Frameline celebrates 32 years with daring lineup 

A gay Egyptian attempts to live outside of the closet, women behind bars go gothic and a teen boldly comes to terms with love and gender identity in Argentina.

It’s all part of this year’s Frameline, which opens June 19. But by the time the last curtain falls on The City’s 32nd annual International LGBT Film Festival, it may be remembered for delivering the most daring offerings to date.

Part of that has to do with diversity. After screening more than 400 films, festival coordinators whittled down this year’s celluloid crop to nearly 250 entries. What audiences get are eight world premieres, a slew of first-time directors from around the globe and the talents of 46 local filmmakers.

"We want to have a place for every kind of voice and segment of the community," says Michael Lumpkin, Frameline’s artistic director. "And we don’t shy away from featuring films that are controversial or may not have a large audience."

At the top of the locals list may be "2nd Verse: The Rebirth of Poetry," directed by Carl Brown, screening at 6 p.m. June 20 at the Roxie. The surprisingly upbeat documentary chronicles the rise in popularity of poetry and spoken word for Bay Area teens. Another standout is "The Kinsey Sicks: Almost Infamous," a documentary screening at 6 p.m., June 28 at the Castro Theatre, revolving around the popular Bay Area drag foursome.

The festival’s opening-night film "Affinity" is based on the Sarah Waters novel, which finds one upper-class woman coming emotionally undone behind bars. It screens at 7 p.m., June 19 at the Castro Theatre.

Frameline’s centerpiece offering, "XXY," which screens June 24 at the Castro Theatre, is a mindbending work from Argentina directed by first-time filmmaker Lucia Puenzo. The story revolves around a 15-year-old intersex teen who falls for the teenage son of the plastic surgeon overseeing her final gender decision.

"It’s one of the best films I’ve seen in years," Lumpkin says. "I think it raises a lot of important questions and issues for our community in terms of gender."

The list of must-sees rolls on, but take note of the following:

"Pageant" — The Bay Area’s Alina Malletti is one of a gaggle of drag performers vying for the Miss Gay America crown. [9:30 p.m., June 26 at the Victoria Theatre]

"Tru Loved" — Heartwarming fare, loaded with celebrity cameos, which finds a straight teen, with two sets of gay parents, who forms a Gay Straight Alliance at her high school. [4 p.m., June 21; and noon, June 25 at the Castro Theatre]

"Sordid Lives: The Television Series" — It hits Logo this summer, but the wildly inventive series starring Leslie Jordan, Olivia Newton-John and others gets a sneak peek here. [1:15 p.m., June 28 at the Castro Theatre]

"All My Life" — a vivid depiction, both emotionally and visually, of homosexual life in Egypt. [8:30 p.m., June 22 at the Valencia]

Meanwhile, the screen fades to black on a Frameline legend, Lumpkin, who leaves his post this year after overseeing 25 festivals.

"I am most proud of how much ownership our community has of Frameline," Lumpkin says. "When your community thinks of the event as ‘their’ film festival, you know that you have succeeded."

IF YOU GO

Frameline

Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St.; Roxie Film Center, 3117 16th St, Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St., San Francisco; also at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood, 2966 College Ave,, Berkeley

When: June 19-29

Tickets: $8 to $10 most programs; discount passes available

Info: www.frameline.org

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