It’s almost hard to believe it’s been 40 years since Outfest LA became a force for LGBTQ+ themed expression on film. We’ve made a lot of progress in terms of positive representation, but clearly, there is always more to said, done and shown. As the rights of queer people seem at risk now more than ever, stories reflecting the breadth of this experience are also more important than ever. Outfest is still going strong after four decades in its quest to do it, and do it right.
Held from July 14 – 24, this year’s festival features over 200 films from around the globe and 42 premieres at various L.A. locales throughout the week, including Directors Guild of America, The Orpheum Theatre, The Theatre at Ace Hotel, The Ford, Harmony Gold, Plaza de la Raza and REDCAT. Several films will be available to screen virtually at home as well. Billy Porter’s directorial debut Anything’s Possible (about a high school age trans girl finding romance and herself during senior year) is getting tons of a buzz. It will premiere during the event’s opening gala at the Orpheum on July 14. Porter will also be presented with 2022 Outfest Annual Achievement Award.
Other highlights include the 20th Anniversary screening of Todd Haynes’ Far From Heaven, which will offer Haynes, producer Christine Vachon, and Julianne Moore discussing the film afterward; Unidentified Objects, a road trip-driven buddy comedy; Mama Bears, a doc exploring Christian mothers who give love and support to their LGBTQIA+ children; HeBGB TV, an avant garde tribute to late night horror TV embellished by “a spooky, live-action immersive experience”; Chrissy Judy, a dark comedy about the relationship between a 30-something drag queen and his best friend, Chrissy; and a closing night screening of John Logan’s new film They/Them, which stars Kevin Bacon, and is positioned as an “LGBTQIA+ empowerment tale set at a gay conversion camp.”
And there’s more: putting many of the films shown into more enlightened context, a Trans, Nonbinary & Intersex Summit at the Directors Guild of America (Sat., July 23) will offer programs and discussion with everyone from activists to filmmakers to comedians; trans actor and artist Lio Mehiel presents a three-part pop-up art presentation “Ancient Futures” also at the DGA, aimed at affirming and revering TGNC bodies via video, photo and sculpture (from British multidisciplinary artist Holly Silius); Big Freedia brings the bounce to Outfest’s Platinum Alchemy Bash at Catch One along with Moor Mother’s 700 Bliss, Seth Bogart, Commando, and more, on July 17. There’s a whole lot more to watch and engage in, from music and dance to networking and education.
“OUTFEST has always been a life-line for those of us queer folk who had no place to go,” says Porter about the event. “To have a queer film festival that’s 40-years-old is a testament to the fierceness of our community. Build it — and they will come. “
See the full schedule and more info here.