Frameline Film Festival

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Frameline is a nonprofit media arts organization that produces the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, the oldest ongoing film festival devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) programming currently in existence.[1] Frameline's mission statement is "to change the world through the power of queer cinema".

With annual attendance of 60,000 to 80,000 it is the largest LGBT film exhibition event in the world and it is the most well attended LGBT arts event in the San Francisco Bay Area. The 39th annual festival will be held June 18 to 28, 2015 at the Castro Theatre, Roxie Theater, and Victoria Theater in San Francisco, as well as additional venues in the East Bay.

In June 2014, the organization named Frances Wallace as its Executive Director. Previously, Wallace had worked with Frameline for over a decade as the Director of Strategic Partnerships & Senior Programmer.


The festival gives out four awards; "Best Documentary Award", the "First Feature Award", the "Audience Award", and the "Frameline Award" given annually to an individual who has played a key role in the history of LGBT cinema.[2]

The festival has encountered difficulties through its lifetime, most notably the suicide of director Mark Finch in 1995.[1] Finch jumped to his death from the Golden Gate Bridge, an event that inspired former co-director Jenni Olson's film The Joy of Life.[3] Finch has been cited as instrumental as helping the festival achieve international stature. Tess Martin, then executive director of festival sponsor Frameline Films stated "It really is international, and Mark Finch made that happen because he was involved in the international film world. He was an expert, he had a vision about it".[1]

In 2004 the festival changed its name to the shorter Frameline28,[4] the festival being the 28th annual event. Subsequent festivals have followed this naming pattern.

Guest Lauren Ambrose in 2000


In 2007 Frameline in conjunction with the Bay Area Bisexual Network hosted Bi Request a program of short films curated by Amy André, comprising a selection of films made by bisexual directors and/or about bisexual subjects.[5] In their introduction to the evening, Frameline noted that "Bi Request was inspired by Frameline’s ongoing commitment to promote bisexual visibility and display bi images in film".

Additionally, two other bisexual themed feature films were presented, The DL Chronicles[6] and The Two Sides of the Bed (Los dos lados de la cama).[7]


In March 2007, Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism and the South West Asian, North African Bay Area Queers (SWANABAQ)[8] initiated a campaign to pressure Frameline to end its relationship with the Israeli government.[9][10]

In an open letter signed by more than 100 artists and writers, including Sophie Fiennes, Elia Suleiman, Ken Loach, John Berger, Arundhati Roy, Ahdaf Soueif, Eduardo Galeano, Brian Eno, and Leon Rosselson, Frameline was asked "to honor calls for an international boycott of Israeli political and cultural institutions, by discontinuing Israeli consulate sponsorship of the LGBT film festival and not cosponsoring events with the Israeli consulate".[9][10]

In June 2007, Frameline made the unprecedented decision to pull a juried and listed film, The Gendercator, directed by Catherine Crouch, from the 2007 Festival weeks before the opening. Protests and debates surrounded the decision about the film came from mainly transgender activists and community members. Some denounced the 20-minute science fiction piece as demonising and slandering transgender people while others in the same communities protested what they saw as censorship. The film subsequently was both shown and pulled from other LGBT-related film festivals and continues to be used as a source for discussion on transgender issues, perspectives and censorship.

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  1. ^ a b c Stack, Peter, "Gay Film Festival to Go On Despite Director's Vanishing". San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, January 20, 1995, pp. D1.
  2. ^ "Awards at San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved December 19, 2006. 
  3. ^ Jenni, Olson (January 14, 2005). "Power Over Life and Death: Another toll goes up on the Golden Gate Bridge". San Francisco Chronicle. pp. B9. 
  4. ^ Meyer, Carla, "Gay festival trims name, adds screens". San Francisco Chronicle, Wednesday, May 26, 2004, pp. E1.
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ [2][dead link]
  7. ^ [3][dead link]
  8. ^ [4][dead link]
  9. ^ a b Bajko, Matthew S. "The Bay Area Reporter Online | Political Notebook: Queer activists reel over Israel, Frameline ties". Retrieved 2014-01-27. 
  10. ^ a b "San Francisco Queers Say No Pride in Apartheid". The Electronic Intifada. Retrieved 2014-01-27. 

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