Highlights from the upcoming Frameline43, the San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival

Frameline, the San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, announced the full program for the 43rd annual festival. The festival’s slate includes 59 films screening for the first time in the US, including 22 world premieres, 8 international premieres, 12 North American premieres, and 17 US premieres. The lineup also contains a record-breaking 22 first narrative features.

Historical drama Vita & Virginia, directed by Chanya Button will kick off the festival on opening night. In it, Elizabeth Debicki and Gemma Arterton portray one of the great lesbian love affairs of the 20th century that left audiences at the Toronto International Film Festival raving.

Centerpieces at this year's festival include Sid & Judy, directed by Stephen Kijak. This 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. Kinky Boots: The Musical, directed by Jerry Mitchell and Brett Sullivan stars original West End sensations Killian Donnelly as shoemaker scion Charlie and Matt Henry as Lola, the feisty drag queen who tries to save the factory with her fabulous fetish-y creations. Straight Up, directed by James Sweeney depicts a (probably) gay Todd as he dives into a relationship with aspiring actress Rory, his intellectual soulmate.

Other pieces include This Close: Season 2, directed by Stephen Cone & Jordan Firstman was written with a potent mixture of humor and heartache by Deaf creators, season 2 of This Close offers a universal language of infectious humor and deeply relatable (and often very gay!) drama for the Deaf and hearing communities alike. The first seasons of This Close was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award. The Filth, directed by Jamie G. Holt is a bold new episodic that follows two queer best friends navigating their equal parts ridiculous, hilarious, and endearing existence.  Burn The House Down, directed by Giselle Bailey & Nneka Onuorah explore the art of Ballroom, and Paris is indeed on fire. Diverse and passionate members of Paris’ glamorous ballroom community break down issues of race, immigrant culture, queer visibility, and free expression.

Documentary Queering the Script takes us into the cosplay-wearing, fanfic-writing underbelly of queer fandoms. Undeniably passionate, LGBTQ+ fans don’t just attend conventions and gather autographs; they actively are reshaping film and TV narratives into becoming more queer-inclusive. GLAAD’s Megan Townsend, Director of Entertainment Research & Analysis, is featured in the documentary. Other highlights include documentary Changing the Game, directed by Michael Barnett  From racetracks in Connecticut to gymnasiums in Texas, this searing documentary paints a devastating portrait of bigotry against trans athletes but also finds hope in the unlikely allies and advocates who rally fiercely by their sides. GLAAD’s Alex Schmider, Associate Director of Transgender Representation is an executive producer on this project.

Océan & Gender Derby, directed by Camille Ducellier depicts Jasmin, a non-binary artist, musician, and roller derby star living in Paris. Jasmin, their friends, and derby teammates navigate life while establishing and celebrating their community on and off the track. North American premieres include Meili, directed by Zhou Zhou. In this transfixing portrait of love and loneliness in a changing China, we follow impulsive Meili, toiling at a dry cleaner’s, cuddling and quarreling with her girlfriend, exploding at her money-hungry brother-in-law. Mexican film One Taxi Ride is a deeply intimate documentary detailing a young survivor of sexual assuault, Erick’s, challenging journey unearthing his secrets to friends and family. On his path to healing, Erick finds catharsis in helping others confront their own pain by sharing his story of acceptance.

Bit, directed by Brad Michael Elmore depicts a summer vacation in LA quickly turns into a fight to survive for Laurel (Nicole Maines from TV’s Supergirl), a teenage girl who falls in with a glamorous quartet of queer feminist vampires. A Girl’s Band, directed by Marilina Giménez pushes musical boundaries in a male-dominated space as well as the boundaries of activism, as they fight for women’s rights and rock it out in this extraordinary discovery piece of stomping girl-led music in Argentina.

Other works include drama Billie and Emma, directed by Samantha Lee, follows baby butch Billie as she is outed and exiled to the countryside to live with her religious aunt. Though she tries to go unnoticed (despite combat boots) in her new school. But star student Emma is intrigued, and Billie’s initial distrust quickly develops into something more. Camp Chaos, directed by Cory Krueckeberg pushes the boundaries of fantasy and reality even further. Attempting to recreate several of his formative sexual encounters with boys he meets online, Camp enlists a San Francisco stud on the first stop on his intimate and carnal adventure.

The closing night film of the festival is documentary is Gay Chorus Deep South. The film is a direct response to homophobia perpetuated by the Trump administration. It follows a gay men’s chorus from San Francisco venturing through the Deep South with the most discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ laws, including Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. Some members are returning to former homes they once fled in this moving, inspirational story.

This is just a select few of the many LGBTQ-inclusive films that will debut at Frameline43. The festival will take place in San Francisco, CA between June 20th and June 30th 2019. Tickets and a full lineup are available online here or at the Frameline43 Box Office, 470 Castro Street, across from the Castro Theatre.