10 Films We Can’t Wait to See at San Francisco’s Frameline Film Festival 2019
It’s that time of year again: Frameline 2019 is heading back to the Bay Area. Frameline, San Francisco’s renowned international LGBTQ film festival, has announced the slate for this year’s 43rd annual event, taking place June 20–30. Several of the Frameline 2019 films are projects already getting buzz thanks to their creators or subjects.
Last year saw more than 60,000 people come out for Frameline’s diverse slate of programming, from the Bay Area and across the globe. This year nearly 40 countries will be represented in the Frameline 2019 slate of films, from Argentina to Indonesia.
“Frameline is thrilled to return for our 43rd year, serving as a platform for the world’s finest in LGBTQ+ content. I’m always invigorated by the film artists who present a fresh slate of astounding storytelling each year that continues to educate and inspire us all,” says Frameline Executive Director Frances Wallace. “People question the place of film festivals in a now media-saturated culture, but the Festival is about communities: bringing everyone together to celebrate and expand our knowledge of the world around us, as well as ourselves.”
Here are 10 films we can’t wait to see at Frameline 2019:
1. Vita & Virginia (Opening Night)
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 — a shimmering costume drama that also features a strong supporting turn from Isabella Rossellini as Vita’s mother. As the two remarkably different novelists begin exploring each other’s minds and bodies, the relationship sparks a creative surge in Woolf, who uses her androgynous lover, Sackville-West, as the muse for one of her greatest novels, Orlando.
2. Gay Chorus Deep South (Closing Night)
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, joined by the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, bringing their message of love and inclusion for everyone. Juxtaposing chorus members’ modern-day encounters with historical perspectives, director David Charles Rodrigues chronicles this intense and inspirational journey. Fueled by fantastic music, this dynamic documentary captures the heart and soul of a contemporary civil rights movement.
3. Sid & Judy (Centerpiece Documentary)
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 — only recently published — of the man who, for a tumultuous decade, was her confidant, producer, and husband, Sid Luft.
4. Before You Know It (Centerpiece U.S. Feature)
Exceptionally funny, smart and heartfelt, Before You Know It 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. But sudden tragedy and the discovery that their presumed-dead mother is a soap opera star throw Rachel and her flighty sister Jackie into more than their usual chaos. Co-writers Jen Tullock and Hannah Pearl Utt star alongside Judith Light, Mandy Patinkin and Alec Baldwin in this winning comedy, which places the duo’s superb comic timing front and center.
5. Temblores (Tremors) (Centerpiece World Cinema)
When confident, sophisticated Pablo (Juan Pablo Olyslager) 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: soon Pablo’s conservative parents, wife, employer, pastor, and his entire world seem bent on reforming, “converting” or destroying the errant man. Jayro Bustamante’s (Ixcanul) powerful drama is both one man’s wrenching story and a searing commentary on the impact that religious and social prejudice still wreaks on queer lives.
6. A Luv Tale: The Series (Centerpiece Episodic)
Reminiscent of the classic ‘90s film Love Jones, this Harlem-set series from writer-creator Sidra Smith follows four stunning queer women of color as they navigate their friendships, love lives and artistic careers. Armed with a bomb soundtrack, starring sure-to-be new favorites and familiar faces like Vanessa Williams and Leon, this sexy show is a must watch.
7. Guest Artist
A misanthropic, gay, alcoholic New York City playwright (Jeff Daniels) descends upon a small town in Michigan to mount his new work but gets hung up at the train station when his driver, an aspiring writer, challenges his jaded outlook in this razor-sharp and moving adaptation of Daniels’ play. Over the course of a snowy Christmastime evening, the two generations face off, trading acerbic, witty dialogue while dissecting each other’s views on art and life.
8. Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts
This behind-the-scenes exposé of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars winner and country music songstress Trixie Mattel offers a glimpse into the backstage drama of a drag superstar. Moving Parts follows Trixie (aka Brian Firkus) through the controversial third season of All Stars, her musical world tour and the genesis of her popular Viceland series with partner in crime Katya Zamolodchikova. Hilarious, bittersweet and raw in equal measures, Moving Parts perfectly matches Trixie’s own persona as she candidly discusses her family, her childhood in rural Wisconsi, and the price of fame — which at times includes the loss of professional and personal relationships.
9. You Don’t Nomi
An enlightening, hilarious and highly entertaining examination of one of Hollywood’s most notorious films, Showgirls. Upon its release in 1995, Showgirls was maligned by critics and audiences alike, even receiving the dubious award for Worst Picture of the Decade from the Razzies. Is it a misunderstood masterwork, misogynist trash, unintentional camp or somehow a combination of all three? Peaches Christ joins a collection of critics, writers, and fans for this sensational tribute to one of San Francisco’s favorite movies.
10. Call Me By Your Name (With the San Francisco Symphony)
The San Francisco Symphony and Frameline invite you to a special pre-festival screening of Call Me By Your Name on Tuesday, June 18, at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. It’s 1983, and 17-year-old Elio is spending lazy days at his family’s summer villa in Italy. When he meets Oliver, a handsome American doctoral student, an unexpected bond grows that will alter their lives forever. An enchanting romance imbued with hauntingly beautiful original songs by singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens, don’t miss conductor George Stelluto and the SF Symphony performing this hypnotic score live to film on the big screen. More info here.