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View Count: 110 |  Publish Date: May 22, 2013
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Frameline37: Gay film fest ready to laugh

In an era of rapid social change, the 37th edition of Framelines San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival might turn out to be one of the most memorable of all. But as serious as some issues are, the overriding message is to lighten up.
From an opening-night film, Concussion, a dramedy that has brilliant comedic moments, to a closing-night film, G.B.F., a high school comedy, Frameline37 (June 20-30) comes with a laugh track. Consider that the Frameline Award for career achievement goes to writer-director Jamie Babbit, known for comedies such as 1999s But Im a Cheerleader, which screens this year as part of the tribute. Or that Peaches Christ will host the campiest, gayest horror thriller of all, A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddys Revenge. The 2006 animated Happy Feet even gets a screening.
In the past few years weve seen films that are pessimistic in their tone or even quite melancholy, Frameline Executive Director K.C. Price said. This year we had a lot less films (submitted) that were that way. I dont know what the reason for that is, but the festival was ripe for having a lighter, more buoyant feel, and its reflective in quite a number of films.Prop. 8 ruling looms
Perhaps the spirit of the fest could be summed up by the documentary on the late San Francisco poet, filmmaker and artist James Broughton, Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton. As Armistead Maupin said, He had a way of getting at the serious and focusing on the silly.
Thats Frameline37 in a nutshell, and this years festival has a serious issue looming that could kill the mood rather quickly, or liven things up even more: The Supreme Courts decision on Proposition 8 - the law banning same-sex marriage in California that was passed by voters in 2008 - is expected to be handed down during the festival.
Thats going to add to the moment - especially if the news is good news, Price said. We do have a film called The Campaign about Proposition 8 that relates to this Supreme Court decision being made.
The Campaign, made by San Francisco filmmaker Christie Herring, as well as Big Joy, are two of almost 50 films with a Bay Area connection - either filmed here or made by local filmmakers.
Highlights include the documentary The Battle of amfAR by directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, who won the 1990 best documentary Oscar for Common Threads: Stories From the Quilt; Interior. Leather Bar, a reimagining of the 40 minutes of footage cut from Cruising, William Friedkins 1980 lightning rod with Al Pacino undercover in New Yorks leather world, co-directed by James Franco and Upper Haight resident Travis Mathews; and the Franco-produced documentary Kink, about what goes on behind the walls of the former armory at 14th and Mission.Nepal, Cambodia
There is also a spotlight on Asian queer cinema, including what are believed to be the first gay films from Nepal and Cambodia.
G.B.F. is the perfect close to the fest on June 30. The title stands for gay best friend, and it is about two gay high school students who want to be outed to be popular.
I cant help think that its a sign of the times, Price said of this years comedies. People might be in better spirits about things.Frameline37
What: San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival.
When: June 20-30.
Where: Castro Theatre, Roxie Theater and Victoria Theatre in San Francisco and the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood in Berkeley.
Information: Tickets go on sale to Frameline members Friday and to the general public May 31. www.frameline.org.
Opening-night film: Concussion, starring Robin Weigert, followed by gala at Terra Gallery.
Closing night: G.B.F., comedy starring Michael J. Willett and Megan Mullally, followed by gala at Temple Nightclub.
Other highlights: 240 films from 29 countries; Frameline Award presented to director Jamie Babbit; centerpiece narrative is Polands In the Name Of, winner of Teddy Award at Berlin Film Festival in February; centerpiece documentary is Valentine Road, about a 2008 California hate crime; special Midnight Mass screening of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddys Revenge hosted by Peaches Christ; aspecial focus on queer Asian cinema.
G. Allen Johnson is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: ajohnson@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @BRfilmsAllen

Time: 14:15  |  News Code: 261815  |  Site: San Francisco Chronicle
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