Outfest Los Angeles celebrates its 40th LGBTQ+ film festival with over 200 screenings and other special events – San Bernardino Sun


Since 1982, Outfest has screened thousands of LGBTQ+ films and television shows at its annual Outfest Los Angeles film festival.

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Outfest will showcase over 200 films in multiple locations throughout Los Angeles from July 14-24. The lineup of films includes narratives, documentaries, short films, episodics, festival favorites and a total of 42 world premieres spanning every genre and representing 29 countries. There are also discussion panels, drag and comedy shows, screenwriting labs and live readings.

“When you hit your 40th anniversary, whether you’re a person or an organization, I think the knee-jerk reaction is to look back and say, ‘How did we get here,’” Outfest Executive Director Damien S. Navarro said during a recent video interview.

 

He said that he and his crew dug deep into the history of Outfest. They wanted to be sure that the 40th anniversary put a spotlight on everyone that helped get them to this place and provided wide-ranging representation.

“We were diving deep into those films and those stories where we’d traditionally say, ‘We didn’t get them to submit,’” he said. “Instead, we were much more proactive in going out into the filmmaker community and into those communities where we haven’t seen those submissions to make sure those films are reflected.”

The festival kicks off with its opening night gala at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles on July 14 with the world premiere of Billy Porter’s directorial debut, the romantic comedy, “Anything’s Possible.” The film will be available for streaming on July 22 on Amazon Prime and follows the story of a trans girl and a cisgender boy navigating their teenage relationship.

The Tony-, Grammy- and Emmy Award-winning Porter will also be honored with the 2022 Outfest Achievement Award. Navarro said that Porter has been a supporter for many years, but that it was more than his work as a performer that earned him the trophy.

“You have to be a filmmaker or a storyteller, you can’t just be in front of the camera talent,” he said. “So when you see someone like Billy Porter or Elliot Page or Octavia Spencer get the award, it’s because they’re investing in independent filmmaking, whether it’s skills or money or time. In Billy’s case, it feels like we’ve been waiting for each other and it just came together with his directorial debut. It’s been so nice for all of that to come together because he has been such a vocal activist in our community for so many years.”

Navarro said one of the most exciting aspects of Outfest is the discovery process. He said festival goers tend to be open to experiencing new kinds of cinema with unique storylines.

“The festival gives you the opportunity to be a little curious,” he said. “If you love romcoms, maybe pick one with a trans lead. Or pick a horror movie or a musical. If you just want to get outdoors, we have shows at The Ford Theatre, too. There really is something here for everyone.”

While some of the events are free, most of the screenings are $14 at the Directors Guild of America (DGA); other events, including the opening and closing galas, are $18-$175. The official Outfest Los Angeles website makes it easy to navigate the events by date, time or genre and purchase tickets.

Some of the highlights include the film “Sirens,” about a female thrash metal band from Lebanon; “Mars One,” a family drama from Brazil; an advance look at Shudder’s forthcoming docuseries “Queer for Fear,” which explores LGBTQIA+ influence in horror cinema; the world premiere of “Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story,” which follows the story of a non-binary pro skater; and a screening of Todd Haynes’ 2002 film “Far From Heaven,” followed by a Q&A session with Haynes, producer Christine Vachon and actress Julianne Moore.

The virtual tab also breaks down which of the films will be available to stream for a limited time.



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