Ahead of the Curve

Documentary, 1 hr 35 min

Synopsis: With a fist full of credit cards, a lucky run at the horse track, and chutzpah for days, Franco Stevens launched Curve, the best-selling lesbian magazine ever published. AHEAD OF THE CURVE tracks the power of lesbian visibility and community from the early ’90s to the present day through the story of Franco’s founding of Curve magazine. Decades later, in the wake of a disabling injury, Franco learns that Curve will fold within the year and questions the relevance of the magazine in the face of accelerating threats to LGBTQ+ community. To forge a path forward, Franco reaches out to women working in today’s queer spaces to understand what queer women need today and how Curve can continue to serve the community.


the wonderful archive footage and celebrity interviews mixed with loyal employee testimonials is a time capsule of lesbian feels

“Ahead of the Curve” follows the trailblazing and tumultuous journey of Curve Magazine founder Frances “Franco” Stevens. The magazine formerly known as Deneuve and the lawsuit that would force the name change is explored in the documentary. The film is lovingly directed by Stevens’ wife Jen Rainin. At times, certain details of Stevens’ past, like her first marriage and her outing to her family, are skimmed over rather quickly as if not to pull at an old wound, but those early obstacles seem to have had a profound effect on shaping the courageous and determined young Stevens who found herself with nothing to lose.

Knowing your purpose early on in life and following a dream is a gift and Stevens did just that. Few 23 year olds would charge up a mountain of debt and bet it all at the races– but lucky for our community, that is exactly what Stevens did. The film also touches on first loves, vital friendships, and jobs that allowed Stevens to succeed and flourish in a new city when she made her way to San Francisco. After her own self discovery and exploration, Stevens saw the need for a lesbian magazine. The film shows Stevens describing the importance of putting the word “lesbian” on the cover, the significance of that contribution, and how it was vital for lesbian visibility in the mainstream media in the early 90s.

The film highlights the incredible highs and lows of the magazine, from their first celebrity cover and national advertising sponsor to some of their shortcomings, like not showcasing enough diversity in the magazine over the years. The wonderful archive footage and celebrity interviews mixed with loyal employee testimonials is a time capsule of lesbian feels. Stevens poses a very important question when she is faced with the reality of the magazine possibly folding: is there still a need for a lesbian magazine? If not, what comes next?

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This article was written by:

Nicole DM

Nicole DM

Reviewer, writer

Nicole De Meneses is a freelance Writer, Director and Producer working in the Bay Area, USA. She was the 2nd AD and Associate Producer on the Feature film Freshman Year staring Diallo Thompson, Gregory Alan Williams, Benjamin A. Onyango, Natalia Dominguez and worked as an Associate Producer for Prankster Entertainment on the feature film Free Byrd Staring Raymond J. Barry. Recently she produced the QTPOC Web Series Chosen Fam staring Lea RobinsonEmily Chau and Bianka Alexandria Bell. Her latest film project is the Lesbian Paranormal Thriller called "The Ghost of Stow Lake".