Frameline29 Announces Winners: "Transamerica" and "Blood, Sweat" Are Pride of Fest
by Vanessa Romo
San Francisco's Frameline29, the world's largest and oldest Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender international film festival, announced audience winners "Transamerica" directed by Duncan Tucker, Sasha Aickin's "Blood, Sweat, and Glitter" and Jen Gilomen's "In My Youth -- Stories of Youth With LGBT Families" at the festival's closing night "Pride Sunday" party on June 27, 2005. Other films honored included "Gypo," directed by Jan Dunn, earning this year's Levi's First Feature Award and Elle Flanders' "Zero Degrees of Separation" picking up the Michael J. Berg Documentary Award.
Tucker's "Transamerica" starring Felicity Huffman of "Desperate Housewives" fame nabbed the prize for best feature. The film tells the story of a transsexual one operation away from becoming a woman who discovers that a sexual encounter as a man years earlier resulted in a long-lost son, now arrested for prostitution. It is Tucker's first feature film (making its debut at the Berlinale earlier this year) and ended the festival as the closing night film.
Aickin's "Blood, Sweat and Glitter," chronicling the heavily made-up and girdled efforts of drag queens vying to become Miss Trannyshack 2004, enjoyed a stunning world premiere honored as the festival's Best Documentary and the first sold-out event of the 11-day festival.
Both Dunn and Flanders earned kudos and $10,000 for winning the Levi's First Feature and Michael J. Berg Documentary awards respectively. Shot according to the rules of Dogme 95 films, "Gypo," is about a Czeck refugee's effect on a working-class British family. And Flanders' documentary "Zero Degrees" focuses on two gay couples struggling with the political quagmire that exists between Israel and Palestine. The two cash prizes and are the largest monetary awards of any LGBT festival.
The audience award for best short film went to Gilomen's "In My Shoes" screened as part of the Do It Yourself-New Youth Films program, a collection of youth-made films addressing the complex reality of growing up in LGBT families.
The 29th annual festival was kicked off with a screening of Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Marineau's "Cote D'Azur" about a French family vacation on the Mediterranean coast. Don Roos' "Happy Ending" featuring an ensemble cast including Bobby Cannavale, Steve Coogan, Laura Dern and Lisa Kudrow, was also a big crowd pleaser as the festival's Centerpiece film.
In all, this year's Frameline29 featured 266 films representing 33 countries and included eight world, 11 U.S. and 39 west coast premiere screenings, enjoying an audience up ten percent from last year's overall attendance with more than 66,000 festival goers.