roster of films.
My picks as a cineaste and devoted SF-resident are below, but again they are based on what I think is going to be great and are merely a reflection of my rarified individual tastes. My ultimate recommendation is the same I would give someone at a restaurant—read the whole menu and pick what speaks to you, unless the experienced server says you can’t live without the duck leg ragu.
VALENCIA: I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love Michelle Tea. I have been waiting to see this film for a year now and am obsessed with how much great work Michelle does for the community in addition to her literary contributions. Based on the novel by Tea, this film features 18 segments from different directors and casts. This multiple interpretative view of the novel is going to make for one exciting, innovative film. Valencia will also feature many of your favorite SF queer icons including Lynn Breedlove, Annie Danger, and Michelle Tea herself. FYI: every screening will also be just one giant pick-up opportunity. Directors of the film include: Hilary Goldberg, Silas Howard, Cheryl Dunye, Aubree Bernier-Clarke, Lares Feliciano, Dia Felix, Alexa Inkeles, Jerry Lee, Peter Anthony, Sharon Barnes, Cary Cronenwett, Bug Davidson, Samuael Topiary, Olivia Parriott, Jill Soloway, Courtney Trouble, Michelle Lawler, Sara St. Martin, Chris Vargas and Greg Youmans.
C.O.G: Based on a short story from David Sedaris’ collection Naked, this film about a yale graduate who leaves town to become an apple picker should be a ripe black comedy.
Interior. Leather Bar.: The Rumpus interviewed SF-based Travis Mathews, who has done really interesting documentaries about queer men in their bedrooms. Here he sets out to reconstruct the “lost” footage from William Friedkin’s film Cruising; the footage was cut to avoid a rating of X. But it’s not just a reenactment of that footage, it’s a meta-exploration about what it means to make a film when there are still such strict policing on film ratings. Who gets to decide what is indecent and when? Featuring James Franco in case you thought you had something better to look at.
Reaching for the Moon: For the Elizabeth Bishop fans. You know who you are.
The Battle of amfAR: You may have to beat off every single gay man in San Francisco to get tix to this documentary about Dr. Mathilde Krim and Elizabeth Taylor’s contributions to funding AIDS research. From Academy Award–winning directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (HOWL, The Celluloid Closet, Paragraph 175).
Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton: This documentary almost makes me weep for a time when SF was filled with and devoted to celebrating radical queers like James Broughton. Poet, director, Radical Faerie and charter member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Broughton knew how to seek pleasure and sustain it.
Codebreaker: Documentary for Alan Turing fans for sure.
Intersexion: One in 2,000 babies is born intersex; this documentary explores both the lives of those born intersex and the mostly terrible attitudes and conformities placed on them by our stupid binary world.
The New Black: Director Yoruba Richen brings us this much-needed documentary about the relationship between the African American and LGBT communities, particularly in the context of California’s Prop 8. Very excited to see this documentary.
A Self-Made Man: This doc holds the same name at one of my favorite Rumpus columns by Thomas McBee, and it’s similarly focused on how we create masculinity. The film focuses on Tony, a man who has devoted his life to working and mentoring trans and gender-variant kids and also providing support to their families.
Rebel: You think you’re a badass? Think again as you watch this documentary about Loreta Janeta Velazquez, a 19th century woman who altered her sex, ethniticy and identity in order to become a Confederate soldier.
Last Call at Maud’s: The 20th anniversary screening of this classic documentary about Maud’s, the longes-running lesbian bar in the U.S. which closed in 1989. This is back when bars were essential cultural havens for queers.
Joy! Portrait of a Nun: A documentary about Sister Missionary P. Delight and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Nuff said.
Kink: A very non-vanilla documentary produced by James Franco about the happenings of SF’s kink institution, the Armory, and the people who work there.
Turning: This doc takes the gorgeous songs of unclassifiable Antony Hegarty (of Antony and the Johnsons) and puts them alongside thirteen trans/gender-variang women on stage in their 2006 tour. Directed by artist Charles Atlas (The Legend of Leigh Bowery).
Obviously there are many more so just peruse the menu to see what you’re craving. See you in the dark!