Thom Fitzgerald’s “Cloudburst” and Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall’s “Call Me Kuchu” topped the winners of the audience awards at Frameline36 the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, which came to a close this Sunday.
The Festival drew together an audience of 57,000 over 11 days of screenings, culminating with a screening of the forementioned “Cloudburst,” which stars Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker as aging New England lesbians that go on a road trip to Canada to get married.
Other major honors at the fest included the juried First Feature Award, which went to Negar Azarbayjani’s “Facing Mirrors,” the first Iranian narrative film with a transgender protagonist. Honorable mention went to director Sally El Hosaini’s story of two Egyptian brothers living in inner London, “My Brother The Devil.”
Taking home the Outstanding Documentary Feature Award was Yariv Mozer’s “The Invisible Man,” chronicling the stories of gay Palestinian men living in Israel. Honorable Mention went to Michiel Van Erp’s “I Am a Woman Now” for its look at a group of aging transwomen who shared the same groundbreaking surgeon in the 60’s and 70’s.
Full press release and other winners below.
San Francisco, CA—The world’s largest and longest-running festival celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender films and filmmakers, Frameline36, the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, closed Sunday, June 24, with Thom Fitzgerald’s highly anticipated film CLOUDBURST, followed by a Closing Night party and awards ceremony at Temple Nightclub. The Festival drew together an audience of 57,000 for its 36th edition celebrating the LGBT, independent film, and media arts communities for eleven days of exciting, diverse, innovative, and socially relevant cinema.
Esteemed guests at the well received, showcase festival included filmmakers from around the world, along with independent cinema stars and famous guests such as Lance Bass, Ira Sachs, Thora Birch, Michael Urie and Bishop Gene Robinson. The Festival screened 217 films in eleven days from June 14 through June 24 at the Castro Theatre, the Roxie Theatre, the Victoria Theatre, and the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood in Berkeley, with attendance this year topping 57,000 guests.
Frameline36 is pleased to announce its two juried awards for Outstanding First Feature and Outstanding Documentary, plus two honorable mentions. The Frameline36 Outstanding First Feature Award went to Negar Azarbayjani’s FACING MIRRORS, the first Iranian narrative film with a transgender protagonist. Honorable mention went to director Sally El Hosaini’s powerful story of two Egyptian brothers living in inner London, MY BROTHER THE DEVIL.
Taking home the Frameline36 Outstanding Documentary Feature Award was Yariv Mozer’s THE INVISIBLE MEN, chronicling the stories of gay Palestinian men living in Israel. Honorable Mention went to Michiel Van Erp’s I AM A WOMAN NOW for its look at a group of aging transwomen who shared the same groundbreaking surgeon in the 60’s and 70’s.
Jury members for Outstanding First Feature were Lisa Daniel, Festival Director of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival; Roberto Appicciafoco, Festival Director of the Southwest Gay & Lesbian Film Festival; and James Nadeau, Executive Director of the Boston LGBT Film Festival. Jury members for Outstanding Documentary included Debra Wilson, filmmaker and co-founder of the Oakland Black LGBT Film Festival; Maria Cyber, Festival Organizer for the Outview Film Festival (Athens, Greece); and Franc Castro, Executive Director of the Miami GLFF/Ft. Lauderdale GL Film Festival.
Frameline36 AT&T Audience Awards went to the Festival’s most crowd-pleasing hits. The Frameline36 AT&T Audience Award for Best Feature was awarded to Thom Fitzgerald’s CLOUDBURST. Directors Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall were awarded the Frameline36 AT&T Audience Award for Best Documentary for CALL ME KUCHU, their moving exposé on the plight of LGBT activists in Uganda. The Frameline36 AT&T Audience Award for Best Short went to the touching Japanese drama TSUYAKO, directed by Mitsuyo Miyazaki.
Many films of the Frameline36 festival were honored with standing ovations, gripping question and answer sessions with the filmmakers and cast, and laughter and cheers throughout. Among the festival hits were KEEP THE LIGHTS ON, attended by director Ira Sachs and star Zachary Booth; Jonathan Lisecki’s hilarious feature GAYBY (recipient of the Frameline Completion Fund), and the Bay Area premiere of Jeffrey Schwarz’s powerful documentary, VITO. Standing ovations occurred at VITO, THE WISE KIDS, STRONG!, LOVE FREE OR DIE, FACING MIRRORS, CALL ME KUCHU, ZENNE DANCER, TRANSGENDER TUESDAYS, and TAKING A CHANCE ON GOD.
The popularity of the oldest and largest LGBT film festival in the world continued in Frameline36, as many programs played to sold-out audiences, including: VITO, FUN IN BOYS SHORTS, SUBMERGED QUEER SPACES, AUDRE LORDE: THE BERLIN YEARS 1984 TO 1992, MISSISSIPPI: I AM, GAYBY, MYSTERY DATE, GENERATIONS: YOUTH AND ELDERS MAKING MOVIES, QUEERMATION!, MOSQUITA Y MARI, STUD LIFE, MY BEST DAY, FACING MIRRORS, BYE BYE BLONDIE, HOLLYWOOD TO DOLLYWOOD, BALLROOM RULES, THE INVISIBLE MEN and CLOUDBURST.
Audiences were thrilled throughout the festival by the attendance of high-profile directors and stars who led intimate discussions following the films, attended parties, and stayed to watch other films. Among some of Frameline36’s many guest attendees were PETUNIA’s stars Thora Birch and Michael Urie, LOVE FREE OR DIE’s subject Bishop Gene Robinson and MISSISSIPPI: I AM’s director Katherine Linton and producer/subject Lance Bass.
At the Closing Night Film, this year’s annual Frameline Award was presented to renowned film critic and scholar, B. Ruby Rich, who received a standing ovation upon taking the stage at the Castro Theatre. Illuminating film history, the American independent scene, world cinema trends, and situating queer film within these contexts, Rich has made a salutary and indispensible contribution to a community’s sense of its own achievements and challenges. Frameline36 also celebrated the 20th anniversary of “New Queer Cinema” – coined by B. Ruby Rich in 1992 – by screening Gregg Araki’s THE LIVING END, Cheryl Dunye’s THE WATERMELON WOMAN, Alex Sichel’s ALL OVER ME and Ana Kokkinos’ HEAD ON. Cheryl Dunye and Alex Sichel both introduced their screenings, and Marcus Hu and B. Ruby Rich introduced THE LIVING END.
The Frameline Volunteer of the Year Award went to Barbara Gersh, who has been volunteering with Frameline for over 20 years. After screening over 20 programs to make her selection she chose Harriet Hirshorn & Katherine Linton’s MISSISSIPPI: I AM to receive a $2,500 grant, made possible by The Small Change Foundation.