Frameline48: Juneteenth celebration, conversation with Lena Waithe, and awards

  • by Brian Bromberger
  • Monday June 3, 2024
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'Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero' and 'Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story' <br>documentaries lead Frameline's 2024 screenings.
'Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero' and 'Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story'
documentaries lead Frameline's 2024 screenings.

Frameline, the longest-running LGBTQ film festival in the world, kicks off its 48th film festival from June 19-25 with several major changes, including no screenings at the temporarily closed Castro Theatre now undergoing major renovations.

Instead of the traditional opening night film, Frameline will sponsor the first-ever Castro neighborhood celebration of Juneteenth with a free outdoor event, a special film, and a Block Party featuring an evening of music and drag performances from Reparations, curated by Nicki Jizz, the winner of the Drag Queen of the Year pageant. The whole evening will celebrate the intersection of Blackness and queerness.

There will be a screening of the documentary, "Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero," which profiles the openly gay hip hop artist on his 2022 tour. It's currently being shown on HBO Max (and is reviewed on our March 12 issue).

Allegra Madsen, Frameline's new Executive Director, issued this statement about the film.

"As a queer Black artist, Lil Nas X embodies so much of what this year's Festival is about: meeting the cultural moment and using art as a means of expression, connection, creating lasting change, and celebrating queer joy."

Multi-talent Lena Waithe  

Awards and talks
Frameline will also present "A Conversation with Lena Waithe" at The Herbst Theater on June 29. Waithe is the Emmy-Award winning and Tony-nominated writer, producer, and actor behind the hit series and films like "The Chi," "Master of None," and "Twenties." The conversation will be moderated by Jazz Tangcay, "Variety" Senior Artisans Editor.

The night will also include Waithe being presented with the Variety Creative Conscience Award which "honors an individual in the entertainment world who personifies the industry's dedication to humanitarian, cultural, and charitable causes.

The Out in the Silence Award is an annual honor conferred to an outstanding film project that highlights brave acts of visibility, especially in places where such acts are rare and unexpected, because of the dominant systems that make it difficult for LGBTQ people to live authentic lives.

Underwritten by longtime film community members Dean Hammer and Joe Wilson, this year's award, worth $5000, goes to the documentary "Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story," about the 1960s Black trans R & B/soul singer. The film will screen at Frameline48.

Frameline is also uniting with the Colin Higgins Foundation in announcing the recipients of the 2024 Colin Higgins Youth Foundation Grant, first created in 2023. Eligibility includes self-identifying as LGBTQ filmmakers, currently residing in the U.S., and recipients are under the age of 25. This year's winners are New York-based filmmakers Farah Jabir and Leaf Lieber. They will each receive $15,000 to support their future film projects.

The late Colin Higgins (1941-1988) was an acclaimed screenwriter and director of the classic cult film "Harold and Maude," but also the enduring comedy "9 to 5," and the musical "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."

Diagnosed with HIV in 1985, he founded the Colin Higgins Foundation as a means of supporting LGBTQ youth for underserved communities by helping to fund programs and organizations that foster and build their leadership skills and empowerment, such as The Trevor Project, The Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force, En Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement. Since 1988, the Foundation has awarded over 660 grants totaling over $5.8 million.

Filmmakers Farah Jabir and Leaf Lieber  

"This year's Festival is centered on the power film has to create change and shape our cultural moment. Youth filmmakers, like Farah Jabir and Leaf Lieber, are not only vital members of the queer film community, but their work speaks volumes about the importance of championing emerging voices in an ever-shifting political and artistic landscape," comments Madsen.

Jabir is a Southeast Asian, South Asian and Arab independent and commercial New York filmmaker. She is a fellow at Film Independent's Producing Lab. She is "most called to humanistic stories, centering people on society's fringes and communal filmmaking outside of linguistic, genre and geographic limitations." She travels to London and Kuala Lumpur, where her pet rooster lives. Her short film, "Kasbi" will screen at Frameline48.

Lieber, originally from Kauai, Hawaii, is now a writer/director based in New York. "Lieber's visceral worlds often exist at the intersection of surreal fantasy and stark reality, often tackling themes of grief, transformation, and queer identity," said a Frameline statement.

He's currently developing his debut feature film script. "It's especially meaningful to receive the Colin Higgins Youth Grant, because my late mother's favorite film was 'Harold and Maude,' said Lieber. "I can't help but think of her during this time."

His movie "Burrow" will screen at Frameline48.

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