"The Skeleton Twins"
"The Skeleton Twins"

Outfest kicks off tonight in Los Angeles, and the city is in for a 11 day treat as pretty much every strong LGBT film from the past year's festival circuit will be screening at the fest -- not to mention a few potential discoveries. While we're keeping our fingers crossed for the latter, we've got a few suggestions for you regarding the former.  Here's 14 films we'd highly recommend you check out at the festival, which runs tonight through July 20th:

52 Tuesdays (directed by Sophie Hyde)

Winner of the best director award at Sundance (for World Cinema), this heartbreaking Australian drama follows sixteen-year-old Billie, whose path to independence is accelerated when her mother reveals plans for to transition to from female to male, and their time together becomes limited to Tuesdays. And this emotionally charged story isn't just set over a year of those Tuesdays, but it was actually filmed over the course of a year—once a week, every week, only on Tuesdays. 

Appropriate Behavior (directed by Desiree Akhavan)

"Appropriate Behavior"
"Appropriate Behavior"

Desiree Akhavan's debut feature offers up the story of a young woman (Akhavan herself) struggling to become a tall order of a trio: An ideal Persian daughter, a politically correct bisexual, and a hip, young Brooklynite.  While the film could have easily ventured into a sort of feature length version of "Girls" (if Lena Dunham was a bisexual and Persian, that is), it develops a true voice of its own in Sundance breakout Akhavan, who tackles an intersection of identity with a somehow charming mix of humor and desolation (give this woman whatever she wants for her follow-up!). 

The Circle (directed by Stefan Haupt)

The deserved winner of the Teddy Award for best documentary at this year's Berlin International Film Festival, "The Circle" tackles the fascinating story behind one of the first gay liberation communities.  The film's title translates to "Der Kreis," the name of a gay magazine and organization founded in the early 1940s Germany that somehow managed to survive the Nazi regime, blossoming in the post-war years into a internationally renowned underground club. It was there when the love story between teacher Ernst Ostertag and drag star Robi Rapp began, which serves as the heart of "The Circle," a truly remarkable documentary.

"The Dog"
Drafthouse Films "The Dog"

The Dog (directed by Alison Berg and Frank Keraudren)

John Wojtowicz was turned into something of an iconic figure when Al Pacino played him in 1975's "Dog Day Afternoon." In that film, Wojtowicz took a bank hostage in the hopes of raising money for his transsexual lover's sex change operation, hardly exaggerated the actual 1972 event, but only captured one piece of a much larger story. That's why its so great we have "The Dog," Alison Berg and Frank Keraudren's documentary about Wojtowicz in the years leading up to his death from cancer in 2006. A festival circuit hit since it debuted in Toronto last year, it's definitely one to catch at Outfest if you haven't seen it yet.