XXY Wins Best Feature, Pageant Wins Best Documentary, No Bikini Wins Best Short Film

The world’s largest and oldest film festival celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender films and filmmakers, Frameline32, the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival closed Sunday, June 29 with a gala screening of Laurie Lynd’s BREAKFAST WITH SCOT, followed by a Closing Night party and awards show. In addition to the 59,000 audience members who cast ballots throughout the festival, famed filmmakers and icons of LGBT cinema attended the close of the festival’s 32nd incarnation, both in person and via video messages to bid farewell to Michael Lumpkin, the festival’s out-going Artistic Director of twenty-five years. Frameline32 screened 237 films in eleven days from June 19 through June 29 at the Castro Theatre, the Roxie Film Center, the Victoria Theatre, and the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood in Berkeley.

Taking home awards from this year’s biggest LGBT film festival were filmmakers who blurred gender lines with audience-pleasing hits. The Audience Award for Best Feature Film belongs to first-time director from Argentina, Lucia Puenzo for her film XXY about an intersex youth who is forced to choose a gender while navigating the obstacles of adolescence. Another first-time filmmaker, Ron Davis and co-director Stewart Halpern won the Audience Award for Best Documentary for their film PAGEANT, which follows five would-be beauty “queens” as they compete for the crown of Miss Gay America. The Canadian favorite NO BIKINI, directed by Claudia Morgado Escanilla about a 7-year old girl who decides to forego her swimsuit’s top at summer camp took the Audience Award for Best Short Film.

Despite only three winners of this year’s Audience Awards, many films of the Frameline32 festival were honored with standing ovations, standing-room-only question and answer sessions with the filmmakers and cast, and laughter and cheers throughout that were often heard from the street. Among the festival hits were opening night film, AFFINITY, attended by the celebrated author Sarah Waters and the film’s star Anna Madeley; STEAM, attended by director Kyle Schickner and star Ally Sheedy; the musical, WERE THE WORLD MINE, attended by director Tom Gustafson and star Tanner Cohen; the documentary CHRIS & DON: A LOVE STORY, attended by co-directors Tina Mascara and Guido Santi and the film’s subject, Don Bachardy.

“The Frameline32 audience was by far the most enthusiastic audience for PAGEANT so far this year and one that we will never forget,” said co-director and executive producer Ron Davis, upon hearing of his award. “Going on to win the audience award for best documentary was a truly amazing experience for us. We couldn't be more proud.”

The popularity of the oldest LGBT film festival in the world continued in Frameline32, as many films played to sold-out audiences, including: AFFINITY, ALL MY LIFE; ANOTHER GAY SEQUEL: GAYS GONE WILD!; ANTARCTICA; THE EDGE OF HEAVEN; A JIHAD FOR LOVE; OUT IN INDIA: A FAMILY’S JOURNEY; READY? OK!; THE SENSEI; TAL COMO SOMOS/JUST AS WE ARE; TONGZHI IN LOVE; WILD COMBINATION: A PORTRAIT OF ARTHUR RUSSELL; Centerpiece Film XXY; and Closing Night Film, BREAKFAST WITH SCOT. Several shorts programs also sold out.

Audiences were thrilled throughout the festival by the attendance of high-profile directors and stars who led intimate discussions following the films in the AT&T Festival Pavilion, attended parties, and stayed to watch other films. Among some of Frameline32’s many guest attendees were Margaret Cho, Del Shores, Beth Grant and Ann Walker of SORDID LIVES: the Series; Project Runway’s Jay McCarroll of ELEVEN MINUTES; the Kinsey Sicks; TRU LOVED’s Alec Mapa; the stars of ANOTHER GAY SEQUEL: GAYS GONE WILD!, including Perez Hilton; and Michael Emerson of television’s “Lost” attended with his wife and READY? OK! co-star, Carrie Preston.

Frameline32’s Closing Night marked the end of an era, as Michael Lumpkin, Frameline’s Artistic Director bid his adieu to the festival after 25 years. Sending him off in style were some of the greatest influencers of modern queer and general-market film, including Strand Releasing’s Marcus Hu, film critic and author B. Ruby Rich and director Bruce LaBruce who offered in-person thanks to Lumpkin and introduced special guest Gus Van Sant. The prolific director’s first feature film, MALA NOCHE gained its U.S. premiere in 1986 after Van Sant and Lumpkin met and befriended each other at that year’s Berlin International Film Festival.

“No one was interested in distributing [MALA NOCHE], until Michael Lumpkin took a chance and brought it to this festival in 1986,” remarked director Gus Van Sant during Frameline32 closing night ceremonies at the Castro Theatre. He went on to quip, “Michael was so nice, too. I remember I slept on his floor!”

Well-wishes for Michael Lumpkin were also conveyed from film producer Christine Vachon, directors Tom Kalin and Gregg Araki, and film legends Barbara Hammer and John Waters via video message. Speaking to a packed house at the Castro, the well-beloved Michael Lumpkin used a festival slogan to convey his thanks, “This really is a happy ending.”

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