Now that DOMA has been ruled unconstitutional, the City of Angels keeps the celebration going with The 31st Annual Outfest Film Festival showcasing the best in LGBT filmmaking from the US & across the world. Outfest has also been consistent in its support for the Latino gay & lesbian film community which, sad to say, is more than most Latino film festivals have shown (Really?! Still? I've never met your family but trust me, one of your primos is gay). This year Outfest solidifies that commitment by not only having an diverse range of gay themed or gay helmed films, but the opening night film is C.O.G written and directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez, winner of the prestigious "Someone to Watch" Award at the 2010 Independent Spirit Awards for his writing and directorial debut film Easier With Practice. C.O.G is the first film adaptation of the highly esteemed author David Sedaris' work. Festivals like Outfest (and its life partner Newfest in NYC) exist to promote, share and foster LGBT visibility in the media from all races and places. LatinoBuzz checked out the line-up at this years Outfest to see WTF is Latino!
C.O.G – Dir. by Kyle Patrick Alvarez (USA)
David has it all figured out. His plan—more a Steinbeckian dream—is to spend his summer working on an apple farm in Oregon with his best friend, Jennifer. When she bails out on him, David is left to dirty his hands alone, watched over by Hobbs, the old farm owner and the first in a series of questionable mentors he encounters. First there’s Curly, the friendly forklift operator with a unique hobby, and then Jon, the born-again rock hound who helps David in a time of need. C.O.G tells the story of a prideful young man and what’s left of him after all he believes is chipped away piece by piece.
PITSTOP – Dir. by Yen Tan (USA)
Recovering from an ill-fated affair with a married man, Gabe finds solace in the relationship he maintains with his ex-wife and daughter. On the other side of town, Ernesto evades life at home with his current live-in ex-boyfriend by spending much of his spare time in the hospital with an ailing past love. Impervious to the monotony of their blue-collar world, they maintain an unwavering yearning for romance.
WHO'S AFRAID OF VAGINA WOLF? - Dir. by Anna Margarita Albelo (USA)
As another birthday rolls around, forty-year-old filmmaker Anna returns to her never-changing list of resolutions: lose twenty pounds, get a girlfriend, and direct a feature film. This year, Anna plans to knock (at least) two of those resolutions out with one stone, as she begins writing a lesbian remake of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, devised to win the affections of her leading lady, Katia. With Anna planning to act opposite her beautiful crush, her two best friends, Penelope and Chloe, round out the four-person cast. Unfortunately, things don’t run smoothly, as egos begin to clash and crew members start sleeping with one another. Will Anna go yet-another year without accomplishing any of her resolutions?
VALENCIA - Dir. by Lares Feliciano, Dia Felix etc. (USA)
Valencia the novel put the experiences of an entire generation of lesbians on paper through the lens of one hard-loving and hard-drinking dyke. Punk rockers, riot grrls, and simple, artsy freaks suddenly had a heroine to look up to and a mecca to head toward. This highly anticipated film adaptation of Valencia gives a whole new generation of fabulous, artsy, genderqueer folks an opportunity to reinterpret and reinvent the tales of this iconic novel one chapter at a time.
REACHING FOR THE MOON (Flores Raras) – Dir. by Bruno Barreto (Brazil)
Seasoned Brazilian helmer Bruno Barreto brings to life 1950s Rio in this beautifully drawn tale of poet Elizabeth Bishop and her love affair with architect Lota de Macedo Soares, the designer of Rio’s famed Flamengo Park. Based on the bestselling Brazilian novel Rare and Commonplace Flowers, the film follows Bishop as a creative block prompts her to accept the invitation of a college friend to stay with her and her partner, Lota, on a sprawling country estate. Quintessentially American Bishop is a fish out of water in her new lush and bohemian setting, until the instant chemistry between her and Lota boils over.
ANIMALS – Dir. by Marçal Forés (Spain)
There are maladjusted teens, and then there’s Pol, whose best friend is a walking, talking stuffed bear who sounds like HAL, the evil computer in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. (TED, this ain’t.) As Pol tries to unravel the meaning behind a strange series of circumstances involving his gay friend, a local girl’s death, a sexy new transfer student and his English teacher (Martin Freeman, THE HOBBIT), he finds that nothing in this weird, weird world is what it seems. Evoking the strange and sometimes sinister mood of DONNIE DARKO, AMERICAN BEAUTY, ELEPHANT and KABOOM, ANIMALS is like a mysterious dream you’ll want to have over and over again
IGLU (Igloo) – Dir. by Diego Ruiz (Chile)
Daniel, a young, handsome and talented illustrator, is deeply depressed in the aftermath of his relationship with an older man, his college professor. Salvation comes through his neighbor Paula, an agoraphobic therapist, with whom Daniel begins an intense relationship. IGLOO explores a young man’s complex relationships with sexuality, intimacy and addiction, and how his memories and present day relationships help him embrace a new life. In his directorial debut, established Chilean actor Diego Ruiz plays the lead role of Daniel (he also co-wrote the script) in an imaginative and moving story of identity and self-acceptance.
LA PARTIDA (The Last March) – Dir. by Antonio Hens (Cuba)
Reinier works as a callboy in order to support his wife and child, but he ends up gambling most of his money away. Sex with men is strictly business until he befriends a cute soccer player named Yosvani, who works for his girlfriend’s father, a corrupt debt collector. When Reinier’s gambling habit gets him in serious trouble, Yosvani tries to convince Reinier to run away with him. Set in the bustling streets of Cuba, THE LAST MATCH offers a visceral romance ripe with unexpected turns and dangerous temptations.
AL CIELO (To Heaven) – Dir. by Diego Prado (Argentina)
In this breezy and beautifully crafted Argentine feature, a punk-loving teenager wrestles with the nerve-wracking uncertainty of first love. Torn between accepting the strict teachings of his church and embracing a handsome local guitarist, Andrés finds himself in existential limbo, unable to make a move without instantly regretting his choices. Balancing teen angst with warm observations, TO HEAVEN concludes in strikingly romantic fashion, satisfying our expectations in ways only the best of coming-of-age dramas can do.
transVISIBLE:The Bamby Salcedo Story - Dir. by Dante Alencastre (USA)
An icon of L.A.'s transgender community, Latina activist Bamby Salcedo sparkles in Dante Alencastre’s candid documentary. Beginning with Bamby’s life on the drug-addled streets of Guadalajara and then journeying through her recovery and out-spoken activism, TRANSVISIBLE’s riveting one-on-one interviews reveal a selfless HIV advocate and tireless transgender community spokeswoman. (Her work at the Children's Hospital, Los Angeles and as a coordinator for Angels of Change are just two of many notable causes.) Bamby’s story is one of inspiration and hope.
And rounding out the Latino hotness are the Short films...
Tableau (USA), You're Dead to Me (USA), Scaffolding (Spain), The Companion (Peru), Elliot King is Third (USA), Miguel Alvarez Wears a Wig (Greece/Spain) Rad Queers (USA).
OutFest runs July 11th-21st. For more info on OUTFEST please visit: www.Outfest.org
Written by Juan Caceres and Vanessa Erazo, LatinoBuzz is a weekly feature on SydneysBuzz that highlights Latino indie talent and upcoming trends in Latino film with the specific objective of presenting a broad range of Latino voices. Follow @LatinoBuzz on Twitter and Facebook.