The 2019 Frameline Completion FundAward Winners Highlight Challenges and Joys LGBTQ+ People Face Today

Frameline awards $30,000 to seven fearless LGBTQ+ projects

SAN FRANCISCO, February 5, 2020 – Frameline, the world’s largest non-profit organization solely dedicated to the funding, exhibition, distribution, and promotion of LGBTQ+ cinema, announces seven awardees of the Frameline Completion Fund: AHEAD OF THE CURVE; DISCLOSURE: TRANS LIVES ON SCREEN; ELLIE & ABBIE (& ELLIE’S DEAD AUNT); LA LEYENDA NEGRA; MY MOM AND MY LITTLE SECRET; BUCK; and WERE YOU GAY IN HIGH SCHOOL?

“This year’s grantees are a perfect mix of the challenges and joys LGBTQ+ people face today,” says Frameline’s Director of Programming, Paul Struthers. “From transgender representation in film and TV in DISCLOSURE: TRANS LIVES ON SCREEN, to the struggles of immigrants in the United States today in LA LEYENDA NEGRA, to fun times in Australia’s first lesbian coming-of-age rom com in ELLIE & ABBIE (& ELLIE’S DEAD AUNT).”

The seven grantees were chosen out of 173 submissions that included features and shorts in documentary, narrative, and episodic.

A total of $30,000 was awarded in this 2019 Completion Fund cycle. Since 1990, Frameline has awarded $570,000 to 163 film projects by and about the LGBTQ+ community.

“We are thrilled with this year’s outstanding slate of grantees, all of which will make their Bay Area premieres at Frameline,” states James Woolley, Frameline’s new Executive Director. “To celebrate 30 years of the Completion Fund, we increased the fund from $25,000 to $30,000 to continue Frameline’s dedication to connecting filmmakers and audiences in San Francisco and across the globe.”

The independent jury selecting this year’s grantees included Mill Valley Film Festival World Cinema Programmer and Festival Mix Brazil Director of Programming, João Federici; filmmaker and Executive Director of the Roxie Theater, Lex Sloan; and film producer (TRANSFINITE) and founder and CEO of Transgress Studios LLC, Stefano Gonzalez.

2019 Frameline Completion Fund Grantees:


Directed by Jen Rainin | Documentary Feature | USA

AHEAD OF THE CURVE is the story of one of the most influential women in lesbian history you’ve never heard of: Franco Stevens, the founding publisher of Curve Magazine. Franco’s story unfolds through intimate interviews with magazine staff, celebrities, and cultural critics and features extraordinary footage from Franco’s personal collection and LGBTQ+ archives. Franco helped to lay the groundwork for intersectional movements being led by today’s activists in the face of accelerating threats to the LGBTQ+ community.


Directed by Sam Feder | Documentary Feature | USA

Sam Feder (Queer Teen Romance, Frameline33) directs DISCLOSURE: TRANS LIVES ON SCREEN, an unprecedented look at the depiction of transgender people and experiences throughout the history of film and television. Over 100 years of footage is interwoven with the personal stories of celebrated trans creatives and thinkers, showing both the consequences of depicting marginalized communities without their participation, and the liberating potential of the medium when their voices are centered. Featuring interviews with Laverne Cox, Angelica Ross, Jen Richards and more.


Directed by Runze Yu | Documentary Feature | USA

MY MOM AND MY LITTLE SECRET is an intimate portrait of the filmmaker—a closeted gay man—and his estranged mother, as they try to navigate the fast-changing culture of China today. As Runze puts effort into learning more about his mother, he finds that like all in China’s older generation, her number one focus is for her son to get his own apartment, marry, and have a child. As the director quotes, “If coming out is ever easy, that’s certainly not the case in China.”


Directed by Monica Zanetti | Narrative Feature | Australia

Australia’s first lesbian coming-of-age rom com, ELLIE & ABBIE (& ELLIE’S DEAD AUNT) tells the story of Ellie, a tenacious year 12 student and captain of her school, who has recently realized she has fallen for a girl in her class, Abbie. As the two grow closer, a parallel storyline of Tara (Ellie’s lesbian aunt who died before Ellie was born) plays out. Returning from the dead as Ellie’s “Fairy Godmother,” Tara’s romantic advice from the ‘80s has Ellie reluctant to listen.


Directed by Patricia Vidal Delgado | Narrative Feature | USA

LA LEYENDA NEGRA is a coming-of-age story set against a politically-charged backdrop within the South Central Hispanic community. Aleteia, a tough, intelligent activist, is new to Compton High School and has few friends. She unexpectedly befriends Rosarito, one of the more popular girls at school who is tired of being overshadowed by her clique. As the two grow closer, Aleteia’s temporary protection status becomes compromised. She resists the forces that wish to deport her from the US – which she has always called home. 


Directed by Elegance Bratton & Jovan James | Narrative Short | USA

Co-directed by Frameline alum Elegance Bratton (My House, Frameline42), BUCK is the story of Lynn, a young gay Black man in the midst of a depressive fugue who resorts to debauchery as a way to lift his mood. He soon discovers that his Blackness is the drug of choice for his lover and that there is no running away from one’s problems, only running into them.


Directed by Niki Ang | Narrative Short | USA

Two queer women, Hannah and Kelly, recall their awkward, closeted high school days of kissing boys and crushing on straight girls. WERE YOU GAY IN HIGH SCHOOL? jumps between their present-day conversation and high school flashbacks, which are both cringeworthy and silly, hilarious and painful. With elements of bright, comic-like animation, we learn more about the defining moments of self-discovery in these women’s lives.

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