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Ahead of the Curve


With a fist full of credit cards & a lucky run at the track, Franco Stevens launched Curve, the best-selling lesbian magazine ever published. AHEAD OF THE CURVE is a must-see documentary for anyone hoping to understand identity politics around LGBTQ+ women in the early ’90s. Against the hostile backdrop of hate crimes and family rejection, with few celebrities or politicians willing to be out publicly, Curve magazine dared to show that lesbians, queer women, and non-binary people are fully human. Franco revisits Curve’s original mission, connecting with queer women leading today who share the belief that “true visibility looks like us being the authors of our own experience” and that “any type of visibility is radical, political.”


  • Los Angeles Times
    "As outlandish as the best urban legends. Ahead of the Curve celebrates lesbian triumph while trying to find new purpose in uncertain times"
    Tracy Brown
  • Women in Higher Education
    “It’s so rare that we are learning about queer women when we learn about queer history and culture. This film can make a more equitable experience about who is represented in those classes.”
    Lois Elfman
  • Little White Lies (magazine)
    "An unexpectedly insightful look at a piece of lesbian history. Exuberant... told with so much heart"
    Laura Venning
  • The Boston Globe
    "A vivid portrait of a resilient and inspiring figure as well as a microcosm of three decades of social and cultural change"
    Peter Keough
  • BUST
    "A Must-See Documentary that people of all backgrounds will genuinely enjoy, especially those who are interested in learning about the intricacies and history of lesbian and queer media. This documentary is an eye opener, educating viewers on the struggles of LGBTQIA+ folks and their battles for acceptance and representation."
    Melody Heald
  • POV (Point of View Magazine)
    "A page of queer history gets its due. An engaging portrait of the fight for visibility and the work that still needs to be done."
    Pat Mullen
  • The Guardian
    "A valuable portrait of a great risk-taker"
    Peter Bradshaw
  • The Hollywood Reporter
    “ZIPPY, INSIGHTFUL AND DEEPLY MOVING… First-time director Jen Rainin's portrait of Stevens, Curve's achievements and blindspots, lesbian progress during the Clinton era and the uneasiness with the "lesbian" label among many queer women today is accomplished, resonant and deeply moving.”
    Inkoo Kang
  • The Film Experience: Blog
    “Welcome levity and a smart fusion of history and is that youthful zest for queer rebellion (and an adult desire to recreate it) that carries AHEAD OF THE CURVE most of all”
    Glenn Dunks

Festival Participation

  • Image+Nation - 2020
    Jury Grand Prix
  • Frameline44 - 2020
    World Premiere
  • OUTFEST - 2020
    Official Selection
  • Bentonville - 2020
    Official Selection
  • aGLIFF - 2020
    Audience Award Best Documentary
  • Reeling Chicago - 2020
    Audience Award Best Documentary
  • OUTfilm CT - 2020
    Audience Award Best Documentary
  • Long Beach LGBTQ - 2020
    Best Documentary, Best Director, Audience Award
  • Tampa International - 2020
    Audience Award Best Documentary
  • Out At The Movies - 2020
    Best Documentary
  • Milwaukee Film Festival - 2020
    Official Selection
  • BendFilm Festival - 2020
    Official Selection

Educator Review

  • San Francisco State University
    “Sharply edited and well researched, the film is sure to spark classroom discussion about identity, intersectionality and visibility, bringing lesbian history into the present and underscoring the importance of ongoing activism. The film has strong educational potential and will be a great tool in college classes focused on gender studies, history, journalism and community activism.”
    Johnny Symons, Associate Professor and Director of Queer Cinema Project, School of Cinema
  • Yale, School of Art
    “The screening in our Introduction to Documentary Filmmaking at Yale was incredibly enriching and revealing of the extraordinary and innovative work behind Ahead of the Curve. The team’s dynamism and commitment to process, equitability and advocacy in storytelling and producing is unique – a model template for the future of doc filmmaking. "
    A.L. Steiner, Senior Critic
  • University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
    “We held a very successful on-campus screening that attracted a group of interested and engaged students. Students loved having a cast member join for a Q&A and the event facilitated conversations that bridged academic interests with discussions about popular culture and queer media.”
    Dr. Ariana Vigil, Chair, Women’s and Gender Studies
  • Georgetown University, George Washington University, and University of California, Berkeley
    ”The film is a great gift to a generation inheriting the sacrifice and risks undertaken by whip-smart 1990s dykes.”
    Bonnie J. Morris, Ph.D. author; Gender Studies professor
  • California State University, Fresno
    “Ahead of the Curve is a moving tribute to a hugely important time in lesbian history and the brave magazine and publisher that captured it all.”
    Lillian Faderman, Lesbian Historian; Professor Emerita of English at Fresno State

Distribution Company

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