Frameline 2018 99, Mapplethorpe
Frameline 2018 99, Mapplethorpe

10 Films We Can’t Wait to See at San Francisco’s Frameline 2018

Frameline, San Francisco’s LGBTQ film festival, recently announced its full slate for this year’s 42nd annual event, running June 14-24. The Frameline 2018 lineup includes a handful of projects already getting buzz thanks to their creators or subjects. But in addition to those, we wanted to highlight 10 other groundbreaking films covering queer stories we rarely see on the silver screen.

These Frameline 2018 films are already getting pre-festival buzz

On the narrative side, there’s Mapplethorpe, a biopic about the transgressive gay artist, played by Matt Smith and produced by Eliza Dushku, (Buffy, Bring It On); Ideal Home, starring Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan as a bickering gay couple who unexpectedly adopt an orphaned relative; and Man in an Orange Shirt, a BBC drama about two interconnected gay love stories set in post-WWII London and the modern day.

As for documentaries, there’s Believer, a documentary about the gay allyship of Imagine Dragons’ Mormon-born lead singer Dan Reynolds; Every Act of Life, a star-studded retelling of the life of prolific gay playwright Terrence McNally; McQueen, a retrospective of legendary fashion designer Alexander McQueen; and The Drag Roast of Heklina, featuring local queens and a few Drag Race contestants talking smack about the San Francisco drag legend.

Here are 10 other Frameline 2018 films you should definitely see:

1. Mario

Two professional soccer players and newfound roommates who both play for the same Swiss team end up falling for one another, and a scandal threatens to break out, both on- and off-field. Will they deny their love or start playing by their own rules? Either way, the action is as tense as a penalty kick.

And if you’re a sports lover, check out these two other Frameline 2018 films: The Ice King, a documentary about John Curry, the gay 1970s ice skater who helped transformed the sport into the expressive ballet it is today, and Alone in the Game, a doc about the hardships of being an LGBTQ athlete.

2. Hard Paint

Pedro lives an isolated life in a dead-end town working as a webcam performer whose schtick is smearing glow-in-the-dark paint on his slender body. Poor and facing a serious criminal charge, he becomes unhinged when he discovers another cam performing copying his act. This sexy examination of Brazilian queer city life won the Teddy Award for queer film at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival.

3. Man Made

Quick, name a film about trans men.

You either answered Albert Nobbs orBoys Don’t Cry or didn’t name one at all because so few films about trans men exist. That’s why this documentary about trans men in the world’s only all-transgender bodybuilding competition is so groundbreaking. Intimate portraits show us a handful of brave trans men striving toward their masculine ideals while meeting the challenges of love and family in transphobic America.

4. Unstoppable Feat: The Dances of Ed Mock

Among the scores of brilliant queers stolen by the HIV epidemic is Ed Mock, one of the most innovative choreographers you’ve never heard of. Known for his playful, improvisational, gender-bending, genre-defying work, this homage to a lost master of modern dance includes interviews and performances with the man himself as well as those inspired by his work.

If you like this film, also check out When the Beat Drops, a documentary about “bucking,” a form of dance created by African American gay men in the South as a response to being excluded from participation in majorette routines, due to homophobia and societal pressure.

5. Moroni for President

Moroni for President, Frameline 2018 01

This Frameline 2018 documentary follows the unexpected story of Moroni Benally, a young, gay, Mormon university professor running to become the president of the Navajo Nation. But while Benally has progressive ideas pn how to address the Navajo’s poverty and lack of sovereignty, he lacks political experience and doesn’t know the native language spoken by voters. His quest is contrasted with that of two other gay Navajo political workers dancing with their sexual and tribal identities.

6. Retablo

Retablos are painted altarpieces that contain handcrafted clay figurines of relatives and neighbors. Noé is a revered creator of these religious artworks, but when he discovers his gentle teenage son Segundo having gay trysts, his anger, fear and confusion belie the violence and exclusion Segundo may face in their Catholic mountain village.

7. Riot

Everyone knows about Stonewall, but fewer people know about the 1978 Australian equivalent. During the first-ever Sydney Gay Mardi Gras street celebration, police brutalized and arrested partygoers, planting the seeds for a potent political movement. This film recounts that story as one gay activist tries to unite the gays who crave societal acceptance and those who want to overthrow the government.

8. Everything Is Free

Everything is Free, Frameline 2018 02

Latinx YouTube comic actor Brian Jordan Alvarez makes his directorial debut playing a gay American painter whose idyllic escape to a Colombian town gets complicated when he hooks up with his friend’s younger brother. Alvarez smartly handles the sex and its consequences in a fresh, surprising way that defies what you’ve come to expect from gay coming-of-age tales.

9. Nothing to Lose

Slender and muscular men dominate gay visual culture, so this documentary about the plus-sized queer Australian dance company Force Majeure marks a big, bold change in our conceptions of beauty and desire. The performers, some who lack any formal training, express their lived experiences through surprisingly sensual and emotive dances that’ll leave you moved and feeling more of your own bodily desires.

10. Malila the Farewell Flower

The last gay film we saw out of Thailand was Tropical Malady, a surreal 2004 romance. So we’re delighted to finally get another one 15 years later. This film follows the slowly blossoming romance of a dying Buddhist flower sculptor and his old friend whose daughter and marriage have both died. It’s a bit heavy, but the understated performances and hallucinatory camera work will leave you moved as the film reaches its cathartic conclusion.

And a Bonus Film: Buddies

Buddies, Frameline 2018 03

The first full-length film about HIV ever created, Frameline 2018 is resurrecting this indie masterpiece that hasn’t been seen in nearly 30 years. In it, David, a 25-year-old yuppie, becomes the volunteer buddy of Robert, an HIV-positive 32-year-old gay activist whose friends and family have all abandoned him. This is lost treasure of gay cinema said to be as moving now as the day it was made — don’t miss it.

What are you looking forward to at Frameline 2018? Sound off in the comments.

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