FRAMELINE35: SF International LGBT Film Festival Opens June 16th

Opening night film, “Gun Hill Road”, starring Esai Morales, is a tense and complex family drama about a teen embracing her gender identity and a father who must put aside his notions of manhood and reinvestigate his own ideas of what having a “normal” child means.

Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

FRAMELINE, the world’s largest resource for LGBT media and film, announces Frameline35, the 35th anniversary of the internationally renowned San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival. This year’s legendary showcase for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) cinema runs from Thursday, June 16th through Sunday, June 26th. The screenings will be held at San Francisco’s landmark Castro Theatre (429 Castro Street), Roxie Theater (3117 16th Street) and the Victoria Theatre (2961 16th Street), and in Berkeley at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood (2966 College Avenue).

During the 11 days of Frameline35, tens of thousands of people from the Bay Area and all across the globe will come together to see the best of the best 200+ films from more than 30 countries including South Africa, Iran, Belgium, Algeria, and Thailand. As part of its anniversary celebration, Frameline35 will feature a number of special programs, including educational panels and live events, designed to engage audiences around the festival’s history and unique role in shaping San Francisco’s LGBT and arts communities. Tickets for Frameline35 are on sale now to members and to the general public beginning Friday, June 3rd.
Click here for more information: Frameline35


HARMONY SANTANA – as Michael / Vanessa

FRAMELINE35 opens with a heartfelt drama from first-time filmmaker Rashaad Ernesto Green, Gun Hill Road. A hit at the Sundance Film Festival, the story concerns a Brooklyn family caught in a whirlwind of change. After serving three years in prison, “Enrique” (Esai Morales, La Bamba, NYPD Blue) comes home to find his child is not the boy he left behind. “Michael”, now “Vanessa”, (Harmony Santana), is beginning to explore a sexual transformation that tears at the very core of everything Enrique believes himself to be. His wife “Angela” (Judy Reyes, Scrubs) finds herself caught in the middle. She desperately clings to the love she once had for her husband while trying to protect her child from being forced into the kind of man she is “supposed” to be.

Frameline35 will feature a special focus on transgender cinema. Historian and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Susan Stryker (Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria), along with filmmaker Jenni Olson (The Joy of Life) will present a clip show of transgender representations and filmmaking across cinematic history. Frameline is also pleased to present a screening of BECOMING CHAZ, a bracingly intimate portrait of Chaz Bono’s transition from female to male and the relationships that must evolve with him.


For all that she has done for the queers of the world, and all she will undoubtedly continue to do, Frameline will honor comedian, actor, author, activist, and all-around entertainer MARGARET CHO with this year’s Frameline Award. Claiming to have learned politics from Harvey Milk, Cho is what we wish for all of the children of San Francisco to become—open, honest, accepting, and a true activist. She is an outspoken proponent of gay marriages and trans rights, and has been a Frameline presence for years, appearing in Bam Bam and Celeste, Girltrash!, Rick & Steve, The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World, and this year’s concert film CHO DEPENDENT.

Frameline35 will also shine a spotlight on films about LGBT youth, a population that has received increased attention in this past year due to the tragic reports of increased suicides and responses such as Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” viral video campaign. Trapped in the harrowing hallways of middle school, a girl-identified 13 year old with an intersex condition, navigates friendships and torment in the coming-of-age film SPORK.

“The School Board has decided that it would not be politically correct
to have a paralyzed Jesus.” (Leslie Jordan, in Mangus!)

Watch the trailer to Mangus!

In the hilarious dark comedy MANGUS!, directed by Ash Christian (Fat Girls) and starring Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie, Best In Show), Heather Matarazzo (Welcome To The Dollhouse), and Leslie Jordan (Sordid Lives, Will & Grace), a teenager yearns for one thing: to play Jesus in his school’s annual production of “Jesus Christ Spectacular”. When unforeseen circumstances strike and Mangus loses the role, he sets off on a bizarre journey that ultimately unites him and his family.  The festival will once again showcase films made by local LGBT youth in cooperation with community elders, as part of Frameline’s annual Generations Filmmaker Workshop.

Frameline welcomes back a returning talent to this year’s festival.  An adaptation of author Sarah Waters’ suspenseful novel THE NIGHT WATCH. Directed by Richard Laxton, the story presents four Londoners’ struggle with sexuality, secrets, and inner demons amidst the chaotic background of World War II.
As one of its Centerpiece programs, director Tom Tykwer’s THREE is an atmospheric piece about bisexuality, love and longing in cosmopolitan Berlin. With pulsing sensuality, the smoldering characters prove that love really can be as easy as “one, two, three.”


A number of films have been finished with the assistance of the Frameline Completion Fund. In Eldar Rapaport’s AUGUST, emotions run high when a happily partnered man receives a message that his ex is back in town after years in Barcelona. A blast from the past becomes a passionate affair, but love is proven to be quite complex in this tender feature. The sci-fi comedy CODEPENDENT LESBIAN SPACE ALIEN SEEKS SAME by Madeleine Olnek follows the romantic adventures of a group of aliens who are sent to Earth to have their hearts broken. In this quirky film that premiered at Sundance, an unlikely relationship blossoms between a lonely earthling and an emotionally distant alien, while a promiscuous alien woos one human girl after another, and two government agents are on their tracks.

Always known for presenting insightful and ground-breaking documentaries, HIT SO HARD by P. David Ebersole chronicles the life of Patty Schemel, the out lesbian drummer of Hole, Courtney Love’s influential rock band. Growing up in a small farm town outside of Seattle, Patty never dreamed that her picture would grace the cover of Rolling Stone, or that she might find herself, like her friend Kurt Cobain, embraced by the dark side. SHUT UP, LITTLE MAN! AN AUDIO MISADVENTURE is a much talked about documentary on the story of Eddie and Mitch who moved to San Francisco in the mid-‘80s and found themselves living next door to two loud alcoholics: a flamboyantly gay man, who constantly tormented his equally belligerent and homophobic roommate. Eddie and Mitch recorded the going ons of their neighbors and the resulting cassette tapes became a pre-internet viral sensation. Frameline35’s other Centerpiece is a touching portrait of Chely Wright, the first country music star to come out as gay. WISH ME AWAY charts the singer’s journey as she comes out, discovers the transformational power of living an authentic life and shatters cultural and religious stereotypes within Nashville, her conservative heartland family, and herself.

The Festival would not be complete without outstanding shorts programs. This year’s short programs include the ever-popular FUN IN GIRLS SHORTS, FUN IN BOYS SHORTS, and TRANSTASTIC programs that feature the funniest and most touching queer short films from all around the world, including this year’s Sundance and Berlin Film Festival short film hits BLOKES from Chile and SPRING from the United Kingdom.

Frameline35 will also reflect on the history and legacy of the Festival itself, in honor of its 35th anniversary.  Frameline, in conjunction with the James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center at the San Francisco Public Library, will present a series of programs looking at the founding of this world-renown festival and media arts organization, as well as the history of LGBT filmmaking.  And, as a special anniversary gift, famed San Francisco artist and designer Rex Ray has returned to create the Frameline35 design, a beautiful collage that captures the enduring presence and innovative spirit of Frameline.

The festival will close out its 35th anniversary event with CHRISTOPHER AND HIS KIND.  Set against the intoxicating backdrop of Berlin’s gay subculture during the waning hedonism of the Weimar Republic, this BBC-produced dramatization presents the true story of Christopher Isherwood‘s celebrated The Berlin Stories that served as the basis for the musical Cabaret.

MATT SMITH (Christopher) and IMOGEN POOTs (Jean)

Sending off guests and visitors in style, the Contemporary Jewish Museum will play host to the dazzling Closing Night Party.  Enjoying delicious bites, signature cocktails, and sophisticated wines, cinephiles will celebrate the Frameline35 AT&T Audience Award Winners.
Click here for more information: Frameline35

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at:

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