Prepare yourself for a bracing dose of radical ’90s Black queer cinema, as 48 Hills proudly joins with the Frameline LGBTQ+ Film Festival to bring you the vibrant 4K restoration of director Stephen Winter’s Chocolate Babies, which originally premiered in 1997. Let’s fill the Castro Theatre with Pride and joy at 1pm on Mon/19, the official Juneteenth national holiday, and show that the community loves seeing films in person at the gorgeous cinema. Stephen will be there in person! Get tickets here.
Occupying the space between fantasy, tragedy, and comedy, the award winning Chocolate Babies is a roller-coaster ride that has been provoking laughter and dialogue since its 1997 premiere.
An underground band of HIV-positive, queer, urban, genderqueer, activists of color is making headlines in New York City. In an effort to expose political corruption surrounding the AIDS epidemic, these urban guerrillas stage a series of surprise attacks against conservative politicians whom they believe are collecting secret lists of HIV-positive individuals. The masterminds behind the action include “to-the-death!” diva Max Mo-Freak; his determined sister, Jamela; Larva, sex-crazed with an attitude; Lady Marmalade, a junkie songstress; and Sam, an idealistic young militant (and Max Mo’s lover). Caught up in their extreme methods of activism and self-destructive drug and alcohol binges, the group becomes torn by infighting and begins to lose sight of their mission and loyalty to each other. Will they find the peace and justice they seek?
A frenetic debut feature from writer/director Stephen Winter, Chocolate Babies unleashes a world of anarchic camp and unapologetic Black queer power in one of the hidden gems of New Queer Cinema, ripe for rediscovery and ready to be introduced to new audiences.
For the film’s 25th anniversary, Frameline has commissioned a 4K restoration of Chocolate Babies in partnership with the National Film Preservation Fund, the UCLA Film & Television Archive, and the Outfest Legacy Project. Following its festival run in the mid-1990s (playing at SXSW, the Berlinale, and Frameline21), Chocolate Babiesstruggled to secure major distribution due to its radically independent Black queer vision, but eventually found a home at Frameline Distribution who championed the film and continued to bring it to new audiences. Frameline proudly presents the world premiere of this pristine restoration in rich color and vivid detail like never before.