The 2020 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival launches today, Thursday August 20th, and runs through Sunday August 30th. Featuring a diverse selection of more than 160 films this year’s Outfest will be both virtual, with in-home streaming, and for the first time in the 38-year history of the festival there will be a drive-in program, Outfest Under the Stars at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu. Accessed via www.outfestla2020.com organisers are offering access with an All-Access Pass, while select packages of ‘Festival Favorites’ will also be available on demand.
2020 festival highlights include Gossamer Folds starring Alexandra Grey, The Two of Us, Breaking Fast, The Capote Tapes, Evan Purchell’s Ask Any Buddy, Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story, Monsoon, directed by Sundance and Outfest alum Hong Khaou starring Henry Golding, Ali LeRoi’s feature debut The Obituary of Tunde Johnson, P.S. Burn This Letter Please; Cowboys starring young trans actor Sasha Knight, Big Freedia’s anti-gun advocacy doc Freedia Got A Gun, dark comedy The Carnivores and Shiva Baby starring Rachel Sennott, Dianna Agron, and Fred Melamed. Top Teddy Jury Award winners from the 2020 Berlinale, Faraz Shariat’s No Hard Feelings and Patric Chiha’s If It Were Love will also be included in the program. Plus the North American premiere of Eric Steel’s Berlinale selection Minyan, Jen Rainin’s doc Ahead of the Curve about legendary lesbian magazine Curve, Olivia Peace’s Slamdance selection Tahara, and the world premiere of documentary Cured, about the group of activists who successfully campaigned to remove homosexuality from the American Psychiatry Association’s list of mental illnesses. Cured was recently optioned for adaptation into a limited series by Pose co-creator Steven Canals, who will moderate the Q&A with the film’s directors and participants.
This year’s closing night film will be the world premiere of Outfest alum Travis Fine’s (Any Day Now) century-spanning triptych Two Eyes. The film’s ensemble includes Kiowa Gordon, Benjamin Rigby, Nakhane Toure, musician Ryan Cassata, and non-binary activist and performer Kate Bornstein.
In the digital space, John Cameron Mitchell will host a livestream marathon listening party of his critically acclaimed musical podcast, Anthem: Homunculus. The podcast will be paired with specially-created visuals, live drop-ins and Q&A with Mitchell. Meanwhile, Outfest’s Platinum section will continue its tradition of highlighting the cutting-edge, avant-garde and experimental work coming from the queer community, with features including Toronto Film Festival selection The Twentieth Century, and a showcase of experimental short films guest curated by producer, performer, and actor Zackary Drucker.
Outfest’s Legacy Project will feature repertory films not currently available on streaming. The long-unavailable 1986 doc Lily Tomlin: The Film Behind the Show, which chronicles Lily Tomlin and her life partner Jane Wagner’s creation of their hit Broadway show The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, will screen, with Tomlin, Wagner, and the film’s co-director Joan Churchill participating in a live virtual Q&A. Cheryl Dunye’s 2001 prison drama Stranger Inside will be available via HBO for free throughout the festival’s run, with Dunye and producer Effie Brown joining for a live virtual Q&A.
Bio-doc Three Chords and a Lie about gay country music artist Brandon Stansell’s return to his conservative hometown will screen alongside a livestream concert by Stansell. Outfest will also world premiere Emmy-nominated actor Scott Turner Schofield’s one-man show Becoming a Man in 127 Easy Steps, in which viewers can interactively choose which of Schofield’s 127 segments they can experience as they watch.
“This year’s Film Festival is not only a reflection of the trajectory of Outfest – mixing innovation with media to cast an ever-widening net of diverse and global stories – it is also a testament to Outfest’s commitment to attempt to thrive in a moment in which the future of live events, independent film, and our own rights are threatened. We must continue to create the opportunities for our LGBTQIA+ storytellers to navigate the tumultuous environment of entertainment, media and communications, year round,” said Damien S. Navarro, Outfest Executive Director.
Jurors confirmed for the competitive sections of Outfest Los Angeles include:US Narrative Feature: James Sweeney, filmmaker (Straight Up); Ayo Kepher-Maat, Director of Acquisitions, NEON; Caden Mark Gardner, Film Critic.
International Narrative Feature: Jacqueline Lyanga, former Artistic Director of both AFI Fest and Film Independent; Andrew Murphy, Director of Programming, Inside Out Toronto and Isabel Sandoval, filmmaker (Lingua Franca).
Documentary: Sam Feder, filmmaker (Disclosure); Ben-Alex Dupris, filmmaker, (Sweetheart Dancers – winner of Best Short Doc jury award at Outfest 2019); Daresha Kyi, filmmaker (Chavela – winner of Best Documentary Jury and Audience Award at Outfest 2017).
International Narrative Shorts: Daniel Laabs, filmmaker, (Jules of Light and Dark – winner of Best U.S. Narrative Feature jury prize Outfest 2019), Lauren Wolkstein, filmmaker (The Strange Ones); Aurora Guerrero, filmmaker (Netflix’s Gentefied, Mosquita Y Mari).
U.S. Narrative Short: Brian Michael Smith, Actor, (911: Lone Star); Gillian Horvat, filmmaker (I Blame Society) and Carly Usdin, filmmaker (Suicide Kale).
This year’s Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival will run August 20th-30th, and will be accessed via www.outfestla2020.com for one All-Access Pass to OutfestNow (app now available for Roku, AppleTV, Android, ioS). Select packages of Festival Favorites will also be available for direct purchase.
As a nonprofit organization, Outfest relies heavily on the Outfest Los Angeles Film Festival to support its year-round activities. This year it will offer a $60 Festival pass that will provide viewing access to all the films and panels as well as a subscription to Outfest’s new streaming platform for the next year. To discover more about Outfest membership, the Empathy Fund, alumni network, or for a calendar of events go to www.outfest.org or connect to their social channels at @outfest.