|Citizen CakeĂÂ˘Ă˘âÂŹĂ˘âÂ˘s Elizabeth Faulkner, former board VP Duane Cramer, former board president Kathryn Stebner and Ellen Callaway at FramelineĂÂ˘Ă˘âÂŹĂ˘âÂ˘s opening party at the Galleria. It was a swank kickoff to a tremendous film festival
Dedicated to Queer Activist And Historian Trevor Hailey
Frameline, the worldâs premier showcase of queer cinema, opened the 31st annual San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival on June 14. First the audience got to see trailers from years gone by, which readers can locate at frameline.org/now-showingonline/festival-trailers.aspx.Â Â Â Â
Check out 1999 for a very quick glimpse of this nun twirling a jump rope. And when you see the 1994 trailer, be sure to âyoo-hooâ along with everyone.
Managing Director Matt Westendorf opened the event, saying, âWe are so excited to be with you tonight to kick off 11 days of enticing and entertaining LGBT films.â Board President Linda Harrison commented, âHow about those trailers? Of course the hottest for me was the lesbian on the motorcycle .
Harrison referred to an announcement that Frameline had made two years ago at their 29th anniversary - launching a campaign entitled âChanging the World, One Movie at a Time,â supporting the future of queer cinema with the goal of raising $1.25 million. âAs a former development director, I am more than pleased and more than just a little bit relieved to announce tonight that thanks to the support of hundreds of donors, we have reached that $1.25 million goal!â
One of the other goals the campaign has accomplished is giving more filmmakers grants for their projects. During the last several years before 2004, they had given out approximately $35,000. But they have increased those funds to $70,000 with intentions of escalating to $100,000. They have expanded the number of films that they sell and rent through their film distribution program by thirty percent. Framelineâs collection of more than 260 films is now shown on television channels such as Logo, Sundance Channel, and here! TV, as well as online, at film festivals, and in schools, universities, and libraries in more than 40 states and over 25 countries around the world. They have also expanded their year-round free screenings to monthly sessions at the LGBT Community Center. Westendorf thanked the over 200 donors and encouraged people to join the campaign, âbecause Frameline is always in need of new and expanded support to continue our work on behalf of the LGBT film community.â
Frameline now offers Generation Workshop, where they teach LGBT teens and elders how to make films and tell their stories. âWe want filmmakers to challenge, to change, to discover, to transcend, score, deliver, and represent,â said Harrison. âWith that, we will change the world one movie at a time, and the world will be a better place for all.â
Artistic Director Michael Lumpkin thanked the board and volunteers for keeping the festival going year after year. Of course he thanked the filmmakers and asked over two dozen in the house that night to stand and receive thunderous applause. Director of Programming Jennifer Morris thanked the 35 individuals who have been working day and night to make the festival happen. Lumpkin noted that the titles this year could be a bit confusing. For instance, Shelter Me, the Italian lesbian film is not the same as Shelter, a gay surfer film from L.A. You donât want to confuse Shelter with the gay surfer movie from Australia, Tan Lines. And two movies â On the Downlow and The DL Chronicles - have the same subject but are different styles. Lumpkin giggled and said 2 Minutes Later shouldnât be confused with 2 Mums and a Dad. âFrom radical feminism and the Middle East conflict to surfing the waves and exposing the religious right, the films that make up Frameline 31 clearly demonstrate the power, diversity, and humanity of our collective communities,â said Morris. She spoke of their new website, frameline.org, asking for feedback and saying, âWe really want this to be one of the best websites for LGBT film.â
The opening night film, The Witnesses, takes place in Paris in 1984 at the onset of the AIDS crisis. Itâs about friendship and family, love and loss. Lumpkin said the film asks us to bear witness to the lives it portrays.
Morris said they were dedicating this yearâs festival to the memory of the recently deceased Trevor Hailey. âShe was an integral part of our community and of the Castro,â Morris said. âShe could always be found leading tours in the Castro and telling our history to thousands.â She added, âAs a proud, out lesbian, she is an inspiration we are all going to miss.â
Kathy Amendola took over Haileyâs âCruisinâ the Castroâ business when Hailey retired from it after 16 years. Amendola called Hailey an incredibly determined woman: âso proud of her community that she became the voice, the orator of the LGBT culture.â Amendola told Bay Times, âMy belief as Trevorâs, is that each and every one of us has the power to educate and encourage personal as well as social changes based on love and diversity.â She concluded, âTHIS is how we can change the world, one heart at a time.â For more information, check out cruisinthecastro.com.Â Â
Now as a reviewer, I have a bone to pick with Frameline. The Witnesses was all wrong for the opening film. First of all, it was subtitled from French, so it was difficult to see emotions on faces while reading what those faces were saying. It was a dark, depressing movie about a cute young man slowly dying from AIDS and gradually losing his physical beauty. It was much too long (almost two hours) and in need of editing. Conversely, the next nightâs movie, Outing Riley, would have made the perfect film for an opening. There was drama and humor, poignancy and laughter. The 84 minutes sped by. No subtitles necessary. It would have set the mood perfectly for the festival.
For the after-party at Galleria in the San Francisco Design Center, the venue was converted into a giant living room bathed in pink light. White coffee tables, plush couches, ottomans, and floor lamps gave it a comfortable ambiance. This year there was only ONE floor for food, which made for very long lines moving along at a snailâs pace. Hopefully this will be remedied by the time the closing night gala comes along. There were, however, two floors of open bars, keeping the lines there moving rather swiftly. I am being optimistic, anticipating a fabulous gala for the closing romantic comedy, Itty Bitty Titty Committee.