“Ahead of the Curve,” a documentary about visionary lesbian Curve magazine, screens during the online Frameline44 Pride Showcase and at the West Wind Solano Drive-In Theater in Concord on June 28. (Courtesy Frameline)

Frameline announces SF Pride weekend showcase

Big LGBTQ+ film festival offers movies and more in virtual programming

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Frameline, San Francisco’s esteemed annual LGBTQ+ film festival, is hosting a special San Francisco Pride 2020 weekend program with virtual offerings.

While the festival originally scheduled for June 18-28 has been postponed until a date to be announced, organizers have partnered with the Castro Theatre to present the four-day Frameline44 Pride Showcase, running June 25-28 in connection with SF Pride’s 50th anniversary.

The lineup includes international and national premieres, features, documentaries and shorts as well as live and pre-recorded introductions, and question-and-answer sessions.

With activism among the program’s themes, Frameline Executive Director James Woolley said, “Pride Month has begun with riots and protests in the face of systemic injustice. The LGBTQ+ community is no stranger to these issues and we honor and support all those raising their voices in dissent and demanding equality.”

Paul Struthers, Frameline’s director of exhibition and programming, added, “Frameline believes that the courageous act of sharing your story can change the world. We are honored to present a lineup of films during the Pride Showcase that upholds our mission of providing a platform to showcase diverse voices.”

Among program highlights are the world premiere of Sue Williams’ documentary “Denise Ho – Becoming the Song,” about 43-year old Hong Kong lesbian pop diva known as much for her singing as for her human rights activism.

Actress Gemma Arterton is slated to participate in a Q&A following the presentation of “Summerland,” a World War II era film by Jessica Swale in which she plays a solitary writer whose life is changed when a child evacuate from the London Blitz is placed in her home.

Director Isabel Sandoval’s “Lingua Franca” tells the story of the unlikely romance between an undocumented Filipina trans woman and the black sheep grandson of the older Jewish woman she takes care of.

P. David Ebersole’s and Todd Hughes’ “House of Cardin” profiles self-made fashion designer Pierre Cardin, Including interviews with Naomi Campbell, Sharon Stone, Dionne Warwick and detailing his attempts to diversify the catwalks of Paris with models of color wearing his looks.

In “Welcome to Chechnya,” a prize-winning documentary at Sundance directed by David France, queer activists describe their experiences of detention and torture at the hands of Ramzan Kadyrov, the Putin-backed strongman who was on a mission to “cleanse” the country of gay men.

In addition to screening online, the world premiere of Jen Rainin’s documentary “Ahead of the Curve,” about the birth, life and viability of visionary lesbian magazine Curve (founded in 1990 by Frances “Franco” Stevens) screens at 9 p.m. June 27 at the West Wind Solano Drive-In Theater in Concord. (Tickets to the drive-in show are $23-$25.)

On a local front comes director Thom Fitzgerald’s San Francisco-set “Stage Mother,” described as a cross between “Sister Act” and “Sordid Lives” with a dash of “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” Jacki Weaver, who stars along Lucy Liu, Adrian Grenier, and Mya Taylor, appears in a Q&A.

“Parade,” a 10-minute short by Ronald Chase, includes footage of San Francisco’s first Pride parade, believed to be lost for decades.

Frameline’s popular series — “Fun in Boys Shorts,” “Fun in Girls Shorts,” and “Transtastic” short films – also are part of the weekend showcase. It includes the premiere of the high-profile “Island Queen,” which features Rachel Dratch and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who appear in a Q&A following the presentation.

Tickets ($8-$10 for most screenings) and passes (starting at $250, valid for a year) are available at frameline.org.

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