Outfest has just announced the award winners of the 2021 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival, which ran from August 13th—opening with the LA premiere of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie—until August 22nd, closing with Fanny: The Right to Rock. Sunday’s closing night gala also saw Outfest’s annual honors bestowed upon Octavia Spencer, who received the James Schamus Ally Award, and Elliot Page, who was recognized with the organization’s Achievement Award.
Outfest LA 2021 has been extended with an encore period until midnight PST on Wednesday August 25th, stream the award winning films and festival highlights at OutfestLA2021.com.
“The incredible response from this year’s festival has been beyond heart-warming and rewarding for our board, staff, and volunteers to watch as thousands of our Outfest members, fans, filmmakers, and audience members participated in this year’s festivities from around the world,” said Outfest Executive Director Damien Navarro, reflecting back on this year’s festival.
“As we come together a final time to celebrate our winners from 2021”, Navarro continues, “I want the world to know that Outfest the organization is committed to continuing our fight to improve accessibility, to continue expanding our visibility and to identify where new opportunities lie for us. As I said at our Opening Night Gala, ‘To my trans, intersex and non-binary siblings, we see you. To my black lesbians, trans, and gay men, we hear you. To my Latinx primos, we stand by you. To my Asian queer family, we will do better. To my disabled storytellers and dreamers, we won’t leave you behind. For my Indigenous artists and visionaries, we will never forget. To my Middle Eastern colleagues, we will climb with you. And to all of those generations before us who knocked down those first blocks, we can never repay you.'”
For the first time, this year’s Outfest audience awards were voted for via the IMDb app. Here’s a full list of the winners.
Documentary Short Audience Award:
RIGHT TO TRY, Directed by Zeberiah Newman
Documentary Feature Audience Award:
THIS IS JESSICA, Directed by Andrea Meyerson
Narrative Short Audience Award:
AND THEN, Directed by Jenn Ravenna Tran
Narrative Feature Audience Award:
DEATH AND BOWLING, Directed by Lyle Kash
Experimental Short Audience Award:
JUPITER & EUROPA, Directed by Milo Ferguson
Grand Jury Awards
Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize:
The Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize goes to NO STRAIGHT LINES: THE RISE OF QUEER COMICS for preserving an important history of the evolution of queer creators in comics. This film highlights the often invisible work of building community through the creative process, and has the potential to unite queer community across generations through learning our shared history and the lines that can be drawn to unite us.
Documentary Feature Special Mentions:
The jury would like to acknowledge two standout documentary features – SEDIMENTS and NORTH BY CURRENT – that lean into the messiness of relationships and life journeys with their artistic risk-taking, aspirations, and unexpected storytelling impact.
U.S. Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize
FIRSTNESS, Directed by Brielle Brilliant
The U.S. Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize goes to FIRSTNESS for its fresh and compassionate perspective on a community of folks that live on the periphery of mainstream society. This immersive film had such a strong point of view, great cinematography, and a beautifully cohesive cast.
U.S. Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize for Best Performance
Pooya Mohseni in SEE YOU THEN
The Grand Jury Prize for Best Performance in a U.S. Narrative Feature goes to Pooya Mohseni in SEE YOU THEN for an excellent portrayal of a character who simultaneously takes responsibility for their past while also honoring their true self.
U.S. Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize for Best Screenplay
Wes Hurley for POTATO DREAMS OF AMERICA
The Grand Jury Prize for Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature goes to Wes Hurley for POTATO DREAMS OF AMERICA for his unique non-traditional portrayal of a gay immigrant’s transition to America and his relationship to his mother.
U.S. Narrative Feature Special Mention
THE SIXTH REEL for Ensemble Performance, Directed by Charles Busch & Carl Andress
A Special Mention for Ensemble Performance goes to Charles Busch & Carl Andress’ film THE SIXTH REEL for the wackiest and most entertaining ensemble of characters we’ve seen in a while; we had such a wonderful time romping around lower Manhattan with this group of folks.
International Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize
A DISTANT PLACE, Directed by PARK Kun-young
The International Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize goes to A DISTANT PLACE for exploring and expanding our notions of queer fatherhood with a narrative so wholly rooted in its bucolic rural community.
International Narrative Feature Special Mention
Cloris Leachman in JUMP, DARLING for Performance
A Special Mention goes to the inimitable Cloris Leachman for a reminder of the genius of a legendary performer whose wit remained as sharp as ever and who so effortlessly mined the heartbreak and melancholy of an unforgettable grandma.
International Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize for Best Screenplay
LOVE, SPELLS, AND ALL THAT, screenplay by Ümit Ünal, for its playful and enchanting approach to long-lost love whose twists and turns kept us guessing throughout.
International Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize for Best Performance
Nell Barlow for SWEETHEART for her ability to emote even under a pair of sunglasses and a bucket hat, and for crafting a distinctly empathetic and really funny performance that’s a brilliant calling card for a long career ahead.
Best International Narrative Short Grand Jury Prize
SQUISH, Directed by Xavier Seron
The Grand Prize for Best International Narrative Short Film goes to SQUISH for its brilliant combination of black humor and a blisteringly satirical take on bourgeois comforts, and its outrageous ability to shock audiences into horrified laughter.
International Narrative Short Special Mention
PRIVATE PHOTOS, Directed by Marcelo Grabowsky
A Special Mention goes to PRIVATE PHOTOS for its empathetic portrait of a relationship on the rocks and its incisive use of sex to portray its characters’ innermost desires.
Best Documentary Short Grand Jury Prize
NARCISSISTER BREAST WORK, Directed by Narcissister
The Grand Prize for Best Documentary Short Film Award goes to NARCISSISTER BREAST WORK for a film that gets under your skin as a way of fighting back against the harm that society inflicts on all of us around our bodies and asks the audience to question their reaction to it and the impact of why they are.
Documentary Short Special Mention
F1-100, Directed by Emory Chao Johnson
A Special Mention goes to F1-100, a visually masterful film that feels far ahead of its time. Our recognition is honoring not only the creativity of the film itself, but also the filmmaker who we really believe is someone to watch.
Best U.S. Narrative Short Grand Jury Prize
GIRLS & THE PARTY, Directed by Paloma Lopez
The Grand Jury Prize for Best U.S. Narrative Short goes to GIRLS & THE PARTY for its nuanced and carefully handled evocation of queer girlhood.
U.S. Narrative Short Special Mention
THE RECORDER, Directed by Justine Lupe
The Special Mention goes to THE RECORDER for its brilliant comedic performances.
Special Programming Awards
The 2021 Programming Award for Emerging Talent goes to Joseph Sackett for HOMEBODY, an assured directorial feature debut that inventively and sensitively explores gender identity with nuance and displays his mastery of the craft, balancing a tight script, character work, a whimsical score, comedic timing, emotional notes, and a handsome visual palette.
The 2021 Programming Award for Freedom goes to Whitney Skauge and Terence Smith for their collaboration on the short documentary THE BEAUTY PRESIDENT, a reflection on the legacy of a young, black drag queen who, at the height of the AIDS crisis, brazenly ran against George H. W. Bush for president on the Queer Nation Party Ticket in 1992.
The 2021 Programming Award for Artistic Achievement goes to Bo McGuire for SOCKS ON FIRE for combining lyrical poetic reflections, old VHS footage, intimate interviews, and dramatic reenactments in drag to push the boundaries of non-fiction cinema in a lush Southern Gothic.
The jurors for Outfest LA 2021 represented a diverse cross-section of filmmakers, artists, journalists, and industry executives:
U.S. Narrative Features Jury
Anna Kerrigan – Filmmaker, COWBOYS
Caleb Ward – Vice President of Acquisitions, Highland Film Group
Tony Zosherafatain – Filmmaker, TRANS IN TRUMPLAND
International Narrative Features Jury
Manuel Betancourt – Journalist
Omar Zuñiga Hidalgo – Filmmaker, LOS FUERTES
Liliana Rodriguez – Artistic Director, Palm Springs International Film Society
Documentary Jury (Features and Shorts)
Robert Chang – Coordinating Producer, America ReFramed at American Documentary, Inc.
Jen Rainin – Filmmaker, AHEAD OF THE CURVE
Alex Schmider – Film Producer, CHANGING THE GAME
International Narrative Shorts Jury
Alonso Duralde – Journalist & Critic
Valeria Castillo Martinez – Filmmaker, DEATH AND NINTENDO
Jason Ishikawa – Senior Executive, Cinetic Media
U.S. Narrative Shorts Jury
Malin Kan – Programmer, AFI Festivals
Erica Tremblay – Filmmaker, LITTLE CHIEF
Em Weinstein – Filmmaker, IN FRANCE MICHELLE IS A MAN’S NAME
Outfest LA 2021 has extended with an encore period until midnight PST on Wednesday August 25th, stream the award winning films and festival highlights at OutfestLA2021.com.