Sandra Oh will receive Outfest’s James Schamus Ally Award and Stephanie Beatriz will be honoured with the organization’s Fusion Achievement Award this Friday, April 8th at the opening Gala of the 2022 Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival, which runs in-person until April 13th and then continues online through April 17th. The opening night gala at the Los Angeles Japanese American Cultural and Community Center will also feature a programme of short films from the festival—The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night, The Birth of a Beautiful Butch, Egúngún (Masquerade), Warsha, Decolonizing Gender, Novena, and F^¢k ‘€m R!ght B@¢k—followed by a party.
“In order for representation to be truly meaningful, it needs to be nuanced and authentic. Through her work in Encanto, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and In The Heights, Stephanie has brought bold, original and engaging characters to life on screen whilst also proudly standing up for our community as well as immigrant rights,” praises Outfest’s Executive Director, Damien S. Navarro. “As a queer immigrant woman of color who has openly embraced and discussed her bisexuality, she has proliferated an often misunderstood, missing, or broadly stereotyped representation for what may be one of the largest self-identified queer populations in the world. We are inspired and honored by her bravery.”
“Ms Oh’s allyship is far-reaching, unwavering, and all-encompassing, standing up for the countless individuals that continue to feel a sense of being ‘othered’ in our society. She has been a true trailblazer and consistent advocate before and throughout her career, and we are honored to call her a friend of Outfest for nearly two-decades,” added Navarro.
2022 marks for the 40th anniversary for Outfest and the 19th Outfest Fusion, which showcases the work of queer and trans filmmakers of color, providing audiences and storytellers with the critical visibility needed to build careers, opportunities, and empathy for our stories. This year’s edition of Fusion comprises seven features, 52 shorts, and three episodics, plus the return of the One-Minute Movie Contest, and a slate workshops and panels.
“The programming at Outfest Fusion exists to directly close and challenge the systemic access gap for LGBTQIA+ people of color. With this year’s festival we continue to grow upon that mission and I’m very excited to work on creating solutions to these systemic problems”, comments Outfest Artistic Director, Faridah Gbadamosi.
Here’s a rundown of this year’s features and shorts:
BLACK AS U R – directed by Micheal Rice.
In the wake of Black Lives Matter, filmmaker Michael Rice addresses the trans/homophobia within the Black community by magnifying the stories of Black LGBTQ+ people and their contributions to the Black liberation movement. Saturday, April 9th at 1pm, Regal LA LIVE (Theater 13).
FINLANDIA – directed by Horacio Alcala.
Belonging to a community of muxes — untethered by the gender binary — Delirio, Amaranta, Mariano traverse their past, present, and future. Read our full review here. Sunday April 10th at 3:45pm, Regal LA LIVE (Theater 13). Also streams online April 13th-17th.
KEEP THE CAMERAS ROLLING: THE PEDRO ZAMORA WAY – directed by William T. Horner and Stacey Woelfel.
He was clever, articulate, and good-looking. At only 22, Pedro Zamora, a gay Cuban immigrant, had the American public at the palm of his hands as he stepped into the limelight on MTV’s REAL WORLD. After contracting AIDS as a teenager, he dedicated his life to destigmatizing the narrative around the illness – and being the sympathetic beauty on national television helped do that. While KEEP THE CAMERAS ROLLING is an exhibition of Zamora’s most joyous moments, like his televised wedding, it also explores the role of the media in shaping a generation’s understanding of social issues. An amalgam of home videos, archival footage, and interviews with the Zamora family, REAL WORLD cast members, and various activists, the film examines the legacy of a young man who helped change the face of AIDS in America. Monday April 11th at 7pm, Plaza de la Raza.
MUSTACHE MONDAYS (ARTBOUND) – directed by Marianne Amelinckx.
See how a roving LGBTQ night club event in Los Angeles called “Mustache Mondays” became a creative incubator for today’s leading edge contemporary artists. This film examines the history of these spaces and how they shaped the Queer cultural fabric unique to Southern California. Followed by a post-screening discussion with director Marianne Amelinckx, DJ Josh Peace, Danny Gonzalez (co-founder of Mustache Mondays), and Vee Beltran (Nacho Nava Jr’s sister), moderated by ARTBOUND’s Senior Producer Nic Cha Kim. Monday April 11th at 9:30pm, Plaza de la Raza.
TRANSVERSALS – directed by Émerson Maranhão.
Émerson Maranhão’s documentary brings together the stories of five transgender people living in the state of Ceará in Brazil, recounting stories of being fearless alongside their absolute commitment to thrive. Sunday April 10th at 1pm, Regal LA LIVE (Theater 13). Also streams online April 13th-17th.
WHITE FROG – directed by Quentin Lee (10th Anniversary).
Nick is a highschool freshman on the Autism spectrum who idolizes his older brother Chaz, a popular straight-A student whose future seems set. When Chaz is suddenly killed in a tragic accident, Nick attempts to reconstruct the life his brother left behind, uncovering secrets that threaten to rip their family apart. Quentin Lee directs a tremendous ensemble cast of veteran and rising stars including B.D. Wong, Joan Chen, Harry Shum Jr., Henry David Hwang, Tyler Posey, Amy Hill, and Booboo Stewart in a gripping mystery of loss and redemption at the intersections of queerness, neurodiversity, and Asian-American identity. DCP newly-donated to the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project. Director and cast members Booboo Stewart and Tyler Posey scheduled to be in person. Sunday April 10th at 5:30pm, Regal LA LIVE (Theater 11).
WILDHOOD – directed by Bretten Hannam.
Two brothers embark on a journey to find their birth mother after their abusive white father had lied for years about her whereabouts; along the way, they reconnect with their indigenous heritage and make a new friend. Read our full review here. Saturday April 9th at 8:15pm, Regal LA LIVE (Theater 11). Also streams online April 13th-17th.
A BLOOM – directed by Antony Rangel Coll
After returning home from conversion therapy, Nick seeks to move on from his previous partner. While catching up with his friends, he locks eyes with a strange yet familiar figure he eagerly hopes to meet.
A BRONX STORY – directed by Bell Soto, Gabriel Peña
Two queer Dominican men navigate modern love in New York City.
A FIRE THAT NEVER DIES – directed by Chheangkea Ieng
Overwhelmed with grief, Kai grows obsessed with the footsteps of his upstairs neighbor, a dancer whom he believes was sent as a sign by his late mother.
A WILD PATIENCE HAS TAKEN ME HERE – directed by Érica Sarmet
A lonely middle-aged motorcyclist goes to a lesbian party for the first time where she encounters four young queers who share a home and physical intimacies. This mingling of generations is a tribute to the queer elders who brought our community to where it is today. Read our full review here.
ABUNDANCE – directed by Kym Allen
Love yourself? Easy. Why wouldn’t I? Feel the unbridled joy and energy of celebrating your body in this sumptuous short.
ALIYAH – directed by Omar Dabbous
Aliyah — a trans Muslim hijabi — is rejected from her own home, gathering the courage to speak out about her path toward building a new family, coming into her own identity on her own terms, and remaining devout to her faith despite the transphobia it may espouse.
ALL I EVER WANTED – directed by Erin Lau
Rom-com obsessed teen Christine has internalized the desire for a Prince Charming until the possibility of a Princess Charming dethrones her expectations.
ANACONDA – directed by Joshua Amar
Are you ever really safe online? Our protagonist’s late night dalliances take a suspenseful turn for the worse in this NSFW short.
AND YET – directed by Lucretia Knapp, Lynne Yamamoto
A meditation on love and the inevitability of loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.
BLOOD HANA – directed by Mary Evangelista
Lily, a teenage girl attending a Catholic school, questions the teachings of the Catholic Church when she befriends a new student who brings out the blood flowers in her.
CREAM OR SUGAR – directed by Rachel Rambaldi
Two best friends face ultimate destruction within their fabricated world of grandeur.
CYCLE ONE – directed by Serge Garcia
In this screen adaptation of The Interrogative Mood by Padgett Powell, a drifter wanders the streets as a stream of queries invites the viewer to consider daily existence.
DECOLONIZING GENDER – directed by Maryna Harrison
A counter-cultural short doc celebrating the subversion of gender and historic colonialist narratives, centering the Indigenous community around a day of expression at Hot Donna.
DECRIMINALIZE NOW: AKIA’S STORY – directed by Kenya-Jade Pinto
A young non-binary Blacktivist’s flight for the decriminalization of drugs for harm reduction.
DRESS UP – directed by Karina Dandashi
Karina’s home to attend her younger sister’s marriage festivities. She brought along her “college roommate” Denise. They’re queer and not out; how will Karina handle all the pent-up tension she feels?
EGÚNGÚN (MASQUERADE) – directed by Olive Nwosu
A woman returns to Lagos in search of something she’s lost, and instead finds herself on a journey of self-discovery while examining her past with a new lens. Read our full review here.
EVER WANTING (FOR MARGARET CHUNG) – directed by TT Takemoto
An envisioned look into the life of Margaret Chung and her world of sapphic surgeries, queer flights of fancy, and drugs.
EZRA – directed by Joshua Hernandez
Is harmony achievable when one’s passion is restrained by their physical inability? Ezra, a dancer battling chronic illness, finds tranquility in nature while on a camping trip with their boyfriend.
F^¢K ‘€M R!GHT B@¢K – directed by Harris Doran
An aspiring rapper attempts to run circles around their tyrannical boss in order to escape the job-threatening consequences of accidentally eating an edible. Read our full review here.
FIRSTS – directed by Jesse Ung
A closeted Chinese student living abroad in New Zealand decides to lose his virginity to a stranger he meets online on the eve of Lunar New Year. Read our review from BFI Flare here.
FLAMES – directed by Deondray Gossfield, Quincy LeNear Gossfield
A confession of love turns weird when friends gather for a post graduation party in a remote cabin.
FRESH MEAT – directed by Lu Asfaha
A digital content company notorious for chewing up and spitting out young writers harbors a darker secret.
FROM X TO Z – directed by Florencia Manovil
A cranky Gen X butch is forced to spend time with a genderqueer Gen Z’er whose gender-affirming upbringing and experiences elicits the former to critique how kids today have it easier. Generational differences aside, the two find comfort in their similarities that defy generation.
HEAVEN REACHES DOWN TO EARTH – directed by Tebogo Malebogo
Coming to realizations about their sexuality, Tau embarks on a journey which in turn sets off emotions in Tumelo; the two will never be the same.
HOT VAXXX SUMMER – directed by Johaira Michelle Dilauro
You’ve been cooped up for far too long — it’s time for a HOT VAXXX SUMMER!
LOVE & REVOLUTION – directed by Jacqui North
A mixture of visual images paired with spoken word which serves as a call to action and tribute to Candy Royalle.
MASISI WOUJ – directed by Zé Kielwagen, Marcos Serafim, Steevens Siméon
A queer tribute to the Lwa, Vodou gods and goddesses who once inspired a revolution.
MEMOIRS OF THE (NON)EXISTENT ME – directed by Thiago Kistenmacker
Bia loves Marina, and nothing would change that. Despite years of erasure and non-acceptance by Marina’s biological family, her lover and chosen family are adamant about completing one final, necessary, and affirming gesture.
NASIR – directed by Nasir Bailey, Jackson Kroopf
A bracingly intimate portrayal of trans identity, following Nasir in his journey to live in his truth and be accepted.
NATHAN JOE: HOMECOMING POEMS – directed by Nahyeon Lee
Nathan Joe has some things TO SAY. Words from an East Asian Kiwi chronicling his battles with identity using performance poetry.
NOVENA – directed by Fernando Lopez
A death in the family forces old friends back together where, over the course of a night, their relationship unravels into unresolved emotion.
ONE MAGENTA AFTERNOON – directed by Vernon Jordan, III
Les and his Pop Pop summon six queer spirits through jazz to connect Les to the strength and guidance of his queer ancestry.
PORTAL – directed by Rodney Evans
Reflections on connection during the pandemic, and finding joy in small and unsuspecting ways.
QUEER PARIVAAR – directed by Shiva Raichandani
Madhav and Sufi must confront family secrets on the night of their wedding, thereby altering their definition of what constitutes a family.
SALMAN TOOR’S EMERALD GREEN – directed by Adam Golfer
A talented Pakistani-born New York artist distinguished by his use of emerald green reflects on what it is to be an artist as he prepares for an art show.
SECOND PARENT – directed by Penny PJ Chen
Parenting for Julia and Kat is overcoming “mommy challenges.” When their daughter, Becca, asks for the one thing Kat has difficulty giving, will doing it “anyway” to please Becca, supersede all the anxiety she feels?
SEX(UAL) HEALING – directed by Maximus Skaff
By amplifying the voices of sex workers, healers, sex educators, and therapists, this doc presents how participating in certain sex practices can foster liberation, autonomy, and ultimately become a tool for healing.
SMALL CONGRATULATIONS – directed by Jessie Posthumus
You have underwhelming athletic capabilities and still take part in a league sport like hockey. This short doc introduces us to writer Izzy who has finally found what has eluded her since 8th grade.
STEPHEN & JAMES: BEST GIRLFRIENDS – directed by Dave Quantic
What is queer friendship? This short delves into the connections that subvert heteronormative standards.
SUPER // MAN – directed by Marcos Dávalos Loor
A gay young man finds out how high he can get, and how low he can go, when he finds himself trapped inside of sex club with a devilish older man.
TAFFETA – directed by Lovell Holder
As a toxic phone sex relationship spirals out of control, the titular Taffeta must confront whether they will be able to break out of the destructive habits and crippling loneliness that have haunted their life.
THE BIRTH OF A BEAUTIFUL BUTCH – directed by Gia-Rayne Harris
It’s school picture day! And we all know what that means: awkward smiles into the camera and kids in their best looks trying to make their family proud. But Alex is stuck, go with the flow or break from convention?
THE FISH WITH ONE SLEEVE – directed by Tsuyoshi Shoji
Hikari Shintani, a trans woman who feels distanced from her cis female colleagues at work, must return to her hometown for a business trip. She gathers the courage to reconnect with an old classmate while in town, and arrives at a shocking reunion.
THE SYED FAMILY XMAS EVE GAME NIGHT – directed by Fawzia Mirza
Family holidays, amirite? A Queer Pakistani Muslim woman navigates dicey waters when she brings her partner home for the annual family game night.
THESE HANDS LAY OPEN – directed by Tatiana Garnett
A visual meditation exploring the emotional vulnerability in Black selfhood and liberation.
TRUTHLESS – directed by Badou Zhao
Stand-up comedian Lady Lin faces the lies her family spread about her supposed passing to evade acknowledging her trans identity amidst the news of her mother’s untimely death. Her only hope of processing her conflicting emotions surrounding the trauma behind her parents disowning her comes through her performance onstage.
UPUNTILNOW – directed by Brandon Kazen-Maddox, Kevin Newbury, and Marcus Shields
This experimental short asks us to ponder questions regarding finding our tribe. What risks do we take to be with those who can help us discover who we gloriously need to become?
WARSHA – directed by Dania Bdeir
A crane operator working in Beirut volunteers to take on one of the most dangerous rigs in Lebanon. Despite the setting, he is propelled to live out his secret passion and find freedom in the high air. Read our full review here.
WECKUWAPASIHTIT (THOSE YET TO COME) – directed by Geo Neptune and Brianna Smith
Young Peskotomuhkati people practice healing and connect with their ancestors through the process of athasikuwi-pisun, “tattoo medicine.”
WINTER INSECT, SUMMER FLOWER – directed by Tee Jaehyung Park and Gbenga Komolafe
A trans woman journeys through the seasons as she breaks from her physical shell.
WORK – directed by April Maxey
Moving to a new city after a painful break up, Gabriella falls back into the night. Read our full review here. Read our exclusive interview with writer-director April Maxey and cinematographer Melinda James here.
FORTHEBOYS, EP. 1 – directed by Mekhai Lee, Ellis C. Dawson
Four friends traverse everyday Black life, confident they’ve created that one space every week to be “a little extra” and still feel accepted — what’s in store when someone decides to “Be You, They’ll Adjust?”
FRAGRANCE OF THE FIRST FLOWER – directed by Angel I-Han Teng
Two women navigate family and falling in love in a story that blends the past and the present in the hopes of a better future.
THE HOUSE – directed by Kurt T. Jones
As the climate of the country and the world shifts into one of greater inclusion, the empowering of diverse voices has never been more paramount. This series aims to not only provide a platform for the underrepresented and marginalized fringe of society, but also to offer a home where every viewer can find a friend and a place where they are welcomed. Where four outspoken Black LGBTQIA+ friends host a fun and raucous dinner party, discussing the day’s hot topics.
A special screening of the first QTBIPOC talk show, followed by a panel with the series’ creators. Learn what it takes to build a show from the ground up, and how to overcome the obstacles to get a deal with a network.
Outfest Fusion will be held in-person from April 8th to April 13th and online from April 13th to April 17th, and will be open to filmmakers and the general public to attend. Visit OutfestFusion.com for the full lineup of panels and workshops, show times and to purchase tickets for online and in-person screenings.