San Francisco Public Library

Hormel Center’s Frameline Movie Archive Project

Frameline is one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s leading LGBT cultural organizations, drawing 60,000 people per year to its annual film festival. Founded in 1977, it is the longest-running, largest and most widely recognized LGBT film exhibition event in the world.  In its 35- year history Frameline has acquired thousands of videotapes from filmmakers reflecting the history and diversity of the international LGBT Community.

In 2005 Frameline donated its extensive film festival collection of nearly 5000 videos to the Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center of San Francisco Public Library. This included not only the movies shown in past festivals, but films submitted to the Frameline Festival which were never screened. In Fall 2011 the Library will receive an additional gift of movies submitted to the festival from 2006-2011. Currently in the early stages of processing, the Hormel Center’s Frameline Movie Archive Project is an exciting resource for researchers, historians, and the general public.

Priorities for Archive Processing

The first step to making this collection accessible to the public was to identify 50 high-priority tapes determined to be at risk of loss or deterioration. Selection was also based on historical value, rarity of subject, country of origin, and other factors. The Hormel Center, in partnership with the Bay Area Video Coalition, is creating new full-size digital file preservation masters as well as DVD viewing copies for each title to make them available to researchers.

Rare & Notable Tapes

An additional list of approximately 100 of the most rare and interesting tapes has also been compiled to guide researchers toward some of the more notable titles in the collection. Examples include the censored 1986 BBC TV production Two of Us; the 1988 Thai gay feature, I Am a Man (described as the Thai remake of The Boys in The Band); the obscure 1980 Japanese lesbian feature, Afternoon Breezes and numerous feature films never released in the US on consumer home video or DVD.


The collection includes hundreds of shorts, documentaries and features documenting the impact of HIV/AIDS on the gay community. The scope of titles is expansive and includes the first ever American feature film about AIDS, Arthur Bressan’s Buddies. Rare examples of documentary and educational work from the mid ‘80s include the 1985 Minnesota AIDS Project production, On The Safe Side and the celebratory 1986 portrait of PWA David Summers, Hero of My Own Life.