With about 220 movies representing 31 countries, there is truly something for everyone - 32 transgender films, nine African American, 13 Asian, 16 Latino and three that have appeal to the bear community.
The bears will be able to relate to "BearCity," a feature US film release or the documentary "Bear Nation." Bears will also be represented a bit in the fascinating "The Adonis Factor," a successful companion piece to last year's wonderful "The Butch Factor."
Trannys are well-represented at the festival. The beautiful and heartfelt love story of "Elvis & Madona" from Brazil can actually be billed as a straight love story since "Elvis" is a butch dyke who develops feelings for the tran "Madona." And one of the centerpieces of the festival is also trans-oriented with the screening of the documentary "Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar."
From the array of countries represented, films from Latin and South America take center stage at this year's festival. Besides Brazil's "Elvis," Peru's "Undertow" is generating a lot of buzz – thanks to its success at the Sundance Film Festival – and will likely melt hearts thanks to its love story and sexy cast. Then there's Argentina's "Plan B" - about a straight man who plans to seduce the bisexual boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend in order to get her back. With a plot so intriguing, it's hard not to want to see it.
This year's festival also pays tribute to writers. The opening night film "The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister" is a lush, narrative love story from the United Kingdom about the 19th century writer. Or perhaps seeing her story as a documentary is more your cup of tea, so you might catch "The Real Anne Lister." The closing night film also deals with a writer. James Franco plays noted poet Allen Ginsberg in "Howl," an impressive narrative feature from Oscar winning documentary directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman.
The festival also will screen a favorite at the recent Cannes Film Festival - Canada's "I Killed My Mother" from writer-drector-actor Xavier Dolan, who despite his young age, has received accolades wherever this film is shown.
Classic film fans might favor the instant classic "Baby Jane?" - a drag version of the classic Bette Davis and Joan Crawford melodrama that pays tribute and makes fun of the original all at the same time. Matthew Martin truly channels Bette Davis as he chews up the scenery and is equally matched by J. Conrad Frank in the Crawford part. And since the film is made in San Francisco, don't count out local drag legend Heklina as the noisy neighbor from stealing a scene or two.
And if the feature and documentary films weren't enough, there's still those fun in boys and girls shorts as well as some other promising shorts: the "Are You Krazy?" collection includes the funny "Chico's Angels" and "Deep Red" has a lot of stories of young men and their haunting tales; the Israeli lead character's very lucious lips are reason enough to view this set. And the "Skinnyfat" shorts' collection tells stories of body issues - whether you're skinny or fat.
There's so much more to the film festival then reported here and there is certainly more coverage coming soon.
Tickets are $8-10 and movies will be playing at San Francisco's Castro Theatre, Victoria Theatre, Roxie Theatre and Berkeley's Rialto Elmwood Theatre. For addresses, showtimes and full details, go to www.frameline.org.