Frameline forecast: Fab!

  • by Roberto Friedman
  • Tuesday April 30, 2019
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Vita Sackville-West (Gemma Arterton) and Virginia Woolf (Elizabeth Debicki) are literary lovers in director Chanya Button's "Vita & Virginia," coming to Frameline 43. Photo: Courtesy Frameline
Vita Sackville-West (Gemma Arterton) and Virginia Woolf (Elizabeth Debicki) are literary lovers in director Chanya Button's "Vita & Virginia," coming to Frameline 43. Photo: Courtesy Frameline

Frameline 43, the San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, announced a dozen of its highest-profile programs coming this summer, June 20-30, to San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland. The announced attractions include Opening Night, Closing Night and Centerpiece selections, found below. The complete Frameline 43 program will be announced on May 21.

Frameline Director of Exhibition & Programming Paul Struthers selected 12 films to announce before the full program launch. "We have curated a Festival that really has films about and for all of the LGBTQ+ communities," Struthers said. "These 12 features offer a perfect appetizer for what Frameline 43 has in store. We will be screening over 170 stories from all over the world, including award-winning titles, exciting world premieres, and very special presentations."

Opening Night film will be "Vita & Virginia" (June 20), directed by Chanya Button. Frameline says, "Sensational star turns by Elizabeth Debicki as Virginia Woolf and Gemma Arterton as Vita Sackville-West bring to dazzling, erotic life one of the great lesbian love affairs of the 20th century in this enchanting blend of literary biography and romantic intrigue." Isabella Rossellini turns up in a supporting role as Vita's mother. Woolf is thought to have used her lover Sackville-West as the muse for her novel "Orlando." Premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. Opening Night Gala will be at Terra Gallery.

Closing Night film will be "Gay Chorus Deep South" (June 30), directed by David Charles Rodrigues. "To combat the reemergence of anti-LGBTQ+ laws and hate crimes brought upon by the Trump era, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus boldly toured areas of the southern United States, bringing their message of love and inclusion for everyone. Fueled by fantastic music, this dynamic documentary captures the heart and soul of a contemporary civil rights movement." Premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Closing Night Party will be at Oasis.

Centerpiece Presentations include the World Premiere of "Sid & Judy" (June 26), a documentary directed by Stephen Kijak. "June 2019 marks 50 years since the death of the extravagantly talented and tragically short-lived entertainer Judy Garland, whose perseverance and powerful charisma have made her a gay icon for generations. This revelatory and poignant new portrait, rich with spectacular film clips and rare concert footage, is told through the memoirs, recently published, of the man who, for a tumultuous decade, was her confidant, producer, and husband, Sid Luft."

"Before You Know It" (June 24), directed by Hannah Pearl Utt. "Exceptionally funny, smart, and heartfelt, 'BYKI' welcomes us into the eccentric Gurner family home, perched atop their business, a community theater in downtown NYC. Type-A lesbian Rachel's responsibilities as the stage manager of both their performances and private lives have kept her from having her own life." With performances by Judith Light, Mandy Patinkin, and Alec Baldwin. Premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

"Temblores" ("Tremors") (June 25), directed by Jayro Bustamante. "When confident, sophisticated Pablo reveals that he is going to leave his wife and children to live with the man he loves, his affluent evangelical family in Guatemala is ripped apart." Premiered at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival.

"A Luv Tale: The Series" (June 27), directed by Kim Oyegan, written and created by Sidra Smith. "This Harlem-set episodic series follows four stunning queer women of color as they navigate their friendships, love lives, and artistic careers." Cast includes Vanessa Williams and Leon.

"Bit" (June 22), directed by Brad Michael Elmore. "A summer vacation in LA quickly turns into a fight to survive for Laurel (Nicole Maines from CBS' 'Supergirl'), a transgender teenage girl who falls in with a glamorous quartet of queer feminist vampires."

Scene from director Lucio Castros End of the Century, set in Barcelona. Photo: Courtesy Frameline  

"End of the Century" (June 21 & 29), directed by Lucio Castro. In Barcelona, we see "the relationship between handsome Ocho and Javi over decades." Premiered at the New Directors/New Films Festival in NYC.

"Kinky Boots: The Musical" (June 22), directed by Jerry Mitchell & Brett Sullivan. World premiere screening of the Tony & Olivier Award-winning musical in performance from London's Adelphi Theatre. With a book by Harvey Fierstein and original songs by Cyndi Lauper, stars Killian Donnelly as Charlie and Matt Henry as Lola, the drag queen who saves the day.

"Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts" (June 25), directed by Nick Zeig-Owens, a "behind-the-scenes expos� of 'RuPaul's Drag Race' star and country music songstress Trixie Mattel." Premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Trixie Mattel (Brian Firkus) will appear for Q&A following the screening.

"You Don't Nomi" (June 27), directed by Jeffrey McHale. Peaches Christ hosts this "reassessment of a Hollywood disaster, Paul Verhoeven's 'Showgirls.'" Premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.

"Kattumaram" (June 23 & 27), directed by Swarnavel Eswaran. "In a small Indian village ravaged by a tsunami, local schoolteacher Anandhi refuses to be married off, until a new friendship with a fellow female teacher."

Watch these pages for more to come on the world's longest-running and largest showcase of queer cinema.