Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work The Eerie Connection Between 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Tomorrowland' The Eerie Connection Between 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Tomorrowland' Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Ryan Gosling in Talks for 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Damien Chazelle's 'La La Land' Ryan Gosling in Talks for 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Damien Chazelle's 'La La Land' You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents Watch: The New 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer Has Landed Watch: The New 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer Has Landed Watch the Teaser Trailer for Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' Watch the Teaser Trailer for Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' Watch: This Exclusive Tribeca Trailer Promises a Vérité Southern Gothic in Malick Vein Watch: This Exclusive Tribeca Trailer Promises a Vérité Southern Gothic in Malick Vein 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 'Queen of Earth,' Starring a Gloriously Unhinged Elisabeth Moss, Goes to IFC 'Queen of Earth,' Starring a Gloriously Unhinged Elisabeth Moss, Goes to IFC Cary Fukunaga Takes Over Long-Stalled 'The Alienist' as TV Series Cary Fukunaga Takes Over Long-Stalled 'The Alienist' as TV Series Why the Istanbul Film Festival Cancelled Its 2015 Competition Why the Istanbul Film Festival Cancelled Its 2015 Competition The Dramatic Story Behind Satyajit Ray's 50s Masterpiece 'The Apu Trilogy' (Exclusive) The Dramatic Story Behind Satyajit Ray's 50s Masterpiece 'The Apu Trilogy' (Exclusive) MTV Movie Awards 2015: The Highs, the Lows and the Winners List (Videos) MTV Movie Awards 2015: The Highs, the Lows and the Winners List (Videos) Arthouse Audit: 'Ex Machina' Leads Four Big Openers, Kristen Stewart Opens 'Clouds of Sils Maria' Arthouse Audit: 'Ex Machina' Leads Four Big Openers, Kristen Stewart Opens 'Clouds of Sils Maria' The New Ladder: Anatomy of Indie Women's Picture 'Farah Goes Bang' The New Ladder: Anatomy of Indie Women's Picture 'Farah Goes Bang' Here's the First Image of Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix in Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Here's the First Image of Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix in Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Kristen Stewart Explains How She Held Her Own with Juliette Binoche in 'Sils Maria'--and Won a Cesar Kristen Stewart Explains How She Held Her Own with Juliette Binoche in 'Sils Maria'--and Won a Cesar Scientists Choose the 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies Ever Scientists Choose the 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies Ever

Outfest Weekend Preview: What Films to See and Why We Need the Festival

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! July 11, 2013 at 3:41PM

Now celebrating its 31st birthday, Outfest is Los Angeles' chief LGBT film festival and this year the prodigious lineup boasts 155 films from 28 countries spanning docs, features and shorts.
3
'I am Divine'
'I am Divine'

Now celebrating its 31st birthday, Outfest is Los Angeles' chief LGBT film festival. This year the prodigious lineup boasts 155 films from 28 countries spanning docs, features and shorts. Needless to say, gay civil rights have been changing rapidly, as have the films that depict LGBT issues. Gay cinema has finally stopped focusing on the coming out story and is beginning to ask questions about what happens next. This is the change of direction necessary to move the gay film genre out of the periphery of cinema culture.

According to Outfest director of programming KP Pepe, "The festival will always be a place where people can come together and witness the issues that LGBT people have been thinking about. The filmmakers are on the cutting edge, as are the stories they're telling."

Because of recent changes in gay attitudes and rights, "people on TV and in movies are comfortable with gay characters and gay themes," Pepe said. "More people aren't afraid to include these core stories where in the past people might have told more of the hardship stories." 

Take a film like "Concussion," in which two lesbian mothers have already come out, had kids and are now dealing with what happens next. "Being gay is a central part of it, but it's a different kind of story," Pepe said.

Because Outfest includes so many multinational as well as domestic independent films, the festival is not exclusively for an LGBT audience. It has a broader reach, Pepe adds: "We've become a destination for the LGBT community in Los Angeles, but also for movie lovers and cinephiles."

Outfest opens Thursday with Kyle Patrick Alvarez's "C.O.G." (our review here) preceding Friday's screening of Stacie Passon's lesbian drama "Concussion," continuing to make the festival rounds. With Robin Weigert and Maggie Siff (Rachel Menken in season one of "Mad Men"), the film comes highly rated. Scott Foundas' crowning review in Village Voice notes Weigert's "fearless performance," deeming the film a "happy surprise" and a riff on Bunuel's "Belle du Jour."

Another film screening this weekend with festival accolades is David Lambert's "Beyond the Walls," which premiered last year at Cannes Critics' Week sidebar and was warmly received by jury members (myself included) for its gentle depiction of a man-on-man love, which hits the humble, socially awkward protagonist Paulo (Matila Malliarakis) like a force of nature. While Lambert's film nary goes astray from the indie gay romance formula, as Paulo all but loses his head over debonair, dégagé foreigner Ilir (Guillaume Gouix), it remains an earnest, nicely penned feature directorial debut.

On Sunday, July 14, three strong films from Frameline screen at Outfest. "I am Divine," Jeffrey Schwarz's documentary on John Waters' titular muse, is a must-see for cult film fans (our TOH! capsule review here). This crowdfunded doc traces the life of Harris Glenn Milstead, whose Divine alter-ego was a day job that paved the way for a successful acting and music career before his death at age 42.  Also screening is the riveting human rights doc "Born This Way." This is an incisive examination of LGBT struggle in Cameroon. In the West African nation, where HIV/AIDS is thought to have originated, gay people are at risk of imprisonment of up to five years, often with little evidence other than local rumors (reviewed at Frameline here).

Ringo Le's "Big Gay Love" is a sweet little romantic comedy starring Jonathan Lisecki ("Gayby") as Bob, a big guy with small self-esteem and a domineering, larger-than-life mother. Bob is a party planner, and at one of his exuberantly orchestrated soirees he meets chef Andy (Nicholas Brendan), who fits the daddy bear complex to a T. Together they embark on an awkward romance plagued by missed connections, mixed emotions and ignored text messages. Refreshingly, this is by no means a message movie. Instead, it's a splashy trod through gay silliness with self-image problems in tow.

Also screening Sunday on the opposite end of the genre spectrum is Michael Mayer's "Out in the Dark," a gay Israeli-Palestinian romance that unfurls into an antsy thriller in its last act. The film snagged the outstanding first feature prize at Frameline this summer. Nimer (Nicholas Jacobs) is a Palestinian student whose relationship with Israeli lawyer Roy (Michael Aloni) detonates explosive political consequences. Well-acted and assuredly directed, even though its tone goes off the rails, this is a solid debut that will easily find a niche audience when it secures distribution.

More Outfest reviews on TOH! are forthcoming, including one of the best docs of the festival, "Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton." For now, head to the festival's website for more information.


This article is related to: Festivals, Outfest


E-Mail Updates