Frameline45 Awards Announced

Jun 30, 2021

That’s a wrap on Frameline45! We’re thrilled to announce a trio of Audience Award winners, as well as our juried First Feature Award. Audiences were given the opportunity to weigh in on their personal favorites among the 130+ titles that screened at Frameline45, issuing the annual Audience Awards in three categories: Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, and Short Film.  

The Audience Award for Narrative Feature went to Laurent Micheli’s Lola (Lola vers la mer), a stunning family drama from Belgium starring trans newcomer Mya Bollaers and Benoît Magimel.

In the Documentary Feature category, audiences selected T.J. Parsell’s Invisible, an inspiring musical portrait of queer women songwriters in the country music scene which celebrated its world premiere at Frameline45. 

And finally, another Frameline45 world premiere garnered the Audience Award for Best Short Film: Faraz Arif Ansari’s Sheer Qorma from India, which screened as part of the Enby Love shorts program.

For the second year in a row, Frameline is proud to partner with the San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle to present the Festival’s annual First Feature Award. The jury, which was comprised of Bay Area film critics and journalists, announced the winner, as well as two honorable mentions, at the Castro Theatre on Sunday, June 27. This year’s Outstanding First Feature Award went to Morgan Ingari’s Milkwater,withhonorable mentions to Centerpiece film, Natalie Morales’ Language Lessons, and Peeter Rebane’s Firebird. You can find jury and filmmaker statements below. 

Longtime film and television critic Bill Watters offered the following jury statement: “Where so many contemporary films become overwhelmed by their drive to express a singular message, they too often lose the connection between their characters and their audience. Ingari has created a story that elevates itself above a simple light-hearted tale of a surrogate mother and her relationships with those around her, and becomes a story of a woman feeling like she is losing control of her place in the world. It's a story of growth and discovering that internal peace can only come from within, and not from without.”

Kathy Wolfe and Barbara Verhage from Milkwater’s distributor Wolfe accepted the award at the Castro Theatre on behalf of the filmmaking team. Director Ingari issued the following statement on behalf of herself, executive producer and star Molly Bernard, and producer Candice Kuwahara: “This award means so much to all of us, particularly because Frameline was our late executive producer, Ash Christian’s, favorite festival in the world. Before we’d even started principal photography on Milkwater, he told us he hoped we’d get to be a part of Frameline, and it’s so incredibly special that we got the chance to. It’s such a gift that so many stories are being told about queer families in their many forms. As we all know, there isn’t just one type of queer person, and there is hardly one type of queer family structure. We’re so honored that this movie meant something to you. Even to be one voice in a chorus of queer narrative is profound. Thank you so much to The Critic’s Circle and Frameline for recognizing us tonight.” 

The jury bestowed honorable mentions to Natalie Morales' Language Lessons, “whose sharp writing and effective use of the ubiquity of COVID-era video conferencing gives us a captivating story of how people can discover love not only physically face to face, but also between two screens;” and Peeter Rebane’s Firebird, “which is an examination of having to hide personal truths from the world, set against the backdrop of the late-1970s Soviet death-grip on its populace, and especially its military.”

The jury also remarked: “Our hope is this Award will help expand the awareness of these thoughtful, beautifully-crafted films to wider audiences, and that more people will seek them out as another worthy addition to the catalog of superb films, not only as LGBTQ+ cinema, but as wonderful films in general.”  

Congratulations to all the exceptional filmmakers who presented their films at Frameline45!