News Briefs: 3 young queer filmmakers awarded grants at Frameline

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday July 5, 2023
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Emilio Subia, left, joined Daisy Friedman and Karina Dandashi in accepting awards and checks from the Colin Higgins Foundation and Frameline June 25 during the closing night of the San Francisco LGBTQ international film festival. Photo: Courtesy Colin Higgins Foundation
Emilio Subia, left, joined Daisy Friedman and Karina Dandashi in accepting awards and checks from the Colin Higgins Foundation and Frameline June 25 during the closing night of the San Francisco LGBTQ international film festival. Photo: Courtesy Colin Higgins Foundation

Three young queer filmmakers were each awarded $15,000 grants by the Colin Higgins Foundation and Frameline at the end of the international LGBTQ film festival in San Francisco.

The Colin Higgins Youth Filmmaker Grants totaled $45,000 and will support the awardees' future film projects, a news release stated.

Daisy Friedman, Karina Dandashi, and Emilio Subia were presented with an award and a check at the ceremony at the Castro Theatre on June 25, the closing day of the Frameline festival. The winners' short films were also showcased during the festival, the release stated.

"We are deeply honored and could not be more proud to be partnered with Frameline in handing out these youth filmmaker grants," stated James Cass Rogers, president of the Colin Higgins Foundation.

Friedman, 19, directed "As You Are." A chronically ill writer originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Friedman is a queer writer and director now based out of New York City, the release stated. She currently attends Barnard College of Colombia University where she is a film studies major. "As You Are" is her directorial debut. She is interested in exploring the complex relationship between embodiment, disfigurement, and desirability of underrepresented communities through film.

Dandashi, 24, directed "Cousins." She is a queer Arab American, born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The release noted that her films explore nuances in identity through the intersection of family, religion, and culture in Southwest Asian and North African and Muslim communities in America. "Cousins" was recently acquired by The New Yorker, the release stated. She was featured in Marie Claire's inaugural "Creators" issue as one of the "Top 21 Creators to Watch" in 2022.

Subia, 24, is from Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and is based in Brooklyn, New York. A gay man, he directed his short film debut, "Ñaños" (2022). The release noted his work offers challenging and disruptive perspectives about family, identity, immigration, and class, focusing on the Latin American experience. "Ñaños" premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and has screened at other national and international film festivals where it won awards, according to the release.

Higgins, after whom the grant and foundation are named, was a gay man and acclaimed screenwriter and director responsible for such classic films as "Harold and Maude" (1971), "9 to 5" (1980), and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" (1982). After being diagnosed with HIV in 1985, he founded the eponymous foundation as a means of supporting LGBTQ+ youth to help them achieve their dreams, the release noted. Higgins died of AIDS-related complications in 1988 at the age of 47.

"Colin was a consummate filmmaker who wanted to help gay youth succeed," Rogers stated. "These grants are a perfect fit for his foundation. His memory will live on through these extraordinary filmmakers."

For more information on the Colin Higgins Foundation, go to

It's 'cats and dogs' at SF Disney museum

The Walt Disney Family Museum, located at 104 Montgomery Street in the Presidio in San Francisco, has opened its latest major special exhibition, "Disney Cats & Dogs."

According to a news release, this traveling exhibition originates from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, the Disney Archives, and Disney Japan. It is in conjunction with this year's celebration of The Walt Disney Company's 100th anniversary.

The exhibition explores the innovation of Walt Disney Animation Studios' animal-inspired animation and storytelling through the decades, and the massive undertaking involved bringing the iconic cats and dogs to life on screen.

Tickets, which include the main museum and the "Dogs & Cats" exhibit, are $30 for adults, $25 for people over 65 and students with a valid ID, and $20 for youth ages 6-17 (kids under 12 must be accompanied by an adult).

The exhibition runs through January 14.

For more information, visit

Bong-o-bingo at SF cannabis club

Mission Cannabis Club in San Francisco will hold bong-o-bingo Saturday, July 8, from 6 to 9 p.m. at 2442 Mission Street.

A news release stated that "it will be a magical night of bingo, drag, and cannabis prizes" with hosts Brandelicious, Thee Pristine Condition, and DJ Dank, aka Dan Karkoska.

The event is sponsored by Grizzly Peak, Punch Extracts, and Heavy Hitters.

Admission is $15 plus a $10 purchase from the dispensary, which gets people a bingo card and raffle tickets. Extra boards and tickets are $5 each, the release noted. Admission will be at the door - cash or Venmo accepted.

"Bong-o-bingo is a great time to relax, get high with your friends, win weed, and help create the budding cannabis nightlife community," Karkoska stated.

For more information about Mission Cannabis Club, go to

CA State Library awards ethnic media grants

The California State Library has awarded $8.1 million in grants to ethnic media outlets and media collaboratives serving communities impacted by hate incidents and hate crimes.

The Bay Area Reporter is one of the recipients, and will receive $100,000, according to a news release.

A joint venture with the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs, the grants aim to raise awareness of the Stop the Hate program administered by the California Department of Social Services. The Stop the Hate program helps survivors of hate incidents and hate crimes - and works to prevent those incidents from happening in the first place, the release stated.

"It's important that multilingual communities know we, as a state, are taking steps to address hate," stated Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. "Partnerships with trusted ethnic media outlets help us get the word out about the new or expanded resources available."

As the B.A.R. reported last week, state Attorney General Rob Bonta released his department's annual hate crime report that showed a 20% increase in reported hate incidents from 2021 to 2022. Specifically, there were 2,120 reported hate crime events in total in California - up 20.2% from the reported 1,763 events in 2021, Bonta said.

Reported hate events increased in the gay male, lesbian, and trans communities, the paper reported.

B.A.R. publisher Michael Yamashita, a gay man, said the grant is timely.

"The recently released state hate crimes report confirms what we already perceive and are experiencing: there is a sharp increase in violent speech, behavior, and legislation targeting women and Asian, Black, Latino, Pacific Islander, Native American, Arab, Slavic, and LGBTQ people," Yamashita stated. "It's important that California supports local community media to raise awareness of communities affected by hate crimes and hate incidents, as well as information about resources and services, and community-based organizations as part of the effort to combat hate crimes and incidents by reporting cases."

The latest funding is the second round in the grant program, the release stated. In May 2022, the state library awarded nearly $6 million in grants to 50 ethnic media outlets and collaboratives. The B.A.R. was part of that funding cycle as well.

Individual outlets received $100,000 in funding for 12-month projects. Ethnic media collaboratives received up to $825,000 in funding for 18-month projects.

Other LGBTQ publications that received funding were the Los Angeles Blade, $99,806, and Outword magazine (Sacramento), $99,990, the release stated.

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