Wednesday, May 31, 2006

2006 FRAMELINE XXX—Press Conference Announcements


Last week on Tuesday, May 23, Michael Lumpkin, Executive Director of Frameline, and Jennifer Morris, Director of Programming, announced this year's Frameline XXX festival line-up at a press conference held at the Castro Theatre. Meg Daly and Matt Florence were also on hand to profile the Persistent Vision Conference and, after all that was said and done, François Ozon's feature Time To Leave and Freida Lee Mock's documentary on playwright Tony Kushner, Wrestling With Angels, were screened for the press.

Having moved to San Francisco in the summer of 1975, the growth of the Frameline Film Festival has paralleled my own growth in San Francisco. As Frameline celebrates its 30th year, I am effortlessly pulled in to remembrances of festivals past hinged to individual events in my own life. It's amazing to consider how much a part I have been of all this history just by the sheer fact of being in the right place during the right decades.

Michael Lumpkin launched the session by noting that the evolution of queer cinema for the last 30 years has been truly remarkable. "In fact," he stated enthusiastically, "we think it's been revolutionary." Gay men living in the U.S. in 1976 were represented by only a handful of films—Carwash, Next Stop Greenwich Village, Norman Is That You?, The Ritz and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. For lesbians there was one lone television production broadcast on PBS. "Not that these all were not good and entertaining films in their own right," Lumpkin qualified, "but that was basically it."

"Luckily for us," he continued, "gay filmmakers in San Francisco were shooting a variety of somewhat crude yet very gay Super8 films" which they brought together in a public screening on February, 1977. That screening would become the world's first gay film festival. "And now 30 years later, and having witnessed a remarkable year of queer cinema with Brokeback Mountain and Transamerica vying for Oscar, this year's San Francisco International LGBT film festival received over 500 entries of new queer films from around the world."

The festival is organized by Frameline and Frameline's mission for the past three decades has been to strengthen the diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and further its visibility by supporting and promoting a broad array of cultural representation and artistic expression in film, video and other media arts. Frameline accomplishes this mission in three program areas: exhibition, distribution and filmmaker support.

Exhibition includes not only their annual film festival but also their monthly free screenings—Frameline at the Center—which takes place at San Francisco's LGBT community center and special screenings throughout the year like last November's premiere of Brokeback Mountain which included an on-stage discussion with the film's director, Ang Lee.

Frameline distribution has had "a banner year", acquiring more films than ever before with queer representation showing on Logo, Sundance Channel and Queer TV. Frameline has expanded its range in the educational market and will soon begin providing queer content for Internet delivery and delivery on mobile devices in Asia and Australia. This summer they are launching a new dvd line in partnership with Strand Releasing. Next month they'll be releasing Is It Really So Strange?, William E. Jones' documentary about Morrissey fans, followed in July by Jenni Olsen's Joy of Life and then Milford Thomas' silent film Claire.

"Filmmaker support is not only about giving much-needed cash directly to filmmakers," Lumpkin explained, "but also providing training to LGBT youth through the Wells Fargo and Frameline Youth Filmmaker Workshop, now in its second year. Direct cash support to filmmakers is provided by the Frameline Completion Fund and this December will be awarding $40,000 directly to queer filmmakers. Filmmakers also receive direct cash support from awards given at the festival each year. In addition to the $10,000 Dockers First Feature award and the $10,000 Michael J. Berg Documentary Award, each of this year's audience awards will be accompanied by a $25,000 cash award."

Recognizing his significant contributions to LGBT cinema, the 2006 Frameline award will be presented to French director François Ozon "whose cinematic trajectory marks him as a major talent on the international scene." Ozon will be presented with the Frameline Award at the Centerpiece screening of his new film Time To Leave on June 20th, at the Castro Theatre.

Jennifer Morris detailed the many films scheduled at the festival, all of which can be explored on the festival's website.


Anonymous said...

I'm really happy to see Frameline is bringing UNVEILED, my favorite of the newer films I caught at the Women's Film Festival in Seoul. It's about an Iranian lesbian who must leave Iran after being outed and then must pass as male to find asylum in Germany. I enjoyed it so much I'd see it again if work weren't sending me to Manila for a month. (Not that I'm bummed about that. I'm deliriously happy to get to work abroad and catch whatever Philippino/a cinema while I'm there.)

Also, my cousin's wife is in GOD AND GAYS: BRIDGING THE GAP and deeply bummed I'm going to miss that screening. My only solace is that this is San Francisco and I'll get more chances to check it out.

Michael Guillen said...

Thanks for stopping by, Adam. And thanks for the recommendation on "Unveiled." Just brought home "God and Gays" this evening to take a look at. I'm hoping to have a conversation with Mark Jordan via email about the movie. Mark is one of the world's leading queer theologians and I know he caught the movie at Cinequest.