For the 36th year, Frameline brings us the longest running film festival dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender programming. This year’s theme is “Find your story.” That story is somewhere in the more than 217 films from 30 countries.

One of the most buzzed about is a documentary called “Love Free or Die.” It’s the story of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop fighting for LGBT rights. Talk about teachable moments, the Festival will have Bishop Robinson in attendance.

Living in San Francisco for over 20 years qualifies me for native status. As such, I pride myself in my knowledge of LGBT history. I can tell you what Harvey Milk’s camera shop looked like and where he went to indulge in chocolate mousse torte. All this to confess I had no idea who Vito Russo was. To test out my cultural savvy I walked through the Castro and chatted up the first sales guy I could find. I told him all about this amazing doc on Vito Russo. He said “who”? Ok, I felt better. Vito is one of those pivotal figures whose name may be a mystery, but whose works are renown.

Vito Russo spent ten years screening pre-code Hollywood films and cataloguing every nuanced glance and overt swish. The results are seen in his seminal work “The Celluloid Closet”. Yeah, I thought you’d heard of that. This book project, rejected by several publishers went on to become a best seller, and later a film. Director Jeffrey Schwarz documents Vito’s life in all it’s glory and heartache. He truly was a passionate man with incredible guts.
Vito Russo, activist and film historian, died of AIDS in 1990.

For information about the festival and movie show times, visit