San Francisco's LGBT film festival Frameline kicks off Thursday night, and it is now in its 39th year, making it the oldest continually running film fest geared to the LGBT set in the world. And every year it brings a well curated selection of international, fictional and non-fiction cinema covering topics as varied as trans youth in L.A., gay rugby players, and lesbians in post-Apartheid South Africa. Tickets for all these movies are $12 apiece, with the exception of opening and closing events, and if you can find some that fit in your schedule, you should definitely go. (Or just watch the ridiculous, high-budget trailer they made for the fest this year, starring Heklina and Peaches Christ.) Also, do note, if you happen to have next Wednesday afternoon off, Rainer Werner Fassbinder's final film Querelle, from 1982, is getting a rare screening in conjunction with a documentary about Fassbinder, which screens on Tuesday.
Do I Sound Gay?
With interviews from George Takei, Don Lemon, and, duh, David Sedaris, documentarian David Thorpe takes on the complex cultural significance of how people "sound" gay, or for that matter, how people sounds straight or sound anything to do with their sexuality. "By and large," Thorpe tells Filmmaker Magazine, "gay men have a keen awareness of how 'gay' their voices sound but rarely, if ever, talk about it. I made the movie, because I wanted to have that conversation and explore what that keen awareness might mean." If you've ever been curious about how you decided (or didn't decide) to speak, this film could, excuse the pun, get you talking. — Caleb Pershan
Castro Theatre, Sunday, June 21, 1:30 p.m. Get tickets here
Two 4 One
When trans man Adam, who used to be Melanie, rekindles a romance with a woman he used to be with named Miriam, he also ends up helping her artificially inseminate herself. And, accidentally, via a shared sex toy, he inseminates himself too, and they both get pregnant! Hilarity of a modern, gender-twisting Canadian kind ensues in this fictional film by director Maureen Bradley. Victoria Theater, Saturday, June 20, 9:30 p.m. Tickets here.
Tab Hunter Confidential
Director Jeffrey Schwarz, who presented his excellent documentary I Am Divine at Frameline two years ago, returns with a new film about long-closeted 1950s heartthrob Tab Hunter. Hunter wrote an autobiography published ten years ago titled Tab Hunter Confidential in which he first opened up about his sexuality, and now Schwarz puts his story to film, talking frankly with Hunter about his life. Says Hunter, in the trailer, "What the heck. I'm an old man. This is my life. Big deal." Castro Theatre, Saturday, June 20, at 4 p.m.
That's Not Us
Three New York couples (gay, lesbian, and straight), who represent a group of thoughtful twentysomething friends, spend an end-of-summer weekend together on Fire Island in this film of mostly improvised dialogue from director William Sullivan. It's a portrait of successful relationships and a primer in romantic communication. Castro Theatre, Sunday, June 21, 6:30 p.m. Tickets here.
Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story
On Thursday (6/25) there's a documentary about the "grandfather of gay porn," Peter de Rome. But first, on Sunday (6/21), you can catch this documentary from director Michael Stabile about the father of gay porn, Chuck Holmes, the founder of Falcon Studios. San Francisco was, after all, the birthplace of porn, both gay and straight (Stabile made an earlier short on that topic titled The Smut Capital of America, which came out in 2010), and Seed Money tells the fascinating story of how Holmes imagined and built his porn empire, which ultimately influenced the way millions of gay men across the globe thought about sex, their identity, and their own body image. Holmes also became a very rich man with aspirations to be a respected philanthropist, becoming an influential force behind groups like the Human Rights Commission, and donating the money that built the new annex of the San Francisco LGBT Center. Castro Theatre, Sunday, June 21, 9:15 p.m. Tickets here.
Out To Win
Is it just me, or have organized sports — a bastion of "traditional" politics and values — seen an explosion, if not in numbers of out athletes, then at least in the number of conversations surrounding them. Framed with the story of Michael Sam and the NFL draft, Out to Win unpacks everything from "locker room panic" to casual assumptions about the relationship between masculinity, femininity, and sexuality. If sports are the mainstream reflection of our culture we presume them to be, then what does the acceptance or non-acceptance of queer athletes tell us about ourselves? Out To Win is out to find out.— Caleb Pershan
Castro Theatre, Wednesday, June 24, 6:30 p.m. Get tickets here
Stories of Our Lives
Despite the Kenyan government's homophobic policies, there are, in fact, LGBT people in Kenya. Performing the important work of taking on their largely suppressed stories are director Jim Chuchu and artist collective The Nest. In Swahili and English with English subtitles Stories of Our Lives comes in the form of a series of five black and white vignettes adapted from 200 interviews. Those range from the story of a lesbian couple who must live disguised as sisters to the tale of a man outed as gay who must choose to flee or stand his ground.— Caleb Pershan
Castro Theatre, Saturday, June 27, 1:30 p.m. Get tickets here
Sexually tens and set partly in a strip club, Dianna Agron from Glee stars in director Natalia Leite's Bare as a young woman in Nevada who fears a future of poverty and boredom. Enter a drifter named Pepper, played by Paz de la Huerta of Boardwalk Empire, who is equal parts mess and messenger. “If you don’t make your own choices in life, the world makes them for you,” says Pepper, so naturally, the two road trip to Reno and have a very complicated, calculated, spontaneous, and manipulative relationship. — Caleb Pershan
Castro Theatre, Sunday, June 28, 7:00 p.m. Get tickets here.