Recent Comments


    San Francisco Transgender Film Festival

    The popular film festival is back—online—for 2020.

    If you were worried about missing the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival (SFTFF) this year, well, have no fear! The world’s first and longest running transgender film festival is online November 12–15. All programs are closed-captionedand all tickets are pay-what-you-can! 

    The 20th SFTFF moves online and into your home—and they’ve expanded to offer more films during shelter-in-place, with a rich offering of 7 new programs.All films will be Closed Captioned for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing audiences. All genders welcome! The festival is co-presented by SFTFF’s longtime home The Roxie Theater. 

    Founded in 1997 as the world’s first transgender film festival, SFTFF continues to lead the pack when it comes to innovation, risk-taking, and imagination.

    The festival couldn’t come too soon this year—it’s been a difficult time for trans communities, from the effects of COVID-19, especially its economic impact on transgender people of color, to the multiple attacks from the Trump administration eliminating federal protections against discrimination in health care for transgender people along with barring trans people from the military.

    “We want to make our film programs accessible to all our communities this year, because of the isolation of shelter-in place and the impact of COVID-19—so we made all programs pay-what-you-can,” says SFTFF Artistic Director Shawna Virago. “We hope these films will provide a needed respite from these times … and demonstrate trans communities’ fighting spirit.”

    Satan’s Tears

    Viewers will see trans and gender-non-conforming communities’ resilience, strength, talents, street smarts, sass, resilience, sexuality, friendship, and courage in these films. From falling in love to building a movement for justice, from animation to hard-hitting documentaries, the 2020 SFTFF has something for everyone.

    This year’s festival features 7 different programs that illustrate the festival’s curatorial vision, which tends toward the intersectional, experimental, the non-linear, and stories that mainstream media platforms aren’t interested in telling. 

    As Virago says, “We embrace under-represented voices, DIY-aesthetics, and are proud to present truly brave filmmaking, super-queer quirkiness, and lots of innovation.”


    SFTFF 2020 Highlights

    Program 1

    Tell-by Date

    Ryan gives himself a deadline to tell his son that he’s not his biological father, but it’s easier set than done! With Brian Michael Smith (star of Queen Sugar). Directed by Sarah Ball.

    Program 2

    Lou: A San Francisco Fantasy

    Loosely based on the experiences of Lou Sullivan, gay trans pioneer, the film is an erotically charged snapshot into mid-70s SF cruising, using new and archival footage. Shot on location in the Castro with a trans cast and crew. Directed by Mya Byrne.

    Program 3

    Out of The Shadows

    Joselyn, a Mexican transgender immigrant woman, crosses the Mexico/U.S. border to flee increasingly dangerous conditions in her hometown. She attempts to adjust to her new home in Queens, New York, but finds similar oppressive conditions in the U.S. After the murder of her best friend she falls into a deep depression. Joselyn finds a community of transgender women and together they fight to lift themselves out of poverty by attempting to open the first trans-owned cooperative salon in the United States. Directed by Rafael Samanez.

    Program 4

    62–84, I Didn’t Copy That HQ (from Turkey)

    The film shows lives that get united and threatened in a night: a woman who is running away because she was subjected to domestic violence by her husband, a trans person trying to hold on to life by cooking, and an illegal immigrant who is at the edge of suicide.Directed by Timuçin İpekusta.

    Program 5

    Reclaiming Intersex (from South Africa)

    Nthabiseng Mokoena was born intersex in a rural village in South Africa, and their mother is forced to make radical choices if she is to protect her infant from being taken away to the apartheid hospital where Black people often inexplicably die. This film traces the history of intersex people in South Africa and how the intersection of race, class, culture, and religion affects the intersex community in a world that says they do not, cannot, and must not exist. Reclaiming Intersex is a revolutionary act. Directed by Gabrielle Le Roux and Nthabiseng Mokoena. Winner of the Audience Award at TranScreen Festival 2019, Amsterdam.

    Program 6 – Must Be 18+ to Watch


    Ponyboi is an intersex runaway. He works at a laundromat and hustles as a sex-worker. But after a mysterious encounter with a man from his dreams, he learns that perhaps he is worthy of leaving his seedy life in New Jersey behind. Directed by River Gallo and Sadé Clacken-Joseph.

    Float Bitch

    Program 7

    Love You Forever

    Stuck within the time loop of ritualistic trauma, Love You Forever is an experimental horror film that takes place within the spectral plain of “Trans Girl Ether,” amplifying the palpitations of loss, grief, abandonment, and trauma. This story follows two sisters navigating defeatism and nihilism, conquering their fears of one another to learn the unending power of their bond. Directed by Sepand Mashiahof, Sepehr Mashiahof, and Hana Harada.

    What: 2020 San Francisco Transgender Film Festival (SFTFF)

    When:  November 12–15, 2020
                  All 7 Programs are available for viewing November 12–15, 2020
                  (Please note that Program 6 is an 18+ program)

    Where: Online (All films will be Closed Captioned for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing audiences)

    Tickets: Pay-what-you-can at:


    Published on November 5, 2020