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    San Francisco Transgender Film Festival

    The San Francisco Transgender Film Festival (SFTFF) is the world’s first and longest running transgender film festival. And this November 10–13, SFTFF celebrates its 15th Anniversary festival with four days and nights of award winning films at the Roxie Theater. Featuring inspiring documentaries, jaw dropping animation, hard hitting short films, extraordinary biopics and gender-busting music videos, SFTFF 2016 truly has something for everyone.

    “We’re going to celebrate this 15th Anniversary milestone in a big way,” says Festival Artistic Director Shawna Virago. “From our Opening Night Feature FREE CeCe!, to an expanded number of international shorts, to filmmakers’ Q&As, to our first-ever subtitled-for-Deaf-and hard-of-hearing-audiences program. This is our biggest festival ever.”

    The 2016 San Francisco Transgender Film Festival lineup features an outstanding collection of transgender shorts and feature films—with powerful tales of love, defiance, bullying, relationships, sex, humor, romance, political organizing and community-building.


    Whether you’re a first-timer or a longtime SFTFF fan, advance tickets are recommended for all programs (tickets sell out quickly). Tickets can be purchased for individual programs, and Festival Passes will get you into every film over the 4-day Festival. “And as we always say,” says Virago, “all genders are welcome!”

    The Festival kicks off Thursday, November 10, with an Opening Night

    Feature at the Roxie Theater: the groundbreaking documentary FREE CeCe! (directed by Jac Gares). On her way to the store with a group of friends, Chrishaun Reed “CeCe” McDonald was viciously attacked. In defending her own life, a man was killed. After a coercive interrogation, CeCe was incarcerated in a men’s prison in Minnesota. An international campaign to free CeCe garnered significant support from media and activists, including actress and executive producer Laverne Cox. Laverne uses her platform to explore the roles race, class, and gender played in Ce-Ce’s case. CeCe emerges not only as a survivor, but also as a leader.

    On Sunday, November 13, at 4 pm there will be a special screening of Nakom—a beautiful, intimate narrative feature from northern Ghana. Nakom follows Iddrisu, a talented medical student who returns to his home village after his father’s sudden death. Faced with a debt that could destroy his family, he must finally choose between two very different futures. Nakom premiered at the 2016 Berlinale, marking two historic firsts: the first fiction feature from Ghana ever to play the festival, and the first fiction feature directed by a transgender woman ever to play the festival. Nakom is directed by TW Pittman, who is a transwoman of color and a San Francisco-native, and is co-directed by her longtime collaborator, Kelly Daniela Norris.

    SFTFF’s inviting and inclusive space—which SFTFF has been creating since 1997—is needed now more than ever.

    Virago reminds us, “All across the U.S., transgender and gender-nonconforming communities are under attack. Anti-trans legislation and so-called bathroom bills are being passed in more and more states. And we’re seeing virulent racism and anti-immigrant hatred flourishing in this pre-election period. This is a profoundly important year for us to gather together in community at the Festival.”

    Festival Coordinator Eric Garcia concurs. “SFTFF is a huge opportunity to witness our communities’ gifts, power, creativity and strength,” Garcia says. “We need to support each other in solidarity right now. SFTFF creates such a joyous and celebratory and powerful community space. Plus, the films this year are just extraordinary.”

    This year SFTFF will present its first ever subtitled-for-Deaf-and-hard-of hearing audiences program on Friday, November 11, at 8 pm. ASL interpretation will also be provided before and after the screening. “We are really excited about this Program,” says Virago, “because this group of films is really strong, and because it will be accessible to Deaf and hard of hearing communities.”


    Other Festival Highlights

    Saturday, November 12 @ 7 pm

    This documentary celebrates 25-year-old Breanna Sinclaire, an African-American opera singer and the first openly transgender woman to graduate from a major conservatory. This short film traces Sinclaire’s earliest memories of self-discovery. It was directed by Nicole Opper.


     El Camino
    Friday, November 11 @ 8 pm

    Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Alexander L. Lee, this film concerns 16-year-old Jorge, whose father Diego dies while serving time in a California prison. Jorge and his mother Gabriela must race across the state to claim Diego’s body before prison authorities cremate the remains against their wishes. For Jorge, this is his last chance to say goodbye to his long-absent father. For Gabriela, this is her husband’s last chance to find redemption in the afterlife.

    “Eden’s Garden – Episode 1 “Eden’s Garden: Spark”
    Friday, November 11 @ 8 pm

    This web series ‘dramedy’ stars an all-transgender male cast and features other Black and Latino characters. Eden’s Garden is focused on many socially relevant issues, such as trans-reality matters and struggles, trans-dating, same-sex dating, HIV and AIDS awareness, infidelity, promiscuity, homophobia, gay-bashing, trans-bashing, friendships and betrayals. The series was directed by Seven King.

    Saturday, November 12 @ 7 pm

    In this romantic comedy, a trans woman goes on a blind date with a man who had the same name as her ex—which seems like a total deal breaker. The film was directed by Rain Valdez and Natalie Heltzel.

    Says Virago, “The San Francisco Transgender Film Festival provides a powerful counter-narrative to the increasingly assimilationist world of transgender reality stars and celebrities. Hollywood gets it wrong, very wrong. Come see transpeople telling our own stories. Come see trans characters played by trans actors. And help us celebrate our milestone 15th Festival!” The entire SFTFF lineup can be found at

    15th Anniversary San Francisco Transgender Film Festival (SFTFF) November 10–13 Roxie Theater: (3117 16th Street @ Valencia, San Francisco CA) Tickets: $12–15 sliding scale