Mission & History
The San Francisco Transgender Film Festival (SFTFF) screens films that promote the visibility of transgender and gender variant people and challenge the mainstream media’s negative stereotypes of our communities. We provide opportunities for transgender and gender variant media artists, build community through our film and performance events, and engage our audiences in cross-community dialogue.
Founded in 1997 by Christopher Lee and Alex Austin, and originally named Tranny Fest, SFTFF was North America’s first transgender film festival. We are the world’s longest running transgender film festival. We organized our first festival for the same reason so many other marginalized communities have organized film festivals: the absence of authentic representations of our lives and experiences in the mainstream commercial media. Originally a biennial event, SFTFF screened films and videos by transgender and gender variant media artists whose work challenged stereotypes. We primarily served filmmakers with extremely limited access to venues. After five biennual festivals, overwhelming audience demand led our organizers to begin staging the Festival as an annual event in 2005.