By Jai Tiggett | Shadow and Act June 20, 2013 at 11:47AM
Outfest 2013, Los Angeles' LGBT film festival lineup features quite a few titles we've followed previously (Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth, God Loves Uganda, The Happy Sad) and still more that we haven't (Bayou Maharajah, Born This Way, Hot Guys With Guns, Deepsouth).
Find a list of films of note along with summaries below:
ALICE WALKER: BEAUTY IN TRUTH
Alice Walker's extraordinary journey from sharecropper's daughter to activist, journalist, poet and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist of The Color Purple comes to vivid life in this compelling and inspirational documentary. Courting controversy through her life choices (relationships with white men, and later with women), her work and her outspoken political advocacy, Walker emerges as a vibrant, fiercely intelligent and dedicated woman who has defied the odds to become one of this generation's most fascinating figures. Her personal and professional accomplishments, reflected against a period of progress, violence and upheaval, celebrate fulfillment and self-expression against forces that conspire to silence and marginalize outsiders. Featuring testimonials from collaborators and peers (including Steven Spielberg, Yoko Ono, Sapphire, Gloria Steinem, Jewelle Gomez, Quincy Jones and Peter Guber) as well as intimate interviews with Walker herself, director Pratibha Parmar offers rare insight into a complicated and provocative artist.
GOD LOVES UGANDA
As virulently antigay American evangelicals find less of an audience for their hateful message at home, they have sought a new demographic in Africa. This surprisingly funny and infuriating new documentary from Academy Award winner Roger Ross Williams examines how the nation of Uganda has thrown open its arms to discredited and oblivious ministers who, in deadpan interviews, appear completely unaware of how their teachings have induced politicians to put forward the country’s infamous “kill the gays” legislation. But the film also introduces us to Ugandan clergy who, both at home and abroad, are risking excommunication and even death to defend the unpopular cause of LGBT equality. From its chilling examination of state-sanctioned bigotry to its darkly comical one-on-ones with bright-eyed, tone-deaf missionaries, GOD LOVES UGANDA provides powerful insight into the ignorance (cloaked in religion) exported by the United States to the rest of the world.
THE HAPPY SAD
The course of true love runs anything but smoothly in this new romantic drama from acclaimed writer-director Rodney Evans (BROTHER TO BROTHER). Annie dumps Stan, who flirts with Marcus, who’s in a relationship with Aaron that may or not be open. Meanwhile, Annie is drawn toward her interesting (and interested) lesbian friend Mandy and discovers she might want Stan back after all. Evans provocatively examines the politics and protocols of open relationships with wit, wisdom and candid sexuality.
HOT GUYS WITH GUNS
Handsome, reckless Pip gets drugged and robbed at an orgy. Danny, his sexy but sensible ex-boyfriend, is an actor taking a private investigator class—he’s up for a part on a cop show. There’s still a strong sexual and emotional tension between them that builds as they investigate a series of robberies and murders at the sex parties of rich and powerful gay men. With the help of Jimmy, a seenit- all PI, they play a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a ruthless killer, finding plenty of laughs along the way. Writer-director Doug Spearman, a 2009 Outfest Screenwriting Lab fellow for the HOT GUYS WITH GUNS screenplay, premieres an eagerly-awaited action-comedy near and dear to Outfest.
Brilliant gay jazz pianist James Booker was known at various points in his career as the Black Liberace, the Ivory Emperor and Little Chopin. Yet his incredible, tumultuous life has never received proper attention – until now. Director Lily Keber’s portrait traces Booker’s life from his early years as a chart-topping child prodigy to the end, where he performed onstage in his underwear, dishing out drug-fueled conspiracy theories. Featuring interviews with the likes of Harry Connick Jr., Irma Thomas and Allen Toussaint, as well as a generous helping of archival footage, the film brings to life the unforgettable story of this amazing musician.
BORN THIS WAY
Suspenseful and riveting, BORN THIS WAY had its premiere at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival. Shot in Cameroon, where homosexuality is punishable with a five-year prison sentence, the film observes Gertrude, a young lesbian, as she hesitantly comes out to the nun who raised her in a convent. Meanwhile, Cedric, a young gay man, is determined to stay in his home even as his neighbors escalate their violent threats. From their base in an HIV treatment center, these two brave souls risk life and liberty to create positive momentum for LGBT rights, even as they face overwhelming personal struggles.
An eye-opening look at a healthcare crisis happening in the rural American South, where HIV is spreading fast with few resources to fight it. Kathie is the passionate director of AIDS Alabama, working tirelessly to redress the disproportionate allocation of federal AIDS moneys. Monica and Tammy run a Louisiana HIV retreat on virtually no budget. Josh is a young, gifted, emotionally candid black gay man with HIV doing his best against terrible odds to pursue a college education. DEEPSOUTH tackles these tough realities with a stunning degree of humanity, highlighting the grace and perseverance of a handful of unsung southern heroes undaunted by the difficulties at hand.
Outfest 2013 runs July 11-21 in Los Angeles. For Details and tickets,visit the festival website.