Many of the films at Outfest this year are about something everyone can relate to: dysfunctional families.
The “family” theme in some of the movies at this 30th anniversary of LA’s gay film festival was not planned by event organizers.
“A lot film makers who are in the festival are at a certain age where they are either thinking about starting their own families or there’s issues around gay marriage,” Kim Yutani, director of programming for Outfest, told The Huffington Post. “People are defining their families however they choose to, and the possibilities and where our culture is at right now is something they’re clearly excited about exploring.”
Ever year, as LGBT individuals become more accepted, Outfest moves more into the mainstream, Guido Gotz, publicist for the festival, told HuffPost. “Anyone can relate to a movie about a relationship with a parent, sibling or partner,” he commented.
And the festival has certainly grown over the years. When it began in 1982, there were three movies in the festival. This year, there are 147 films from 25 countries.
The films are being screened July 12-22 at six theatres across Los Angeles.
Click through trailers of our picks for Outfest films worth coming “out” for:
All captions from Outfest:
When life with her overprotective mother becomes too much, Bethany (Ashley Rickards, “Awkward”) runs away to live with her dad and his much younger boyfriend, played with unexpected verve by former child star Haley Joel Osment (THE SIXTH SENSE). As Bethany saves up to attend the fashion school of her dreams, her mom starts scheming to get her back. Writer-director Coley Sohn’s debut is a charming and, yes, sassy teen comedy about finding your voice. (Directed by Coley Sohn)
Set in the often-clandestine world of Latino boxing in East Los Angeles, Kid Vargas is forced to face up to some devastating truths after he kills his opponent in the ring. (Directed by Jules Nurrish)
“My Best Day”
Karen can’t believe that she has to work her receptionist gig on a gorgeous Fourth of July. Then a call comes in from her long-lost father, setting in motion a crazy chain of events that will change her small town forever. Meanwhile, her co-worker Megan must decide between the stability of her longtime girlfriend and the thrill of a new love. In MY BEST DAY, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, filmmaker Erin Greenwell confidently juggles multiple quirky plots, serving up a charming slice of Americana that’s both subversive and sunny. (Directed by Erin Greenwell)
“Struck By Lightning”
In this hilarious black comedy, “Glee’s” Chris Colfer plays Carson Phillips, a high school senior with big dreams of escaping the mediocrity of his small town. At school, Carson’s routinely stifled by jerky jocks, drama club gays, a mean girl cheerleader (Sarah Hyland, “Modern Family), a goth chick (Ashley Rickards, “Awkward”), and a clueless college advisor (Angela Kinsey, “The Office”). At home, he has to deal with a pill-popping mom (Allison Janney), estranged father (Dermot Mulroney) and his father’s new fiancĂ©e (Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”). His only ally is his hapless sidekick, the quirky and hilarious Rebel Wilson (BRIDESMAIDS). Together, they come up with a plan to overcome his foes and achieve his dream before it’s too late. (Directed by Brian Dannelly of “Saved!” and “Weeds”)
Few today remember the story of Jobriath, a brilliantly talented rocker who Elektra Records marketed to glam rock fans as an authentically gay American David Bowie. But what could have been a turning point for music instead became a cautionary tale as 1970s audiences and critics rejected the flamboyant performer. Director Kieran Turner painstakingly traces Jobriath’s fascinating life from his childhood to his untimely death, using rare archival footage and interviews with the singer’s closest friends. (Directed by Kieran Turner)
This exuberant documentary tells the story of Wildness, one of the most unique, electrifying and important queer parties in Los Angeles nightlife history. The film presents the creativity and conflict that arose when a group of queer avant-garde artists of color intersected with a community of transgender immigrant women at historic bar The Silver Platter in MacArthur Park. The party, begun in 2008 by performance artist Wu Tsang and DJs NGUZUNGUZU and Total Freedom, drew a mixed crowd of hipsters, artists and the bar’s predominantly Latino and trans clientele, who came to dance and watch artists like Flawless Mother Sabrina, Dynasty Handbag, Ariel Prodigy, Ron Athey and others perform. (Directed by Wu Tsang)
When it’s time for 30-something Jenn to have a child, she turns to best pal Matt to be the father. And even though Matt’s gay and the two haven’t slept together since that one night in college, they decide to make a baby the old-fashioned way. As the two friends deal with fertility tea, feline syringes and new boyfriends, will they be able to create a unique family unit? Jonathan Lisecki’s debut feature is a riotously funny comedy with a biological clock. (Directed by Jonathan Lisecki)
“Face 2 Face”
Filmmaker Katherine Brooks (LOVING ANNABELLE) has 5,000 Facebook friends, but she hasn’t had a hug in over a month. Inspired to conduct an experiment on human interaction, Brooks steps in front of the camera and travels across the U.S. to meet 50 of her virtual friends in person. While battling her own demons, Brooks takes an emotionally grueling but enlightening journey to discover what it means to connect with others in the times we live in. (Directed by Katherine Brooks)
“Love Free or Die”
In 2003, the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire came under fire when it became the first to elect an openly gay bishop. Director Macky Alston follows Bishop Gene Robinson into the breach in the struggle for equality. While resolute in his calling, Robinson grows increasingly critical of the central role that religious institutions have played in fostering homophobia and hatred. Winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for An Agent of Change at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. (Directed by Macky Alston)
“That’s What She Said”
Carrie Preston (“True Blood”) steps behind the camera for this raunchy comedy about two women – bisexual Dee Dee (Anne Heche) and her BFF Bebe – who are always looking for love in the wrong places. When they meet Clementine (Alia Shawkat, “Arrested Development”), a high-strung vibrator addict, the trio set off on a Manhattan misadventure involving Dee Dee’s male ex, a lesbian cop and her lover. (Directed by Carrie Preston)