Frameline rolled out the full program lineup for the 47th San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival (Frameline47) emphasizing the interplay between past and present — both in terms of queer cinema history and the collective history of the LGBTQ+ community at large.
Stephen Kijak’s documentary Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed looks toward the past, painting an intimate portrait of the titular Golden Age of Hollywood icon, whose death from AIDS in 1985 forced a shift in the public perception of the pandemic. On the other hand, D. Smith’s urgent documentary Kokomo City, which centers four Black transgender sex workers and represents new boundary-pushing efforts in cinema being led by Trans creatives. “These bold efforts not only move the craft of cinema forward but underscore the pandemic of hateful violence devastating our communities today,” says Allegra Madsen, Director of Programming at Frameline.
In addition to examining queer and trans histories, Frameline47’s program spotlights the legacy and impact of LGBTQ+ cinema. “The pairing of Chasing Amy, Kevin Smith’s 1997 cult classic, with Sav Rodgers’ directorial debut, Chasing Chasing Amy, is a perfect encapsulation of not only this year’s Festival, but of what it means to be a queer filmmaker,” says Madsen. “How do filmmakers — and all of us — deal with our problematic cultural past when it was both so formative and so damaging? For queer people, there isn’t always a roadmap to follow. We’re charting our own paths, and the Frameline47 films explore this, no matter the genre.”
The lineup presents no shortage of laughs and messy queers behaving badly, as can be seen in films like Bottoms, Emma Seligman’s (Shiva Baby) American queer teen sex comedy about queer girls who start a fight club to gain popularity, which stars Rachel Sennott (Shiva Baby, Bodies Bodies Bodies) and Ayo Edebiri (“The Bear”, “Dickinson”); and Sebastián Silva’s darkly funny quasi-detective story, Rotting In The Sun, which stars Jordan Firstman (“Big Mouth”). “As queer people, we live full, robust lives. Sometimes that involves making bad choices — human choices,” Madsen notes. “It’s so important to laugh at ourselves. With the Frameline47 lineup, we capture the breadth of our queer lives, in all their beautiful — and messy — glory.”
Love stories also permeate the program: Babatunde Apalowo’s award-winning narrative feature All The Colours Of The World Are Between Black And White tells a slow-to-unfold story that is both incredibly sensual and politically important, while Zeno Graton’s The Lost Boys tells a familiar story of falling in love against an unconventional backdrop.
The 2023 program also includes numerous explorations of queer art and music, as is exemplified by works such as Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s Taylor Mac’s A 24-decade History Of Popular Music; Tom Gustafson’s Glitter & Doom; Sam Shahid’s Hidden Master: The Legacy Of George Platt Lynes; Marianne K. Martin and Lisa Marie Evans’ Hidden Master: The Legacy Of George Platt Lynes; and It’s Only Life After All, Alexandria Bombach’s documentary about folk-rock duo the Indigo Girls.
Frameline’s flagship festival runs June 14-24 in San Francisco/Oakland, and will be available virtually for audiences within the US from June 24–July 2. In celebration of the Festival’s 47th iteration, Frameline will host 47 screenings at historic Castro Theatre, which equates to an average of four screenings per day throughout the 11-day event.
In addition to the Castro Theatre, Frameline47 venues include: the Roxie (Frameline’s oldest venue partner), CinemaSF’s Balboa Theater, 4-Star Theater, and Vogue Theater — which will host Festival tie-in screenings of classic queer films during Neighborhood Nights — and The New Parkway Theater in Oakland. The Festival’s return to the East Bay boasts 10 Oakland screenings, including Frameline’s first-ever Oakland Opening Night and Centerpiece films, along with a Centerpiece afterparty at the new queer bar Fluid510.
The full festival lineup includes:
Frameline47: Features + Shorts Blocks
20,000 Species of Bees
Estibalitz Urresola Solaguren (Spain)
Gathering at their bee-keeping relatives, a Spanish family grapples with their eight-year-old’s increasing distress over gender—rejecting birth name Aitor and nickname Cocó, along with all the family’s assumptions.
About Us But Not About Us
Jun Robles Lana (Philippines)
North American Premiere
A conversation over brunch between a Filipino literature professor and his former student becomes a cat-and-mouse game: power dynamics shift, secret relationships are revealed, and at times we wonder, who is schooling whom?
All the Colours of the World Are Between Black and White
Babatunde Apalowo (Nigeria)
In this year’s Out in the Silence Award recipient tells the story of two young men who form a powerful connection with one another in Nigeria—where homosexuality is illegal. Winner of the Teddy Award at the Berlinale.
Theo Montoya (Colombia/Romania/France/Germany)
With jaw-dropping visuals, this docu-fiction hybrid weaves a dazzling tapestry of young queer life in the city of Medellín alongside the ever-present phantoms that haunt the streets of Colombia’s infamous city.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Aitch Alberto (USA)
Adapted from the beloved YA novel, this joyful story of boys on the cusp of manhood follows the blossoming friendship between Aristotle and Dante, two Mexican American teenagers growing up in late-’80s Texas.
Ask Any Buddy
Elizabeth Purchell (USA)
Using footage from over 125 gay adult films, Ask Any Buddy is a kaleidoscopic snapshot of gay life from the 1960s to the early ’80s. Directed by queer film historian Elizabeth Purchell, based on her successful podcast of the same name.
Before I Change My Mind
Trevor Anderson (Canada)
Robin is trying to fit in at a new school (even if the other kids can’t figure out if they are “a boy or a girl”). When Robin befriends a stand-offish bully, they begin to discover the pitfalls of conformity.
Corey Sherman (USA)
An unexpected crush turns a camping trip into a weekend of self-discovery for awkward 14-year-old Jamie, in this heart-warming story of a bear cub in training.
Laura Moss (USA)
In this modern riff on the classic Frankenstein story, a nurse and a morgue pathologist develop a complex and terrifying relationship when one discovers that the other has developed a way to reanimate dead tissue.
Vuslat Karan (Turkey)
Blue ID is a story about privacy versus isolation and being an out transgender public figure in Turkey, which holds extremely strict distinctions between male and female… and deadly consequences for those who defy.
Emma Seligman (USA)
Co-written by director Emma Seligman and star Rachel Sennott (Shiva Baby, Frameline44), Bottoms follows two unpopular girls—PJ (Sennott) and Josie (Ayo Edebiri)—in their senior year who start a fight club to try to hook up with cheerleaders.
Sébastien Lifshitz (France/USA)
In the ’50s, trans women found refuge in Casa Susanna, a remote house in the New York Catskills where they were able to express their authentic selves. This riveting doc reunites many of Casa Susanna’s former guests.
Kevin Smith (1997, USA)
Is Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy—where Ben Affleck falls for out queer Joey Lauren Adams—a straight man’s lesbian fantasy run amok, or does it actually depict the nuances of pan- and bisexuality better than many films made today?
Chasing Chasing Amy
Sav Rodgers (USA)
Offering a vital survey of Kevin Smith’s divisive 1997 boy-meets-lesbian rom-com Chasing Amy, a young director charts the complicated legacy of the first queer film he ever saw and how it saved his life.
Jac Cron (USA)
A recent college graduate (Natalia Dyer) falls into a seductive social life and a triangle of attraction with two new friends, party girl Tyler (Rachel Keller) and the more reserved, thoughtful Danny (Danny Ramirez).
Stephen Winter (1996, USA)
An underground band of radical Black queer HIV+ activists take to the streets of NYC to combat conservative politicians and government apathy towards AIDS. Frameline proudly presents the world premiere of this pristine 4K restoration.
Merle Grimme (Germany)
World Premiere (Shared with Filmfest Müchen)
When an all-white women’s organization tries to solve their diversity problem by assembling the perfect mix of marginalized people for an all-inclusive manifesto, this leads to breakups, breakdowns, and a near-break-in, in this comedy.
Sandra Itäinen (USA)
Eman is an all-around badass, fully active in her queer Muslim community. That is… except when she goes home to visit her traditional mother, who has no idea that she’s queer.
Commitment to Life
Jeffrey Schwarz (USA)
A fascinating, emotional history lesson from director Jeffrey Schwarz (Vito; I Am Divine), Commitment to Life dives deep into the true, twisty story of the fight against HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles in the early 1980s.
Hannah Pearl Utt (USA)
After chasing her dreams of becoming a musician all the way to LA with limited success, chaotic poly bisexual Cora (an amazing Megan Stalter) makes a surprise trip back to Portland to try to win back her girlfriend.
Debi Sundahl Double Feature
Come celebrate lesbian erotica created by and for lesbians with a pair of films from filmmaker and renowned sex educator Debi Sundahl and Fatale Media. Presented by PinkLabel.TV and hosted by Shine Louise Houston!
Donna Deitch (1985, USA)
Not only one of cinema’s great lesbian films but also one of the essential book-to-screen adaptations, Desert Hearts brings Jane Rule’s 1964 novel to life against the stunning backdrop of the American desert.
Hannes Hirsch (Germany)
After getting dumped by the boyfriend he moved to Berlin to be with only a few weeks prior, 22-year-old Moritz reimagines his life (and his appearance) as a single gay man in the hedonistic queer party capital of Europe.
Egghead & Twinkie
Sarah Kambe Holland (USA)
Desperate to meet the undeniable love of her life who lives over 500 miles away, newly-out Twinkie convinces her best friend Egghead to put his unrequited love for her aside to embark on a road trip to Texas.
Daishi Matsunaga (Japan)
An affluent fashion editor hires himself a cash-strapped personal trainer, but as their bond deepens, so do the contrasting themes of love and money, selfishness and vulnerability, autonomy and dependency.
Peter Sohn (USA)
Bring your friends and family of all ages to Frameline’s free Family Matinee screening of Pixar’s brand-new feature Elemental. The PixPride team will be on hand with limited free giveaways for children.
Julie Cohen (USA)
The intersex subjects of this documentary by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Julie Cohen speak out and enthusiastically celebrate their authenticity against the traditions of sensationalism, silence, and shame.
Andrew Durham (USA/France)
Produced by Sofia Coppola, this adaptation of Alysia Abbott’s memoir depicts the early days of gay liberation in bohemian San Francisco through the eyes of an 8-year-old and her poet father.
Girlfriends & Girlfriends
Zaida Carmona (Spain)
North American Premiere
Zaida is diving back into Barcelona’s lesbian dating scene after getting dumped, navigating a crowded sea of current and future ex-girlfriends, late night connections, and doomed crushes on happily coupled women.
Girls Don’t Cry
Andrea Zuliani (Italy)
With a vibrant teen romance at its center, Girls Don’t Cry is a gritty but sweet coming-of-age road flick set along the back roads of the Italian countryside, as Elm and Mia escape on a transformative journey.
Glitter & Doom
Tom Gustafson (USA/Mexico)
Filled with Indigo Girls hits, this glittery musical follows a budding romance between a young musician and a spirited circus kid, surrounded by Lea DeLaria, Tig Notaro, Kate Pierson, Peppermint, and Ming-Na Wen.
God Save the Queens
Jordan Danger (USA)
Four Los Angeles queens land in a desert retreat (not exactly by choice) to help get their careers back on track after PR disasters. Starring Alaska, Laganja Estranga, and Michelle Visage.
Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project
Michèle Stephenson & Joe Brewster (USA)
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, Going to Mars is a celebration of Blackness and Afrofuturism as shown through iconic poet Nikki Giovanni. Join us for Frameline’s annual Juneteenth screening and celebration.
Jason Karman (Canada)
Cheerful and romantic, this exceptional coming-of-age film finds high school student Jake bewildered by the arrival of Aleks, a handsome new neighbor, leading him to try out for the basketball team to get closer to him.
Aino Suni (France/Finland/Germany)
An erotic thriller for a new generation, Heartbeast follows young aspiring rapper Elina and her new stepsister Sofia, whose bond quickly turns into a dark obsession for both women, with shocking consequences.
Hidden Master: The Legacy of George Platt Lynes
Sam Shahid (USA)
This wide-ranging (and fabulously gossipy) doc brings to life the passion and true life of photographer George Platt Lynes, who wielded good looks, talent, and ambition in pursuit of artistic creation and sexual pleasure.
House of Izabel
Gil Baroni (Brazil)
North American Premiere
In 1970, at an isolated country estate, a group of individuals become the glamorous women they long to be. But their carefree feminine fantasy is interrupted by the threat of their secrets being exposed.
How to Tell a Secret
Anna Rodgers & Shaun Dunne (Ireland)
This inspiring hybrid doc focuses on a group of people driven to tell the world what it’s like to live with HIV in present day Ireland. Features first-person confessions of young activists living with the disease.
In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction
Lisa Marie Evans & Marianne K. Martin (USA)
Featuring interviews with Jewelle Gomez, Dorothy Allison, and Sarah Waters, In Her Words lovingly documents the evolution and expansion of sapphic literature through the lens of American history in the 20th century.
It’s Only Life After All
Alexandria Bombach (USA)
From their early days as one of the few openly queer musical acts to their response to the current political era, Grammy-winning musical duo the Indigo Girls come center stage in this definitive documentary portrait.
Jess Plus None
Mandy Fabian (USA)
North American Premiere
Perpetually horny bisexual Jess is the maid of honor at her best friend’s off-the-grid wedding, but complications arise with the ex-girlfriend she can’t stop fantasizing about also on the expected guest list.
Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn
Timothy Harris (USA)
Following a pathbreaking young candidate’s first foray into national politics, this film captures the obstacles, hopes, and dreams wrapped up in Malcolm Kenyatta’s 2022 campaign for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.
D. Smith (USA)
With unabashed confessional interviews and a dynamic visual style, Kokomo City is an electric portrait of the inner lives of four Black trans sex workers in America. An Audience Award winner at Sundance and Berlin.
Tove Pils (Sweden)
Leaving her girlfriend behind, a young Swedish woman relocates to San Francisco. Looking to explore her sexuality, she meets a professional dominatrix and a trans rent boy, who help fulfill her fantasy of becoming a sex worker.
Le beau mec
Wallace Potts (France)
We’re thrilled to present a pair of newly restored masterworks of the golden age of X-rated cinema: Wallace Potts’ Le beau mec and San Francisco iconoclast Curt McDowell’s Loads.
Lie with Me
Olivier Peyon (France)
In this adaptation of Philippe Besson’s award-winning novel, a celebrated author returns to his hometown in rural France and reluctantly confronts his past, as a young tour guide conjures his memories of first love (and lust).
Local Legends Program
This double bill of portraits of queer Bay Area activists highlights trailblazing lesbian writer Jewelle Gomez and Anjali Rimi, a trans immigrant who followed her passion for social justice from India to San Francisco.
The Lost Boys
Zeno Graton (Belgium/France)
North American Premiere
In a Belgian youth correctional facility, pensive teen Joe is getting ready to regain his freedom, but the arrival of live-wire William into the adjacent cell sends shockwaves through his system.
M Is for Mothers
Lívia Perez (Brazil)
Brazilian couple Melanie and Marcela are having twins. Their journey to motherhood is captured in this doc, which gets down to the nitty-gritty of pregnancy as Marcela begins taking hormones so she too can nurse their babies.
The Mattachine Family
Andy Vallentine (USA)
This nuanced, gentle dramedy explores the notion of connection through the experiences of a loving gay couple (Nico Totorella and Juan Pablo Di Pace) who discover they have differing ideas about what makes a family.
Vuk Lungulov-Klotz (USA)
Over the course of 24 hours, Feña is reunited with three people he has not seen since transitioning: his father who lives in Chile, a younger sister unaware of his transition, and a former lover who hasn’t fully moved on.
My Sole Desire
Lucie Borleteau (France)
North American Premiere
When aimless Manon (Louise Chevillotte) begins work at an unconventional strip club, she falls hard for her fellow stripper Mia (Zita Hanrot), forcing her to question her priorities as she explores her newfound erotic life.
Leiv Igor Devold (Norway/Poland/Germany)
On the frozen coast of Scandinavia, the friendship between a hard-edged Polish immigrant laborer working at a salmon-processing factory and the adopted Black son of his new boss slowly develops into something more.
Tsuyoshi Shôji (Japan)
In this intergenerational tale of gay life in Japan, an elderly children’s book author and a perpetually bored twentysomething sex worker end up accompanying each other on a surprising journey of emotional and physical discovery.
Milad Alami (Sweden)
Fleeing Iran on human rights grounds, Iman and his family find themselves in Sweden awaiting asylum. When he starts to train with a wrestling team against his wife’s wishes, the real reason for their flight begins to emerge.
Cristina Grosan (Czech Republic/Italy/Hungary/Slovakia)
A misfit teenager, an anxious mother, and a recent widow see their day interrupted by a mysterious natural phenomenon. As their world descends into chaos, the three women struggle to find their place in life.
The Origin of Evil
Sébastien Marnier (France/Canada)
In this diabolical Hitchcockian thriller, a desperate working-class woman connects with the billionaire father she’s never met, inserting herself into a mysterious world of the French upper crust.
Bill Oliver (USA)
With an all-star cast that includes Billy Porter, Luke Evans, and Robin Weigert, Our Son offers an absorbing take on familiar themes of parenthood and family through the eyes of a gay married couple on the brink of divorce.
Out of Uganda
Rolanda Colla & Josef Burri (Switzerland)
North American Premiere
Philip, Hussein, Remy, and Shammy are the dignified, human faces of an unfolding crisis: these refugees are among the thousands whose lives are in peril due to Uganda’s draconian laws that criminalize homosexuality.
Jennifer Reeder (USA/France)
In this campy thriller, teenage badass Jonny enrolls in a new school full of plastic surgery-obsessed adults, acerbic teens, and fake purity pledges—not to mention a masked maniac picking off the popular girls one by one.
A Place of Our Own
Ektara Collective (India)
Following two transwomen in Bhopal, India, as they seek a safe place to call home after an unjust eviction, this intimately shot Audience Award winner at SXSW asks not just where, but in whom do we find home.
Georden West (USA)
A tribute to one of Boston’s oldest queer bars, Playland condenses decades of history into one stark, opulent reflection on queer spaces, the people that inhabit them, and the destructive forces they provide refuge from.
Manuel Abramovich (Argentina/Brazil/France/Mexico)
Through the story of an aspiring gay Mexican adult film star named Lalo Santos, director Manuel Abramovich slyly blends fiction and documentary in this artful, alluring portrait of sex in the age of OnlyFans.
Agniia Galdanova (USA/France)
With a cinéma vérité eye, Queendom tracks visionary, gender-defying internet sensation and fearless art rebel Gena Marvin as she navigates Russia’s draconian treatment of queer activists, performers, and people.
Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed
Stephen Kijak (UK)
With a fresh documentary look at an impossibly rich career, director Stephen Kijak (Sid & Judy, Frameline43) makes time for both the private life and persona of one of Hollywood’s greatest stars: Rock Hudson.
Rotting in the Sun
Sebastián Silva (USA/Mexico)
Sebastián Silva is an artistically blocked, ketamine-addicted artist in Mexico City. After nearly drowning at a gay nude beach, he’s rescued by a social media star with a new project that could pull him out of his rut.
Júlia Murat (Brazil/France)
Young, Black, bisexual law student Simone pays for school by moonlighting as a camgirl. Aiming to keep these two facets of her life separate, these two worlds nevertheless become entwined in dangerous ways.
John Waters (1994, USA)
With our diverse strand of films exploring motherhood, we couldn’t help but include one of queer cinema’s most unforgettable matriarchs, Beverly Sutphin (a hilarious Kathleen Turner), in one of John Waters’ funniest features.
Shorts Program: Fun in Shorts—The Joker Tarot
Frameline’s annual Fun in Shorts program takes a comic approach to some of our deepest queer anxieties—whether it be flying, sex, social niceties, daddy issues, incidental murder, or the general miseries of apartment dwelling.
Shorts Program: Homegrown—The Sun Tarot
Come warm yourselves by our Sun with these homegrown shorts, showcasing diverse local talent and a wide range of genres. These stories present a transformative future filled with compassion and change.
Shorts Program: Revivals & Restorations—The Ace of Swords
For Frameline47’s first official screening, we’re returning with brand new restorations of a pair of indispensable shorts that have played significant roles in the history of the Festival and the Frameline Distribution catalog.
Shorts Program: The Ace of Cups Tarot
Characters mark the beginning of new relationships or the strengthening of existing ones in this shorts program, which encompasses friendship, family (chosen and otherwise), and the complex dynamics of loving and being loved.
Shorts Program: The Ace of Wands Tarot
These shorts honor queer bodies and blossoming libido while complicating and interrogating body politics. With nudity and eroticism, this program highlights the intoxication of sexuality and importance of bodily autonomy.
Shorts Program: The Lovers Tarot
Through stories of romance, from the fantastical to the everyday, couples overcome the challenges of dating to build a new reality together. Ideal for date night, this program may cause viewers to die from the cuteness.
Shorts Program: The World Tarot
Grouping together 7 shorts that played before features during Frameline47’s in-person screenings, this virtual-only program offers an eclectic line-up of international shorts from both Festival alum and visionary artists making their Frameline debuts.
Sacha Polak (Netherlands/UK)
East London nurse Franky’s first romantic relationship with another woman pushes her to confront the demons of the past—notably a mysterious fire that left both her mind and body scarred—in complicated ways.
Sisi & I
Frauke Finsterwalder (Germany/Austria/Switzerland)
Rebellious and ravishing Empress Elisabeth, aka Sisi, escapes Viennese court life to create a proto-queer paradise on a Greek isle. There she develops a deep bond with her latest plaything, the charismatic lady-in-waiting Irma.
Joseph Amenta (Canada)
In this striking feature film debut by Frameline alum Joseph Amenta, three young friends attempt to infiltrate a local queer nightclub, but their impish ways quickly turn dangerous.
Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music
Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman (USA)
In this mesmerizing concert film, Oscar-winning directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman document drag superstar Taylor Mac’s 24-hour performance showcasing the popular music of every decade in American history.
Molly Gordon (USA)
After its indomitable and beloved founder (Amy Sedaris) falls into a coma, the eccentric staff of a scrappy theater camp must band together with her clueless “crypto bro” son to keep the thespian paradise afloat.
V.T. Nayani (Canada)
Two women—one Tamil, the other half Mohawk, half Iranian—search for what it means to belong to a family or tribe as they meet, explore the city of Toronto, and slowly begin to fall in love.
The Trace of Your Lips
Julián Hernández (México)
In this erotic drama from director Julián Hernández, two neighbors battle their loneliness and lustful yearnings as they try to connect with each other (with anyone) as an unnamed pandemic ravages the world around them.
The Venus Effect
Anna Emma Haudal (Denmark)
In this warm, romantic drama, a free-spirited artist inspires Liv, a young woman accustomed to routine and stability, to look beyond her familiar horizons as she finds herself changing along with the seasons.
Who I Am Not
Tünde Skovrán (Romania/Canada/South Africa/Germany/USA)
In this powerful documentary, two intersex people living in Johannesburg, South Africa—one a beauty queen, the other an activist—seek to discover and embrace themselves as they truly are, not as the world would have them.
João Pedro Rodrigues (Portugal/France)
In the year 2069, an ailing king recalls his memories of youthful defiance when he abandoned the monarchy to become a firefighter and fell for one of his fellow firemen. From the provocative director of The Ornithologist and O Fantasma.
Christophe Honoré (France)
Joining his bohemian brother in Paris with the hopes of jump starting his adult life, a self-confident gay boarding school student finds his sense of self unraveling in the wake of a family tragedy.