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Frameline30: The San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival

The cure for saccharine summer fare

The 30th San Francisco International LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Transsexual, and Transgender) Film Festival kicks off on June 15 with one of the largest selection of films the festival has ever seen. 266 films from 33 countries will be screened over the course of ten days of screenings (June 15 - June 25). Unquestionably, it’s been a remarkable year for queer cinema with the ascent of Brokeback Mountain and Transamerica. A number of the films included in Frameline 30 show the potential to appeal not only to the LGBT community, but a much larger audience.

Some of the breakout films include:

Time To Leave (Le temps qui rest)
Francois Ozon (Swimming Pool, 8 Women) weaves a thoughtful and melancholy tale about a high flying, self absorbed, gay photographer who finds himself suffering from terminal cancer. This life rending event send Romain (Melvil Poupaud) down a path of healing and reconciliation as he ties up loose ends before his waning days expire.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Another Gay Movie
It’s not just the heteros who want to get laid before high school graduation! This shameless parody (reimagining?) of American Pie focuses on the crazy, gay sexcapades of four of the horniest ‘booty virgins’ you’ve ever seen. The foursome (ménage a quad anyone?) make a pact to drop their ass virginity like a bad habit before the end of the summer. Needless to say, losing it is more complicated and comical than they ever expected!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Queer Duck
A hilarious animated film following the adventures of Queer Duck, his lover Openly Gaytor, Bi-Polar Bear, Oscar Wildcat, and brilliant cast of bizarre characters. Former “The Simpsons” writer Mike Reiss brings his Showtime characters to the big screen in hysterical fashion. Queer Duck finds himself in a conundrum as he begins questioning his sexual identity. Fortunately, “Homo No Mo” offers a gay shock treatment that’s sure to eliminate any doubt. Queer Duck lays on the gay humor hot and heavy with a brilliant result.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Pick Up the Mic
Rap and hip-hop has historically provided an outlet for the disenfranchised. Ironically, another historically disenfranchised community has been a target in countless rap/hip-hop songs. Pick Up the Mic explores the burgeoning growth of gay MCs, hip-hop artists, and rappers who are successfully using the art form to empower themselves and their community.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

George Michael: A Different Story
An ardently private man, George Michael openly discusses the myriad highs and lows of both his personal and professional life. A complex individual, Michael has often eschewed mainstream commercial success and pursued a contrarian, iconoclastic path, sometimes to his detriment. What comes through is a portrait of a sensitive, intelligent, talented, and endearingly flawed individual.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A few other films that warrant a view:

The rampant usage of crystal methamphetamine (aka “Tina”) within the gay community is explored in this powerful documentary that illuminates just how destructive and damaging “Tina” has been and continues to be in the gay community.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Camp Out
As if growing up isn’t tough enough, it’s especially difficult for the teenage “YQCQC” (young, gay, Christian or questioning Christian) attendees of The Naming Project Camp at Bay Lake in Minnesota. This revealing documentary exposes some fairly significant paradigm shifts that may be taking place in some of the most unlikely institutions.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Fat Girls
Director Ash Christian crafts a darkly comical coming of age story about a sensitive gay boy (aka “fat girl”) marooned in the ninth ring of hell (middle of nowhere, Texas). Rodney’s only solace is his “fat girl” friend, Sabrina and an aloof English stud, Joey. Pain and discomfort has rarely been so amusing.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

With virtually every genre represented, Frameline 30: The San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival provides a plethora of opportunities to explore, question, and laugh at the multitude of challenges surrounding sexual identity.