Largest LGBTQ+ film festival to showcase South Asian-themed films

A scene from "Rani."

Frameline, billed as the world’s longest-running and largest showcase of queer cinema,will showcase several South Asian-themed features and shorts during its 43rd annual festival. Called Frameline43, the San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, will be held from June 20-30 in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland.

This year’s slate includes 59 films screening for the first time in the U.S., including 22 world premieres, 8 international premieres, 12 North American premieres, and 17 U.S. premieres. The lineup also contains 22 first narrative features.

Thirty-eight countries will be represented, including China, Argentina, Brazil, Iran, Italy, Romania, Vietnam, India, Guatemala, and Indonesia.

Films with South-Asian themes include “Kattumaram,” by Swarnavel Eswaran; Neelu Bhuman’s “Transfinite”; Serena Chopra & Kasey Ferlic’s “Dogana/Chapti”; Poonam Brah’s “Home Girl” and “Rani” by director Hammad Rizvi.

“Frameline is thrilled to return for our 43rd year, serving as a platform for the world’s finest in LGBTQ+ content,” a Framelines press release quoted executive director Frances Wallace as saying. “I’m always invigorated by the film artists who present a fresh slate of astounding storytelling each year that continues to educate and inspire us all.”

“Kattumaram” tells the story of Singaram, who works as a fisherman to care for his orphaned niece and nephew In a small village ravaged by a tsunami Despite her uncle’s tireless bids to find a groom for her, Anandhi rejects all efforts to get her married off, instead focusing on her work as a schoolteacher. When a new photography instructor named Kavita arrives at the school, Anandhi finds an instant connection with her. As their friendship begins to blossom into something more, Anandhi must face her feelings and the consequences they will bring in this conservative society.

Bhuman’s “Transfinite” is a collection of seven locally-shot science-fiction/fantasy short films. Rich with symbolism, the seven stories in this anthology film feature supernatural trans and queer people, from many different cultures, who use magic and supernatural powers to love, teach, fight, and thrive.

 Getting its name from 18th century Urdu feminist poetic form, the rekhti (which looks at sexual desires between women), “Dogana/Chapti” explores identity for queer Indian and Indian- American women and non-binary people.

Brah’s “Home Girl” tells the story of Roya, a British Muslim woman whose mother has just died. After the funeral she returns to a home much altered—one without her mother. However, Roya discovers a secret about her mother that might free her from her past and allow her to live the life she really wants.

In “Rani,” a poor and socially outcast transgender woman from Pakistan sets out to take care of an abandoned baby in this award-winning short film.

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