Thursday, June 10, 2010

FRAMELINE34 2010—35MM PROJECTIONS REDUX

In a welcome and admirable gesture of transparency, Frameline's Executive Director K.C. Price addressed the concerns expressed in my previous entry. He wanted to make it clear that the particular paucity of 35mm projections at this year's edition of Frameline belies their ongoing commitment to providing the best projections possible to their audiences. Of course they would always prefer to project in 35mm, when possible—who wouldn't?—but, various factors influence their ability to do so. I won't list those obvious factors for fear that they will sound like mere excuses, but will grant Frameline the benefit of the doubt that they are committed to shaping the best festival possible within available parameters. I hope I made it clear in my previous entry that mine is not criticism of Frameline's programmers; but, concern over evolving trends. I completely understand that many—if not most—of our best queer narratives are being created in digital formats; but, I maintain we should celebrate the rare occurrence when they achieve 35mm rather than capsize that achievement into a digital homogenity.

Price is heartened by the Castro Theatre's assurances that their HD projections will improve over time and argues for patience. As Jed Bell inferred in his comment to my previous entry, the shift away from DVD projection to HD is also a step in the right direction. But again, my complaint is not with the digital technologies or the so-called "new media" per se—directors such as Pedro Costa and Nuri Bilge Ceylan have proven the potential beauty and inherent worth of these technologies—my complaint is with works not being shown in their original formats and failure to disclose same. Further, despite appearances, I am not singling out the in-house deficiencies of Frameline's theatrical venues any more than I am urging filmmakers to explore the full potential of their cameras so that the product they provide festival programmers is of maximum quality. It rests on all of us invested in film culture to maximize visual quality: directors in the works they create, programmers in their festival selections, and audiences in what they expect to see on the silver screen.

I'm likewise aware that my concern that the term "film" has capsized in meaning—especially with regard to a category such as a "film festival"—is nowhere near original and, at best, quaint. This conflation as a lexical necessity has undoubtedly been argued since the advent of new media; but—if being gay has taught me anything—it is that words matter, definitions matter, in helping to shape cultural identity. I don't want to let go of the word "film" and what I believe it means until I have to and, pertinently enough, when San Francisco's queer film festival resisted acronymic expansion as it brought more and more identities to the table, LGBTIQ became conflated into Frameline, which really works. Not only as an open-ended umbrella of potential identities; but, as an astute incorporation of new media into the definition of a film festival. What then to say of something like the
New Media Film Festival, which begs the point? Is there really a "film" anywhere in that festival? Or is "film" being held hostage for its admitted cachet? However quaint the concern, any comments on that question would be welcome.

Finally, I'm delighted to announce—per K.C. Price's advise—that Frameline has adjusted its 35mm roster.
Sasha (2010), which was originally going to be projected in 35mm, will now be shown in DigiBeta; but—to offset that loss—Frameline has secured 35mm prints of Brotherhood (2009), The Consul of Sodom (2009) and their closing night film Howl (2010). Here is the updated list.

Short films

Close (Pod Bluzka, 2008)—This nine-minute Polish short by Lucia Von Horn Pagana will have its US premiere as part of the Tough Girls shorts program.

Masala Mama (2010)—This nine-minute Singaporean short by Michael Kam will have its world premiere in The Golden Pin shorts program.

New Tenants, The (2009)—Joachim Back's 21-minute short is part of Frameline's popular Fun In Boys' Shorts program.

Features

Brotherhood (Broderskab, 2009)

Consul of Sodom, The (El Cónsul de Sodoma, 2009)

Going South (Plein Sud, 2009)

Grown Up Movie Star (2009)

Hideaway (Le Refuge, 2009)

Howl (2010)

I Killed My Mother (J'ai Tué Ma Mère, 2009)

Last Summer of La Boyita, The (El ultimo verano de la Boyita, 2009)

Mädchen In Uniform (1958)

Man Who Loved Yngve, The (2008)

Purple Sea, The (2009)

Spring Fever (2009)

Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, The (2009)

16mm Projections

The Experimentals—All That Sheltering Emptiness (2010)

Hustlers & Exhibitionists: Andy Warhol Retrospective—Haircut #1 (1963) and My Hustler (1965)

Sex, Leather Jackets & Cigarettes—Mario Banana #1 (1964), Mario Banana #2 (1964) and Vinyl (1965)

Cross-published on
Twitch.

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