A trans man hooks up with his ex, a move he knows he might regret. After the tragic death of her mom, a young girl moves in with her gay dad and a colorful batch of revolving housemates in San Francisco. A recent college grad fumbles about with an attraction to two charismatic restaurant workers, one male, the other female.
These are some stories of films in Frameline47, the San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival. In-person screenings start June 14 and run through June 24 in San Francisco and Oakland; an encore streaming option continues June 24 through July 2.
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Here are some movies not to miss, including a few with Bay Area ties.
The opening night selection “Fairyland” (6:30 p.m. June 14, Castro Theatre in San Francisco) whisks audiences back to 1970s San Francisco where a young Alysia Abbott (Nessa Dougherty) grows up unconventionally with her gay poet father Steve (Scoot McNairy) and his out-and-proud roomies. Director Andrew Durham’s poignant drama, adapted from Abbott’s memoir, captures the look, freeing tenor and tragedy of the times in the city. Emilia Jones (“Emily in Paris”) assumes the role of Alysia in her teens and 20s during the catastrophic era when neighbors, friends and family members got wiped out due to AIDS. Note: The screening of the powerful drama is sold out.
In Oakland, the opening night feature tells a more wistful story. Jac Cron’s world premiere debut “Chestnut” (6 p.m. June 15, New Parkway) though, is also sold out, and, like “Fairyland,” unavailable to stream. Viewers who have tickets are in for a well-made mood piece about Philly college grad Annie (Natalia Dyer) struggling to summon up excitement for moving to Los Angeles and a new financial job about which she’s not particularly interested. Her desires exist elsewhere: wanting to be a writer and to get even closer with two enticing late-night restaurant workers, Tyler (Rachel Keller) and Danny (Danny Ramirez). Is it all just a stalling tactic to bridge the inevitable for moving on and moving out? You’ll just have to see.
The festival’s 90-film slate, naturally, includes Bay Area notables in front of and behind the camera.
Oakland native, actor and football player Marshawn Lynch appears in director Emma Seligman’s eagerly awaited follow-up to her hysterically funny “Shiva Baby.” “Bottoms” (6 p.m. June 16, Castro) comes with an intriguing concept: two queer high schoolers decide to set up a fight club.
For true stories about Bay Area queer residents making an impact not only in their communities but throughout the world, score a ticket to the documentary double bill “Local Legends” (3:30 p.m. June 19, Castro). Oakland activist and writer Jewelle Gomez receives a deserved tribute in Madeleine Lim’s “Jewelle: A Just Vision.” It’s paired with Amir Jaffer’s “Belonging: Trans Indian Story,” a 40-minute account of Bay Area activist Anjali Rimi, her odyssey from India to San Francisco and perseverance in bringing to the forefront stories and issues pertaining to people who are trans. Both directors, Rimi, Gomez (and her wife Diane Sabin) are slated to attend.
Director Vuk Lungulov-Klotz’s sensational and tone-perfect debut “Mutt” (8:45 p.m. June 18, Castro) is set in an eventful 24-hour period in New York. The Sundance Film Festival award-winner is a telling glimpse into the life of Feña (Lío Mehiel in a searing performance), a trans man who runs into his ex-boyfriend (Cole Doman) at a bar and rekindles the flame of passion while he’s preparing for his father to arrive from Chile. The movie is among the best feature debuts (along with Celine Song’s “Past Lives,” now in theaters, and Babatunde Apalowo’s “All the Colours of the World Are Between Black and White”) of 2023 so far. It’s also one of the best dramas I’ve seen about being trans.
If you’re in the mood for laughs and stinging social commentary, check out “Clashing Differences” (6 p.m. June 16, New Parkway), a quick-witted critique of tokenism in which a women’s group scrambles to appear that it has representation on the front burner. While the in-person screening is sold out, the film streams starting June 24. Director Merle Grimme assembles top-notch actors who play hastily picked members of a BIPOC panel that meets at an estate. Frameline teams up with Filmfest München for the joint world premiere.
One of the timeliest documentaries in the festival is “Out of Uganda” (2 p.m. June 20, Castro) Directors Rolanda Colla and Josef Burri present four Ugandan refugees who share their stories of persecution in a country that recently has enacted laws that could sentence them to death for being gay. The film, streaming as well as screening live, takes place as its subjects wait to learn if they have been granted asylum in Switzerland.
National hostility and the fear of violent retaliation for coming out as gay factor into the tentativeness in the nascent attraction between two Nigerian men (Tope Tedela and Riyo David) in “All the Colours of the World Are Between Black and White” (4 p.m. June 18, Castro). The award-winner by Apalowo, who will receive Frameline’s Out in the Silence Award at the screening, is a creative and artistic triumph. The story is told with sensitivity and awareness; at the same time, the film brilliantly conveys visually what can’t be said verbally.
For the full schedule and ticket information, visit frameline.org.