Making Out at Outfest: What’s Hot in the Line-up

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Outfest-07-8-2015

Outfest is back, and it’s unquestionably one of the best places in the entire world to see the most fascinating and entertaining LGBT movies. Shorts, features, documentaries and live chats about the world of gays, lesbians, trans people and of course bisexuals are all featured.

Among the new things this year are the substitutes for the outdoor sing-alongs at the Ford Amphitheater, which is currently being renovated. This year, there’s the Montalban Theatre in Hollywood, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (which is known for its summer movies), and the Theatre at Ace Hotel – all great venues.

In the list of the very exciting movies is the bisexual storyline that was actually added into the movie “54: The Director’s Cut” starring Ryan Phillipe, and a screening of Madonna’s “Truth or Dare” documentary. There’s the 10th anniversary of the beautiful “Quinceneara” by Wash Westmoreland and the late Richard Glatzer (with the cast promising to be there), and closeted Hollywood hunk Tab Hunter’s bio-pic with Clint Eastwood, Robert Wagner, Debbie Reynolds, George Takei, John Waters and Portia De Rossi in “Tab Hunter Confidential.” And of course you spend “A Night with Nick Jonas” (he will be there discussing his “Kingdom” show).

Todd Haynes will be there to celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Velvet Goldmine” in which Wash Westmoreland has a cameo appearance. You’ll also be able to see Gregg Araki’s “Totally Fucked Up” and “Parting Glances.”

The festival runs from July 10 to July 19, 2015. Check the website for details and ticket purchasing: http://www.outfest.org/fest2015/

This year, the festival will feature a mix of both seasoned filmmakers and debut artists, with an incredible 28 new filmmakers listed in the lineup. There are also six world premieres, and three U.S. premieres.

Among the stars you’ll see in the movies are: Katherine Heigl, Alexis Bledel, Tom Wilkinson and Grace Gummer (Jenny’s Wedding), Dianna Agron and Paz de la Huerta (Bare), Victoria Justice and Pierson Fode (Naomi & Ely’s No Kiss List); Judy Greer, Natasha Lyonne, Aubrey Plaza, Fred Armisen, Molly Shannon and Clea Duvall (Fresno), John Lithgow, Kelsey Grammer, Gore Vidal, William F. Buckley, Christopher Hitchens and Noam Chomsky (Best of Enemies), Shirley Manson, Kurt Cobain, Carrie Brownstein, Mike McCready and Ben Gibbard, (The Glamour and the Squalor); David Hockney (Hockney), Mary Louise Wilson, Frances McDormand, Melissa Leo, Tyne Daly, Estelle Parsons, Charlotte Rae and Valerie Harper (She’s the Best Thing in It).

I’ve seen some of the movies, I’ll see some of them again, but here are some of the best.

Here are other special highlights:

TIGER ORANGE stars Frankie Valenti, formerly known as adult film star Johnny Hazzard, who turns in a fresh and sexy performance as a reckless gay brother who returns to his family’s small California town to confront his estranged gay sibling and upends life in the sleepy town. I’ve known him and interviewed him many times when he was a porn king, so this is something I’m looking forward to.

THE ROYAL ROAD by Jenni Olson, a fantastic documentarian. This one is probably her best. It’s about Junipero Sera’s colonization of California, includes butch identity and many California landscapes.

DO I SOUND GAY is a funny and insightful documentary by David Thorpe and focuses on a question many men/boys ask themselves at some point about whether or not we are gay. The film is about one’s discovery of self and one’s identity and told in a fun way. Here’s the set up: after a breakup with his boyfriend, journalist David Thorpe embarks on a hilarious and touching journey of self-discovery, confronting his anxiety about “sounding gay.” Enlisting acting coaches, linguists, friends, family, total strangers, and celebrities, he quickly learns that many people — both gay and straight — often wish for a different voice. There are frank and funny perspectives from public figures such as bisexual comedian Margaret Cho, actor George Takei, sex-advice columnist Dan Savage, Tim Gunn, David Sedaris, Don Lemon and many more.

TIG is Tig Notaro‘s documentary which explores the comedian’s battle against cancer. Sarah Silverman, Jason Sudeikis and Zach Galifianakis also appear.

FOURTH MAN OUT stars Glee’s Chord Overstreet, Parker Young and Kate Flannery in a delightful comedy set in blue-collar America that tells the story of a young man who comes out to his childhood best friends.

JASON AND SHIRLEY is a charming new film from LBGT filmmaker Stephen Winter. The film plays OUTFEST after garnering critical attention at premiere screenings at BAM CinemaFest and Frameline. An electric and timely exploration of Jewish/African-American relations, sexuality, and the dynamic and complex nature of artistic expression, it’s a historical re-imagining that uses the past as an astute comment on the present. Mixing fantasy and reality with enthralling performances from Jack Waters (The Male GaYze) and acclaimed lesbian writer Sarah Schulman in the title roles,Jason and Shirley, the film is a fascinating exploration of art, race, privilege, sex, and—most provocatively—the fine art of manipulation.

A GAY GIRL IN DAMASCUS: THE AMINA PROFILE is Sophie Deraspe’s story about Amina Arraf, a Syrian-American revolutionary whose blog A Gay Girl in Damascus acquires a huge following as the Syrian uprising gains momentum.

BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING is Joseph Graham’s film that has been very well received following its world premiere at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Festival. It stars Brian Sheppard, Colman Domingo (Selma, AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead”), Zack Ryan and John Lescault. In one desperate night, four desperate gay men cruise Philadelphia in pursuit of ever-elusive human connection. Brian (Sheppard), a poet with an already-spent advance and a looming deadline, seeks distraction at dusk-whether that means a hook-up (or two) or confessing his love to his straight best friend. Drew (Domingo), a renowned sculptor in love with his boyish muse, is eager to finish his latest creation. His model Jim (Ryan) is an unpredictable aspiring actor prone to dramatic outbursts. Simultaneously aroused and intimidated by Drew’s talent and devotion, Jim yearns for a modicum of freedom from the sculptor’s attentions. Rounding out the quartet is Bob (Lescault), a wealthy, alcoholic talent agent, cruising the Philadelphia backstreets for a “beautiful something.” Despite his aimlessness, he usually finds his target.

 NASTY BABY is Sebastian Silva’s film that centers on a Brooklyn couple, Freddy and his boyfriend, Mo. The couple is trying to have a baby with the help of their best friend, Polly. The film follows the trio as they navigate the idea of creating life while confronted by growing harassment from a menacing local known as ‘The Bishop.’ As things take a dark turn, their joyous pursuit of parenthood is suddenly clouded.

Check out the Outfest line-up on the website, and stay tuned for follow-ups.

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About Author

Mike Szymanski

Mike Szymanski has written about bisexual issues since 1989 and has one of the longest-running regular bisexual columns as the National Bisexuality Examiner. He came out as bisexual in a cover story of Genre magazine, which resulted in more than 50 television appearances, including Ricki Lake, Phil Donahue Show and 20/20. Szymanski won the Lambda Literary Award in 2007 for co-authoring an informative humor book “The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe: Quips, Tips and Lists for Those Who Go Both Ways.”

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