|Karen Everett, Jennifer Morris and Gretchen Hildebran.
Frameline (best known for the annual LGBT Film Festival of queer cinema) held a pre-festival soiree featuring none other than Billy Philadelphia as the pianist at the War Memorial Buildingâ€™s Green Room to launch its Campaign for the Future of Queer Film: Changing the World, One Movie at a Time. It was also a time to kick off the 29th SF International LGBT Film Festival. The evening began with the presentation of a $100,000 check from Wells Fargo, the campaignâ€™s lead financial partner by Wells Executive Vice President Caryl Athanasiu to Frameline Board President Kathryn Stebner. Over the next three years, the campaign will raise $1,250,000 to launch and sustain expanded and comprehensive LGBT programming through its three major areas:
exhibition, distribution, and filmmaker support. The campaign will ensure that honest, diverse, and respectful images of LGBT life will reach people of all ages and sexual orientations in small towns and big cities across the country.
â€śWe are much more than a festival,â€ť said Duane Cramer, vice president of the Frameline board. â€śAll year round we have exhibitions of film; we provide thousands of dollars to filmmakers to produce films, and we also distribute films worldwide to high schools, middle schools, universities, and colleges.â€ť
Jennifer Morris, director of programming, said this will be a very exciting year for LGBT cinema, with 266 films from 33 different countries. They expect almost 1,200 guests visiting from around the world. She said they were very proud that the closing film, Transamerica, starring Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives, playing a male-to-female transgender parent, has been picked up for major distribution in December by famed producer Harvey Weinstein. She said there are quite a few films dealing with gender identity. Morris mentioned their monthly program of free screenings at the LGBT Community Center, which has been standing room only. She said they were pleased to have started this year the Wells Fargo Frameline Youth Filmmaker Workshop to train LGBTQ youth to make videos, which will be presented later in a program called â€śDo It Yourself.â€ť
Michael Lumpkin, Frameline executive director, said these programs are part of a five-year plan for queer film. â€śWe are committed to keeping the San Francisco festival what it has been for 29 years, and that is the leader in the world of queer cinema,â€ť he said. â€śBy the end of our five-year plan we hope to be giving away at least $100,000 a year directly to filmmakers.â€ť
Morris spoke to Bay Times later on with some movie recommendations for drag queen fans, including Trannyshack, Blood Sweat & Glitter, Screaming Queens, Scary Mary, a Peaches Christ festival, several drag shorts, and The Lady in Question (featuring Charles Busch of Frameline 27â€™s Die Mommie Die). Morris summed up succinctly, â€śItâ€™s a good year for drag!â€ť That makes this particular drag nun quite happy.