Frameline Film Festival or Frameline, formerly known as the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival is the oldest film festival devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender programming currently in existence.[1] According to Frameline's mission statement, the organization "strengthen the diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and further its visibility by supporting and promoting a broad array of cultural representations and artistic expression in film, video and other media arts."

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 festival makes four awards, the "Frameline Award", the "Best Documentary Award", the "First Feature Award" and an "Audience Award".[2]


The festival's founding has been described in the San Francisco Chronicle as "a storefront event in 1976" at 32 Page Street,[1] whilst the official website for the Festival's organizers, Frameline, describes the festival as "Founded in 1977".[3] From 1977 to 1980, the festival was primarily at the Roxie Cinema at 16th and Valencia Streets, and then at the Roxie and the Castro Theater at Castro and Market Streets.

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 which inspired former co-director Jenni Olson's film The Joy of Life.[4] Finch has been cited as instrumental as helping the festival achieve international stature, Tess Martin, then executive director of festival sponsor Frameline Films stating "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,[5] the festival being the 28th annual event. Subsequent festivals have followed this naming pattern.

Frameline32 will take place June 19 – 29, 2008, at the Castro, Roxie, and Victoria Theaters.[6] It will feature more than 245 features and short films, from narratives and documentaries to experimental and animated works. The opening night film on June 19, 2008 will be Affinity based on the 1999 novel Affinity by Sarah Waters, and the closing night film will be Breakfast with Scot on June 29.


In 2007 Frameline in conjunction with the Bay Area Bisexual Network hosted Bi Request a program of shorts curated by Amy André, comprising a selection of films made by bisexual directors and/or about bisexual subjects.[7] 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"[8] and "The Two Sides of the Bed (Los dos lados de la cama)".[9]


In March, 2007, Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism and the South West Asian, North African Bay Area Queers (SWANABAQ) initiated a campaign to pressure Frameline to end its relationship with the Israeli government.[1][2] In an open letter signed by more than 100 artists and writers, including Sophie Fiennes, Elia Suleiman, Ken Loach, Haim Bresheeth, Jenny Morgan, 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."[3][4]

In June 2007 Frameline made the unprecedented decision to pull a juried and listed film, The Gendercator 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.

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 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 on 2006-12-19.
  3. About Frameline. Official Frameline website. Retrieved on 2006-12-19.
  4. Jenni, Olson. "Power Over Life and Death: Another toll goes up on the Golden Gate Bridge", San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, January 14, 2005, pp. B9. 
  5. Meyer, Carla, "Gay festival trims name, adds screens". San Francisco Chronicle, Wednesday, May 26, 2004, pp. E1.
  6. Frameline homepage. Retrieved on 2006-12-19.
  7. Films: Bi Request
  8. Films: The DL Chronicles
  9. Films: The Two Sides of the Bed

External linksEdit

  • Frameline homepage, organizers of the San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

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