Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Frameline 33 (SF LGBT Film Festival, 2009) - Short Subjects Overview

Frameline33: San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, the world’s premiere showcase for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender cinema, runs June 18-28, 2009, with screenings in San Francisco at the historic Castro Theatre, Roxie Theater and the Victoria Theatre, and in Berkeley at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood. Tickets are available via the website 24 hours a day, via fax, or in person at the Frameline Festival Box Office Counter.

Of the 219 films appearing in Frameline 33's festival program this year, 141 are short films. The majority of these are grouped together into related topics (i.e. boys, girls, trannies, documentaries, art, etc.), while some accompany features, and a few of the lengthier ones (45 minutes) are paired with a short or two. I love the Shorts Programs, as you can find "pitch films", new directors and some veterans, who are stretching their skills.

This year, Frameline is featuring 17 programs exclusively showcasing shorts. (Missing this year are the "Boys/Girls From the Bay" programs of locally produced shorts. Probably due to number submitted?) I was quite fortunate to be able to preview 10 of those programs, which included over 70 films. Here briefly, are my enthusiastic recommendations! (Links to detailed capsule reviews are linked, as well as the program recaps, which are listed at the bottom of this post.)

In my humble opinion, LIE TOGETHER (dir. Jeanette L. Buck, USA, 2008, 14 min.) is by far the outstanding piece of the shorts I previewed. It screens with BACK TO LIFE, and is worth the price of admission to the entire program, as well as the time spent waiting for it to appear.

Perhaps the best performance featured in the festival, much less the shorts program, is by Deb Margolin in COUNTERTRANSFERENCE (dir. Madeleine Olnek, USA, 2008, 16 min.) She could well be THE female Buster Keaton or Woody Allen! This piece plays with the EXTREMELY popular FUN IN GIRLS SHORTS program, which features a number a fun films! The program plays twice, so even though the first screening may be sold out, the second screening, on Pride Day, is usually available.

Of the documentaries, I always look forward to GLOBAL QUEERS which highlights activism and lifestyle challenges from around the globe. If I were to have to choose a single film to recommend, it would have to be GENERAL IDEA: ART, AIDS AND THE FIN de SIECLE (dir. Annette Mangaard, Canada, 2008 ,48 min.) for simply taking me back to when I first arrived in San Francisco, not to mention an all too rare glimpse at one of the most interesting artists that were working during those crazy years in the '80s and '90s. The film is featured in CALLING ALL NERDS AND ART FREAKS.

There is also another biography worth noting. GET HAPPY (dir. Mark Payne, USA, 2008, 27 min.) It is the pearl in an oyster bed of drag shorts! I LOVED IT! It is a quick biography of make up artist and performer Mark Payne, who, as it turns out, will be performing at the Opening Night Party, and I HOPE will be convinced to share a little at the screening of the film! It plays in the program of the same name, GET HAPPY.

Speaking of "art" there are several animated selections. In fact, I almost dedicated an entire posting to them! But there is one that stands out in my mind. NUMEROLOGY (dir. Paula Durette, USA, 2009, 3 min.) I do not know how to begin to describe this DELIGHTFUL short animation that "unveils the mysteries of lesbians through the occult arts"! This screens in the DYKE DELIGHTS program.

Now, you might have noticed that I haven't really included a "boy flick." Odd that. However, this year, though there are numerous "good" flicks in the mens programs, there wasn't one that really stuck with me. However, with the dozens and dozens of screenings, not to mention that I have only seen HALF of the films, I'm sure there could be a new classic in there, somewhere.

Of the remaining programs that I have not seen, I am very excited about SWISS TREATS (a collection of films from Switzerland, which appears to be in place of the usual Australian program), CANYON CINEMA'S QUEER UNDERGROUND (a retrospective of Canyon Cinema's distribution history), and THE YOUNG AND THE LOST (a collection of "amazing, provocative and haunting shorts about young men"), as well as SAN FRANCISCO (dir. Margaret Cho, USA, 2009, 6 mins.) which accompanies the feature, AND THEN CAME LOLA.

Here are the links to my detailed recaps of each the Short Subject Programs that were available to me for preview:


Maxxxxx says
re LIE TOGETHER: "I love you too!"

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