Alan Cumming stars in “After Louie,” which screens at the Castro on June 25. (Courtesy Frameline41)

Alan Cumming comes to town for Frameline

Alan Cumming refuses to pigeon-hole his new film “After Louie” as an AIDS picture.

“It’s a film about a lack of intergenerational communication,” says the “The Good Wife” actor, who will be in San Francisco this weekend for the screening of the film, which closes the 41st San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival on Sunday, and to accept the 2017 Frameline Award for his contributions as a performer and activist.

“It’s not specific to the AIDS or gay world,” says Cumming. “But thanks to technology and the world today, that kind of failure to really comprehend older or younger generations has a lot of resonance for people who’ve lived through AIDS and are dealing with being gay in the world today.”

In the movie co-written and directed by Vincent Gagliostro, Cumming plays Sam, a jaded artist still grappling with his ex-lover’s AIDS-related death. His politically motivated attitude about the disease differs from that of his new, younger lover, Braeden (Zachary Booth).

Upon first reading the script — which is based on Gagliostro’s late friend William Wilson’s memoir “After Louie” — the Scottish actor immediately recognized the story’s two opposing factions as familiar characters from his own life; there are the members of the older generation, who, like Sam, are stuck in the trauma of the AIDS epidemic and closed off to young people, and then there are the younger crop of queers, who are flippant about their history.

“I thought, ‘This is all around me, and yet I’ve never seen it so eloquently put or discussed,’” he says. “That was why I wanted to do it.”

Observing millennials at bars and clubs, Cumming — who’s planning to open Club Cumming in New York’s East Village in the fall — worries that many are missing out on eye-opening encounters with people of all ages by burying their heads in messaging and hookup apps.

“I see people on their phones, in a bar,” Cumming says. “I think, ‘What are you looking at? Hello, there are a lot of people standing right next to you.’ We all have to talk more and accept the fact that we have massive PTSD about the horrors of the AIDS epidemic and a missing generation of older mentors in gay life. That’s something the film talks about, too. What I love about the film is that it brings all these issues out and you see both sides and both groups learn and grow from it. But we’ve got to keep talking about this.”

IF YOU GO
After Louie
Frameline41 Closing Night and Award Presentation
Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F.
When: 7 p.m. June 25
Tickets: $35
Contact: www.frameline.org/festival
Note: Alan Cumming also appears in “Concert for America: Stand Up, Sing Out!” with Seth Rudesky, James Wesley, Jane Lynch, Kate Flannery, Kevin Chamberlin, Faith Prince and the S.F. Gay Men’s Chorus at 7 p.m. June 24 at the Curran, 445 Geary St., S.F; for tickets ($20-$110), visit www.sfcurran.com.

Just Posted

SF becomes first U.S. city to ban sale of e-cigarettes

Legislation expected to be challenged by Juul-backed ballot measure

DA candidates offer competing proposals to help sexual assault survivors

Four political newcomers seek to distinguish themselves in race for vacant seat

Staff cuts leave city garages unattended

Attendant positions cut in response to reduced demand for parking, improved technology

Ronen, Fewer threaten to block Mayor Breed’s $10M teacher stipend proposal

Plan could increase incentives to attract and retain faculty at some schools to as much as $5K

Most Read