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Living with Pride: Ruth C. Ellis @ 100

Directed by Yvonne Welbon1999USA67 mins

Filmmaker Yvonne Welbon’s breakthrough documentary, Living with Pride: Ruth C. Ellis @ 100, provides exceptional insight into the life and times of centenarian Ruth Ellis. Catching her between the many engagements on her packed lesbian social calendar, for which Ellis is often the guest of honor, Welbon presents viewers with a rare glimpse into a century of African American gay and lesbian history through the eyes of one remarkable woman.

Born July 23, 1899, and out from the beginning, Ellis advocated for senior and lesbian rights until passing in October 2000. Her legacy of activism continues to be honored at The Ruth Ellis Center, a dedicated space for homeless LGBT youth, in her home town of Detroit. Welbon had the foresight to document Ellis’s life while she was still here to share her story, combining interviews, rare archival material, and reenactments of the period when Ellis’s home (shared with her life companion of 34 years, Ceciline "Babe" Franklin) was the social hot-spot for African American gays and lesbians.

A 1998 Frameline Completion Fund Recipient and winner of ten Best Documentary awards, including the Frameline23 Audience Award (which Ellis was present to receive alongside Welbon), Living with Pride exemplifies the tremendous and lasting gift our community’s elders have to offer. With undeniable charm, humor, and joy for life, Ellis shows us that a life lived with pride is a life well lived.

Short films showing in this film:

Zeitgeist 1977: The First Festival

7 mins

Participants in the very first “Gay Film Festival of Super-8 Films” (what ultimately became Frameline) — including filmmakers Marc Huestis, David Weissman, Dan Nicoletta, and Rob Epstein — share their recollections.

Living with Pride: Ruth C. Ellis @ 100 is a Frameline Completion Fund recipient.

Quick links
Yvonne Welbon
Running Time
67 mins
Frameline Completion Fund, Audience Award Winners, Retrospective
Community Partners

Bay Area Lesbian History Archives Project

Museum of the African Diaspora

NIA Collective

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