Over 200 films will be screened as part of Outfest’s 40th anniversary celebration from July 14 to July 24 in various locations all over Los Angeles. The selection of movies includes festival favorites, narratives, documentaries, shorts, episodics, and a total of 42 world premieres from 29 different nations and every genre. Additionally, there are live readings, drag and comedy performances, discussion panels, and screenwriting workshops.
In a recent video interview, Outfest Executive Director Damien S. Navarro said, “I think the knee-jerk reaction is to look back and say, ‘How did we get here,’ whether you’re a person or an organization, when you hit your 40th anniversary.”
He claimed that he and his team thoroughly researched Outfest’s past. They wanted to make sure that the 40th anniversary honored everyone who contributed to their success and offered diverse representation.
We were deeply examining those movies and stories about which we would typically say, “We didn’t get them to submit,” he said. Instead, to ensure that these films are represented, we were much more proactive in reaching out to the filmmaker community and to those communities where we hadn’t seen those submissions.
The romantic comedy “Anything’s Possible,” directed by Billy Porter, receives its world premiere at the festival’s opening night gala on July 14 at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. The movie, which tells the tale of a trans girl and a cisgender boy navigating their teen relationship, will start streaming on Amazon Prime on July 22.
The 2022 Outfest Achievement Award will also be given to Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winner Porter. Porter has been a supporter for many years, according to Navarro, but more than just his performance work was responsible for Porter winning the trophy.
You can’t just be a talent for the camera, he said. “You have to be a filmmaker or a storyteller.” “Accordingly, when someone like Billy Porter, Elliot Page, or Octavia Spencer wins an award, it’s because they’re making an investment in independent filmmaking—whether it’s time, money, or skills. Billy and I seem to have been waiting for one another, and with his first directorial effort, it all came together. He has been such a vocal activist in our community for a long time, so it has been so nice for everything to come together.
The process of discovery, according to Navarro, is one of Outfest’s most thrilling features. According to him, movie festival attendees are usually open to trying out new genres of movies with original plotlines.
The festival allows you to indulge your curiosity, he said. Consider choosing a rom-com with a trans lead if you enjoy them. Or decide on a musical or a horror film. We also have performances at The Ford Theatre if you just want to spend some time outside. Everyone will find something to enjoy here.
At the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the majority of the screenings cost $14, though some events are free. Other events, such as the opening and closing galas, cost between $18 and $175. It is simple to browse the events by date, time, or genre on the official Outfest Los Angeles website and buy tickets.
Highlights include the movie “Sirens,” which tells the story of a female thrash metal band from Lebanon; “Mars One,” a Brazilian family drama; a sneak peek at Shudder’s upcoming docuseries “Queer for Fear,” which examines LGBTQIA+ influence in horror films; the world premiere of “Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story,” which tells the tale of a non-binary professional skater; and a showing of Todd
The virtual tab also lists which movies are only temporarily available to stream.
The queer slasher “They/Them,” directed by screenwriter John Logan, will have its world premiere as part of Outfest’s closing gala on July 24 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel. “They/Them” was written during the pandemic lockdowns in early 2020, according to Logan, who also wrote the screenplays for “The Aviator,” “Skyfall,” and the Showtime series “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels.” He had been considering writing an inclusive slasher movie as a passion project for a very long time.
In a recent phone interview, Logan admitted, “I grew up on horror movies.” He was a huge fan of the Universal Monster movies and would dash home from school to watch the TV show “Dark Shadows.”
When slasher movies first appeared, he continued, “I became aware that the gay characters were either victims or they were jokes or, worse yet, they were non-existent. “As a gay child myself, I had to use transference, which caused me to suddenly picture Jamie Lee Curtis from the movie Halloween. To see themselves represented, queer people must engage in that transference. I was aware of how much it would have meant to me to see a gay hero in my favorite genre, horror.
In the movie “They/Them,” starring Kevin Bacon as Owen Whistler, seven queer and transgender teenage campers are sent to a therapy conversion camp. “They/Them” will be streamable on Peacock beginning on August 5. Logan stated that he wanted to make sure that LGBTQ+ actors were cast in each of the campers’ roles. Actress Anna Chlumsky, non-binary actor Theo Germaine, trans actress Quei Tann, and gay actor Austin Crute are also featured in the movie.
I can only speak from my own experience, but I’ve found that there aren’t many queer characters in movies, especially in the horror subgenre, he said. Therefore, I believed that if we had the chance to represent each color in the rainbow flag, we should do so bravely, valiantly, and justly. I created characters that spanned the entire gamut.
However, the people on the set taught him the most.
In order to create characters that had a sense of authenticity, he said, “I’m not transgender and I’m not non-binary, so working with people like Theo Jermaine and Quei Tann was able to help me learn the language, learn the sensitivity, and help form the characters.” “Those seven actors are giving those roles so much of themselves. It’s not an exaggeration to say that all of those actors felt a genuine sense of ownership in the film because, in a sense, it was their story being told.
It’s a tale of brave, unified, and successful queer people, he continued. And that isn’t a story or a sight you get to see very frequently, either. The great thing about horror for me is that it’s the ultimate metaphor. You look at movies like “Get Out,” which fit into the genre but address a bigger issue. You’re dealing with very specific tropes, and while our film is unapologetically a very entertaining slasher film, I hope that there is also — especially in this day and age — meaning and empathy as well as a chance to declaim the glory of queer people within that.
Los Angeles LGBTQ+ Film Festival Outfest
When: Several occasions July 14-24
Where: All over Los Angeles, in various locations
Free to $14 for each screening; $18 to $175 for a few in-person events; streaming options at outfestla.org.