Frameline Film Festival announced Tuesday the first 12 films heading up the lineup for the 43rd annual LGBTQ film festival, which takes place in San Francisco’s famous Castro district. The opening night film will be the Elizabeth Debicki-starring Virginia Woolf lesbian drama “Vita & Virginia,” which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall. Two documentaries will round out the centerpiece and closing night screenings: “Gay Chorus Deep South,” and the world premiere of the Judy Garland focused “Sid & Judy.”
“People question the place of film festivals in a now media-saturated culture, but the Festival is about communities: bringing everyone together to celebrate and expand our knowledge of the world around us, as well as ourselves,” Frameline Executive Director Frances Wallace said in a statement. “Frameline’s Festival attendance increased in 2018, and we predict a continued expansion of our audience this year. The LGBTQ+ world has never been quiet; they show up in droves, stomp their feet, and cheer. Frameline43’s outstanding program will continue to demonstrate that there will always be queer film to stomp about!”
Other titles heading to the Castro include Hannah Pearl Utt’s heartwarming Sundance comedy “Before You Know It,” featuring performances from Judith Light, Mandy Patinkin, and Alec Baldwin; a behind the scenes look at “RuPaul’s Drag Race” breakout star Trixie Mattel, “Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts”; and “Showgirls” documentary “You Don’t Nomi.”
The 43rd annual Frameline Film Festival will take place June 20 – 30, 2019 in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland. Check out the first additions to the lineup below. (With updates to follow.)
“Vita & Virginia”
Directed by Chanya Button
Sensational star turns by Elizabeth Debicki as Virginia Woolf and Gemma Arterton as Vita Sackville-West bring to dazzling, erotic life one of the great lesbian love affairs of the 20th century in this enchanting blend of literary biography and romantic intrigue—a shimmering costume drama that also features a strong supporting turn from Isabella Rossellini as Vita’s mother. As the two remarkably different novelists begin exploring each other’s minds and bodies, the relationship sparks a creative surge in Woolf, who uses her androgynous lover, Sackville-West, as the muse for one of her greatest novels, Orlando.
“Gay Chorus Deep South”
Directed by David Charles Rodrigues
To combat the reemergence of anti-LGBTQ+ laws and hate crimes brought upon by the Trump era, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus boldly toured areas of the southern United States, bringing their message of love and inclusion for everyone. Juxtaposing chorus members’ modern-day encounters with historical perspectives, director David Charles Rodrigues chronicles this intense and inspirational journey. Fueled by fantastic music, this dynamic documentary captures the heart and soul of a contemporary civil rights movement.
“Sid & Judy”
Directed by Stephen Kijak
June 2019 marks 50 years since the death of the extravagantly talented and tragically short-lived entertainer Judy Garland, whose perseverance and powerful charisma have made her a gay icon for generations. This revelatory and poignant 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.
“Before You Know It”
Directed by Hannah Pearl Utt
Exceptionally funny, smart, and heartfelt, “Before You Know It” welcomes us into the eccentric Gurner family home, perched atop their business: a community theater in downtown NYC. Type A lesbian Rachel’s responsibilities as the stage manager of both their performances and private lives have kept her from having her own life. But sudden tragedy and the discovery that their presumed-dead mother is a soap opera star throw Rachel and her flighty sister Jackie into more than their usual chaos. Co-writers Jen Tullock and Hannah Pearl Utt star alongside Judith Light, Mandy Patinkin, and Alec Baldwin in this winning comedy, which places the duo’s superb comic timing front and center.
Directed by Jayro Bustamante
When confident, sophisticated Pablo reveals that he is going to leave his wife and children to live with the man he loves, his affluent evangelical family in Guatemala is ripped apart: soon Pablo’s conservative parents, wife, employer, pastor, and his entire world seem bent on reforming, “converting,” or destroying the errant man. Jayro Bustamante’s (Ixcanul) powerful drama is both one man’s wrenching story and a searing commentary on the impact that religious and social prejudice still wreaks on queer lives.
“A Luv Tale: The Series”
Directed by Kim Oyegan
Written and Created by Sidra Smith
Reminiscent of the classic ‘90s film “Love Jones,” this Harlem-set series follows four stunning queer women of color as they navigate their friendships, love lives, and artistic careers. Armed with a bomb soundtrack, starring sure-to-be new favorites and familiar faces like actors Vanessa Williams and Leon, this sexy show is a must watch.
Directed by Brad Michael Elmore
A summer vacation in LA quickly turns into a fight to survive for Laurel (Nicole Maines from CBS’s “Supergirl”), a transgender teenage girl who falls in with a glamorous quartet of queer feminist vampires. Unsure if they want to kill her, eat her, or recruit her, Laurel skeptically tags along with the bloodsucking clique as they rid the streets of predatory men in this wickedly funny, gleefully gory, defiantly postmodern spin on a coming-of-age tale.
“End of the Century”
Directed by Lucio Castro
The mysteries of romantic connection, the challenges of a long-term relationship, the allure of personal freedom—these topics and more are explored in Lucio Castro’s sexy, funny, and moving feature debut. With fascinating temporal shifts and a picturesque Barcelona setting, End of the Century explores the relationship between handsome Ocho and Javi over different decades and, possibly, different realities.
“Kinky Boots: The Musical”
Directed by Jerry Mitchell and Brett Sullivan
Broadway babies and footwear fans rejoice! Come thrill to the world premiere screening of the rousing Tony and Olivier Award-winning musical, in this HD-cinema, live-captured performance from London’s Adelphi Theatre. With a book by Harvey Fierstein and original songs by Cyndi Lauper, the delightful “Kinky Boots: The Musical” 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.
“Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts”
Directed by Nick Zeig-Owens
Both funny and illuminating, this behind-the-scenes exposé of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star and country music songstress, Trixie Mattel, offers a glimpse into the backstage drama of a drag superstar. Following Trixie through All Stars, a musical world tour, and the genesis of her Viceland series with Katya, Moving Parts showcases the glitz and glamour of fame as well as its pitfalls when you have a legion of fans watching your every move.
“You Don’t Nomi”
Directed by Jeffrey McHale
Local icon Peaches Christ joins a collection of critics, writers, and fans for an enlightening and entertaining reassessment of the once celebrated Hollywood disaster that has risen like a queer phoenix from the ashes: Paul Verhoeven’s “Showgirls.” Is it a misunderstood masterwork, misogynist trash, unintentional camp, or a combination of all three? “You Don’t Nomi” offers an array of insight and wit as it explores one of San Francisco’s favorite movies.
Directed by Swarnavel Eswaran
In a small Indian village ravaged by a tsunami, Singaram is a fisherman working hard to care for his orphaned niece Anandhi, a local school teacher. Despite constant pressure from her uncle and the conservative society, Anandhi refuses to be married off. It isn’t until a new friendship with a fellow female teacher blossoms that people begin to suspect why.