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Frameline Inc

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Volunteering Oportunities

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Film & Video

Mission: Frameline''s mission is to strengthen the diverse LGBT community and further its visibility by supporting and promoting a broad array of cultural representations and artistic expression in film, video and other media arts.  Frameline is the nation''s only nonprofit organization solely dedicatedto the distribution, promotion, funding and exhibition of lesbian, gay,bisexual and transgender media arts. Frameline''sintegrated programs provide critical funding for emerging LGBT filmmakers,reach hundreds of thousands with a collection of more than 260 filmsdistributed nationwide, and create an international stage for the world’s bestqueer cinema through the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival andadditional year-round screenings and cinematic events. 

Geographic areas served: United States


With annual attendance of 60,000, the SanFrancisco International LGBT Film Festival is the longest-running, largest andmost widely recognized LGBT film exhibition event in the world. Founded in1977, the Festival is also the most prominent and well-attended LGBT arts eventin California; and because of our34-year history and large passionate audience, itis also one of the 15 largest film festivals of any kind in the country.

Community Stories

5 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Rating: 1

Dear Najirah

Since your review and Happy2volunteer called me out I am returning the favor. I am guessing Frameline asked you and the only other reviewer, Happy2volunteer, to do your reviews which called me out. Happy2volunteer declined to state if she is a woman. You are deceitful in checking the box "volunteer" instead of the one "former staff" since you admit you have been an intern for two years

Funny coincidence the only other reviews are all 5 stars and all appeared within 5 weeks after my review but there have been no additional reviews in the 2+ years since. It’s also dead give away when you can’t think of a single improvement to suggest to the organization for that question in the website’s survey. Also, just like on Yelp, reviews that call out other reviewers that are negative are almost always suspect. Who calls out neg reviewers in their review? Bogus reviewers.

“How can they discriminate if we’re the ones who choose in advance and online the shifts we want to work for?” asks Najirah. Good question. You are either insincere in your question, which was no doubt rhetorical and thus insincere, or you are naive as I was. You won't be told at the orientation, but the team captains can do anything they want and there is nothing you can do about it no matter what assignment you signed up for.

Since I wrote my review Frameline even got rid of their male ED as a figurehead. Najirah, I don't know if your internships at Frameline were paid or not or if you were just hoping to get a paid job in the future but it is not cool to even imply someone is a liar just to better your career or screening chances since you said you “would love to work at Frameline” and also that you are a filmmaker who wants to get your film(s) shown there. It is also not cool to give a glowing review to an organization you have worked for or are hoping to work for in the future.

I had to sign up for shifts, as all are SUPPOSED to do. As a matter of fact the first year I volunteered late and was not familiar with the process so I signed up very, very late for the shifts. That meant anyone, especially veteran vols, really wanting to do the shifts that were still available had already had ample opportunity to get it before me and had no grounds for complaint if it was eventually taken by me. Well, that is how the system is SUPPOSED to work, but for women vols the rules are different. It was especially inappropriate for them to take away my assigned shift task and give it to someone, lesbian or not, who showed up very late as happened on two occasions.

I admit I showed up 10 minutes late for an usher/ticket take position once because I unthinkingly sat in the middle of the row and was too embarrassed to walk out early in the part of the film Call Me Kuchu when everyone in the audience (well maybe not the director/producers who profited financially directly from it) was in tears over his murder, I was not even allowed to volunteer in any position and had to pay to get in to see the film. Ironically the next night when I was volunteering as a ticket taker, the same lesbian team captain who had been a stickler, with me, for the rules the night before showed up with her girlfriend/date to see the film and waltzed right past all of us ticket takers without even showing a pass for either of them. Clearly this is a person who likes to exercise her authority to make sure everyone knows she is important. When working with volunteer staff, that’s not a good idea. How did SHE get to be a team captain?

My first year volunteering, a 5th year veteran fellow male volunteer asked the team captain one night “how do you get to be a team captain”. Volunteering for his 5th year you would think they would have told him already. “You have to be invited to apply” she replied. I was shocked. I wish he or I had then asked her if she tends to invite women or men to apply? Any business that won’t let you apply for a position unless you have been invited to apply for it is asking for an employment discrimination lawsuit from all sorts of protected classes. Yes, this is not a paid position but Frameline told me they prefer to hire people who have volunteered in the past, so it is linked to employment.

Happy2volunteer states incorrectly that captains and house managers are supposed to assign tasks based on experience. This even contradicts what Najirah says in his glowing review. Frameline, get your story straight before soliciting positive reviews, no pun intended. If that were true the “Shiftboard” sign ups for specific tasks would be worse than pointless. Shiftboard is not free to use.

I am not even sure if Happy2volunteer is speculating tasks were taken away from me because I had too much experience or not enough. Speculation that the reason the reason must be a valid one is just that at best. At worst, if Frameline is responsible, as I suspect, it is disgusting behavior. Every time, the only reason I was told the assignment was being taken away from me was that “(insert woman’s name) wants to do it”. Well if she wanted to do it why did she show up 50 minutes late and/or why didn’t she sign up for that task before I signed up at the last minute? In both cases the assignments were taken away from me and given to a woman after the time the film was supposed to start. I never saw an assigned task taken away from a woman and given to me or any man just because “he wants to do it”. These reviews seem to just be dictated excuses by the “powers that be” at Frameline.

It is telling that Happy2volunteer states that “our superiors (“captains” and “house managers”) take our punctuality, openness, experience, excitement, and willingness into consideration when assigning tasks”. If you are truly just a subordinate to “captains” and “house managers” how are you in a position to know what they take into consideration? I never mentioned the term “house manager”. How do you come to know that term? You write like an insider, not a legit reviewer who worked as a volunteer. Frameline admins couldn’t even refrain and leave out all the routine hype in your review which is taken directly from their marketing materials. Obvious point here, except to Happy2volunteer, but it is always a good move as a director to rave about the festival if you want them to choose your future films for screening. Even Najirah knows to do that.

Frankly, I was surprised that people hadn’t already taken some of the more interesting positions rather than just the usher and ticket taking positions that Najirah admits he chose. I signed up for and worked some positions that did not allow me to watch the movie. I was not there just to see movies for free like you said you were. I can guarantee no one ever tried to take an usher/ticket taker position away from me so I am not surprised no one took that away from you either. If you had common sense or read my review you would realize that is not the types of positions I am talking about. I can also assure you that if you had signed up for a position in hospitality like escort for the director,

Najirah, it is telling you did not deny nor affirm my factual assertion at to the statistics of male/female. As a gay male (or even if you were straight male), I am sure you noticed the sex of the volunteers at the orientation was 80% male or that the sex of the paid workers and team captains at the festival was 80% female.

Previous Stories


Rating: 1

They get 80%+ gay male volunteers and take them for granted. They give the paid position to females with few exceptions. They ask female volunteers to be the team captains, bosses, with few exceptions. They take away prized volunteer positions from on time male volunteers if a female volunteer shows up late but wants that job.

1 najirah


Rating: 5

I moved to the Bay Area from New Jersey in 2011, and I was happy to discover all the festivals San Francisco had to offer. At first I watched movies with local film groups/clubs, but that got expensive pretty quickly. Someone informed me I could volunteer for festivals and watch movies for free, and as chance would have it, the next festival coming up was Frameline. I signed up to volunteer right away, even though I lived down in Menlo Park at the time.

I went to the volunteer orientation, and I was a little nervous because, to be honest, I didn't know if I would have the skills to be a volunteer. But, everything went well once I was at the orientation. It was actually pretty calming to see that some people were also a little nervous and awkward as I was about volunteering for the time and being in a room of 150-200 people. Many of the volunteers were brand new, some had been there for a few years, while there were even people who had been there for 20+ years. There were people of all ages--well, all above 18...I think--gender, sexual orientation, race, background, and any other category I forgot to mention. Anyway, everyone seemed happy to be there, and it turned into a sort of social event. Plus, we got a free festival t-shirt at the end!

The work was pretty easy, and there were several different departments we could sign up to volunteer with. It was done online, so I just signed up for the shift I wanted. Of course, some movies' shifts were filled up right away, so I just had to select from the ones that were available. I mainly did theater operations, some of its positions were ticket taking, ushering, line control, and balloting. For different shifts, I did different things. Anyway, they all involved working for a bit, and then I would sit in to watch the movie that was playing. Other than watching the movies, the best part of the festival for me was socializing with the other volunteers. Like I said, I was new to San Francisco at the time, so I enjoyed making new friends and acquaintances. And now, I look forward to see many of the same face at Frameline and other festivals.

Do not MISS this party, it is almost as good as watching LGBT movies for free. There is an open bar, I think the last two years they had pizza--I wasn't around to attend the 2011 party--there are random goodies (stuffed ponies!), and raffle prizes.

Pro TIPS: Don't panic about the pizza, there's plenty for everyone. People are like wild animals when they see free food. I think I lost an arm in the bustle. Also, save your unused movie vouchers, you can use them as raffle tickets. Of the five film festivals I've been volunteering at, Frameline gives out the most prizes and the coolest ones. Seriously, half of the volunteer party is spent on giving away raffle prizes.

Again, the party is a great opportunity to mingle with Frameline employees and volunteers, so I'm surprised the user "dedicatedvol" had a bad experience. I too am a gay male, and I didn't witness any discrimination regarding shifts. How can they discriminate if we're the ones who choose in advance and online the shifts we want to work for? Additionally, the festival this year was in the last 10 days of June, yet that review was posted on June 1, which means he didn't volunteer for the festival this year.

Anyway, my experience in 2011 was great, so I volunteered again in 2012. I found out that they were looking for interns, so I applied and got an internship in the volunteer coordination department that year. Another intern (female, but also a college student like me) and I had a lot of fun interning, volunteering and just helping out in every way we could.

This year I was able to intern again, but in the distribution department. It was mainly office work, but I also got to help out during the festival. And like I mentioned previously, it was great seeing a lot of volunteers I had met in previous years.

Overall, I would love to work with Frameline eventually (and have one of my movies/shorts show at the festival). Everyone is super friendly, accepting and only a few people said "Oh, you're from New Joisey" to me, but I think that's just a San Francisco thing to do. By the way, no one in New Jersey pronounces it Joisey!!




Rating: 5

I have volunteered for Frameline for 5 years now, enjoying the community and lightness during the festival. It changes The City, everyone seems to be in "vacation mood". The training ("orientation") we receive is the most "PC" I have ever enjoyed for any organization I volunteer for (several film festivals and also the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition). I very much support and enjoy the "zero waste" approach they promote. Unlike "dedicatedvol", I have *never* experienced any unjust or unequal treatment. Our superiors ("Captains" and "house managers") take our punctuality, openness, experience, excitement and willingness into consideration when assigning tasks. That's only fair, I think. I have never ever experienced any "gender bias" - which would be so absurd for this community, anyway.


Rating: 5

Frameline review on great non profits.org. 8-27-13

Frameline is amazing! As an avid film enthusiast and a lesbian, I was immediately drawn to Frameline and have been a strong supporter and member since I moved to SF in the mid-90s. Frameline's mission is to change the world through the power of queer cinema. The organization lives and breathes this mantra and lives up to it in every sense.

Frameline's annual flagship LGBT film festival keeps getting better and better, if that's even possible. It's the oldest and largest LGBT film festival in the world. Frameline37 in June 2013 included 240 films from 29 countries, including 14 first time features and a spotlight on queer Asian films. The festival tagline was "films bring us together". Yes, they do and Frameline continues to do so in creating a remarkable community experience at the annual festival. The multitude of filmmakers in attendance always rave about Frameline from the stage during their Q&A. I couldn't agree more. The 400+ volunteers under the dedicated and talented leadership of the executive director and partnership with staff are the life of the well-run festival. The access to filmmakers and actors/actresses during the festival adds immensely to the festival experience. Last but certainly not least, the broad and rich depth and breadth of the programming at the festival is truly amazing and leaves me wanting more when the 11-day festival draws to a close.

The executive director and senior staff are incredible in every sense and continue to propel the organization forward. Their dedication and passion in running Frameline is apparent in everything they do.

Additionally, Frameline has an extensive year round program, including Frameline Voices (App with free LGBT films, which has over 1 million views from every country) and Youth in Motion supporting LGBTQA students through film.