Frameline43, the forty-third San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival is slated to be held between June 20 and June 30, 2019. For eleven days, this film festival is bringing nearly 150 gay-themed movies from various countries to SF. Frameline43 also offers film-goers several opportunities to rub shoulders with attending film-makers and artists.

The platform provided by Frameline43 to the LGBTQ+ voices, showcases the spectrum that is as colorful as the rainbow that represents the community.  

The movies featured push boundaries, addressing issues such as gender identity, sexual exploration and homosexuality, amongst others. They force the viewer to go beyond the conventional approach to love and to life. They get the audiences closer to understanding and acceptance of a community that struggles to get what the majority take for granted.

Founded in 1977, Frameline’s mission is to “change the world through the power of queer cinema”.  And the non-profit organization may be doing just that, by bringing to focus the issues and discrimination faced by the LGBTQ+ community.  At the end of the day, one is left with these questions: Shouldn’t one be free to love anyone? Shouldn’t people really be objecting to hate?

A taste of some South-Asian-themed movies, which the Festival has on offer, follows. (Note: All the movies may contain nudity, language, violence or have themes of a mature nature.)

KATTUMARAM (Catamaran)

Tamil language. Running Time:  1 hour, 12 minutes

Kattumaram tells the tale of the residents of a fishing village in Tamil Nadu affected by the tsunami. The effect of the tsunami is felt years after the devastating incident, but little does Singaram, a fisherman, know that another tsunami is waiting to hit his life.  

There is a gentleness in the way that the Director Swarnavel Eswaran has threaded the stories of the residents of the remote coastal village. These residents include Singaram, who finds himself in a parental role to his niece, when his sister is swept away by the tsunami; Anandi, who is resistant to all efforts made by her protective uncle to get her married, until a new Photography teacher, Kavita, comes to town; and Philomena, their neighbor, who has to come up with a way to overcome loneliness when her husband favors the bottle over her.

A bitter-sweet tightness develops in the community that the tsunami has sacrificed; the families left in its wake form bonds, weaving comforting relationships with each other.

The musical score by P. Bharani Dharan is outstanding, with a rhythm that matches the ebb and flow of the waves, as well as the lives of the folk of the village. It is beautifully representative of the tenderness that is sometimes seen through the rough-edged residents of the small coastal community.

Written and directed by: Swarnavel Eswaran.  

(Kattumaram will be screened at The Roxy, on Sunday, June 23, at 6.45 p.m.

Expected Guests:  Director Swarnaval Eswaran, Producer Sandhya Swarnavel.)



Running Time:  12 minutes

Dogana/Chapti contains narratives from several gay Indian- and Indo-American women who share their perspectives about their identity. Nearly ten different perspectives are showcased, including that of a woman from a very orthodox Tamil Brahmin family. The documentary examines desires and the dishonesty that goes with having to hide one’s sexual identity in a conservative society. 

Among other topics, queers discuss their first crush, exploring sexuality, self-doubt, coming out, finding a home among the queer community, and the sadness of never having the simple pleasure of going out and holding hands with a partner you love.

The film gets its name from 18th century Urdu feminist poetic form, the rekhti (which looks at sexual desires between women).

Directed by:  Serena Chopra and Kasey Ferlic.

(Dogana/Chapti will be screened at The Castro, on Thursday, June 27, at 1.30 p.m.

Audiences will find it in the short film program Up Close and Personal.

Expected Guests:  Directors Serena Chopra and Kasey Ferlic.)


Running Time:  14.00 minutes

Rani is a touching story of a transgender woman in Pakistan, whose pain of being a social outcast makes her open her heart and home to another social outcast — an abandoned baby girl. Rani’s maternal instincts kick in and she bestows all her love on the baby –– a love that she herself has never been given.  However, she has a terrible choice to make when a hateful society will not let her keep the baby.

Written and directed by: Hammad Rizvi.

(Rani will be screened at The Roxie, on Monday, June 24, at 7.00 p.m.

Audiences will find it in the short film program Transtastic.)



Running Time: 12.00 minutes

Set in the United Kingdom, Home Girl is a movie about Roya, a gay Muslim woman, who struggles to accept herself and her love for another woman.  Wracked by guilt after her mother dies, Roya contemplates a traditional life in order to be a good daughter. However, after her mother’s funeral, she gets a break which points her to the road of self-acceptance and gives her the gift of freedom to love.

Directed by: Poonam Brah.

Written by: Iman Quereshi.

(Homegirl will be screened at The Roxie, on Saturday, June 29 at 4.00 p.m.

Audiences will find it in the short film program Only the Brave.)

Home Girl


Running Time:  1 hour, 9 minutes

Transfinite is directed by Neelu Mhuman and written by a collective of screenwriters who are multi-cultural, with various sexual orientations.  Animated in parts, the selection is a grouping of short stories which feature transgenders as people with special powers. The seven locally-shot science-fiction/fantasy short films are filled with symbolism, mysticism and fantasy.


For Frameline43’s calendar, please visit:

Meera Prahlad is a freelance writer, community organizer and volunteer with a wide variety of interests.  She wears several hats, but finds that the style that suits her best is one where she takes on a cause close to her heart, to make a meaningful impact on the community around her.

This article was edited by India Currents Culture and Media Editor Geetika Pathania Jain, Ph.D.