Outfest Fusion to honor Bird Runningwater & Elegance Bratton at 20th anniversary QTBIPOC film festival – full lineup announced

This Friday, March 24th, sees the opening of the 20th annual Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival in Los Angeles, running in-person and virtually until April 2nd, with screenings, free community workshops, and networking events.

At the Opening Night Gala at the JACCC Aratani Theatre, Pier Kids and The Inspection filmmaker Elegance Bratton will be honored with the 2023 Fusion Achievement Award, while filmmaker and Indigenous activist Bird Runningwater will be honored with the 2023 Fusion Impact Award.

Elegance Bratton. Photo by Michael Rowe/Getty Images for IMDb – © 2022 Michael Rowe – Image courtesy gettyimages.com.

The Fusion Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to LGBTQ+ visibility in stories, arts and media. “I’m incredibly grateful to Outfest Fusion for this incredible award”, Elegance Bratton told The Queer Review. “Outfest Fusion has played an important part in my creative development. My first short Walk For Me played the Fusion opening gala and that night I got to watch Tina Mabry win the Achievement Award. That was in 2016. To be honored myself is a real sign that I’m going in the right direction and I’m excited to be an example to other queer artists of color who may one day receive this honor as well. Thank you Outfest Fusion for everything onward!”

“Being able to honor Elegance has been something I’ve been looking forward to since my tenure at Outfest began”, commented Damien Navarro, Executive Director of Outfest. “He is one of our most inspiring alumni and his recent body of work only proves that his trajectory is just beginning”.

Bird Runningwater at The IMDb Portrait Studio at the 2022 Film Independent Spirit Awards. Photo by Irvin Rivera/Contour by Getty Images for IMDb – © 2022 Irvin Rivera – Image courtesy gettyimages.com

Bird Runningwater, who executive produced Erica Tremblay’s SXSW award-winning and Sundance Grand Jury Prize-nominated Fancy Dance, will receive the Fusion Impact Award for his commitment to uplifting the work of LGBTQ+ Indigenous filmmakers during his time leading Sundance Institute’s Native Lab and as a producer and consultant. 

“Bird Runningwater has been an inspired champion of Indigenous storytellers and independent artists forging their path to narrative impact,” said Outfest Director of Artistic Development Martine McDonald. “His tireless work continues to cultivate generations of nuanced and vibrant representation of Indigenous peoples across media.”  

“As a descendent of First Nation ancestors myself, Bird was someone whom I came to recognize as a leader to look up to in a time where we were still struggling to find our voice,” added Damien Navarro. “Through his work at Sundance and investing in Indigenous artists and cinema, he has discovered and fostered some of today’s most notable queer artists and films that are truly changing the game.” 

Lisa Cortés’ “electrifying” Little Richard: I Am Everything plasy the 20th anniversary Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival. Courtesy of Outfest Fusion.

The Outfest Fusion lineup includes 23 world premieres, five US premieres, four International premieres and three North American premieres. Highlights include Lisa Cortés’ “electrifying” Little Richard: I Am Everything, and Kristen Lovell and Zackary Drucker’s “outstanding” Sundance award-winning The Stroll. Joseph Amenta’s coming-of-age feature debut Soft which world premiered at TIFF will receive its US premiere at Fusion, while Timothy Harris Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn, which follows Philadelphia politician Malcolm Kenyatta’s unprecedented bid for US Senate, will receive its North American premiere.

Artist, poet, rapper, activist and disruptor Mykki Blanco is the headline artist at the Outfest Fusion Platinum Alchemy Party on Friday, March 31st, 2023. Photo courtesy of Outfest Fusion.

Outfest is hosting their first ever Outfest Fusion Platinum Alchemy Party, an event showcasing LGBTQ+ music and performance with an emphasis on innovative and experimental artists. The Aster in Hollywood will host this rooftop extravaganza on Friday, March 31st with Ah-Mer-Ah-Su moniker of vocalist, producer and DJ, Star Amerasu, one of the members of New World Dysorder, the all trans DJ and party collective founded by Jasmine Infiniti in Oakland, California, and BAE BAE DJ, producer, organizer, and multidisciplinary artist whose notorious underground party Hood Rave is a radical experiment that imagines a new future for the Black femme and Black queer dance community, while bringing dance music and rave culture back to its Black roots. Headlining will be artist, poet, rapper, activist, and disruptor Mykki Blanco, reciting poems from his book From the Silence of Duchamp to Noise of Boys, and performing spoken word songs from his latest album Stay Close to the Music

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Outfest Fusion, Outfest invited community partners to submit proposals and collaborate in cultivating programming. Through this effort, the 2023 Outfest QTBIPOC Film Festival will host a dynamic slate of free community-led in-person and virtual workshops and panels, alongside the annual slate of educational workshops led by Outfest Alumni filmmakers like David Sigurani, Edwin Alexis Gomez and Kase Peña. The workshops and panels are a free opportunity for the community to attend Outfest Fusion and learn more about the filmmaking process and the film industry at large. 

The Stroll by Kristen Lovell and Zackary Drucker plasy the 20th anniversary Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival. Courtesy of Outfest Fusion.

Here’s the full film lineup for Outfest Fusion 2023:


Finding Her Beat (dir. Dawn Mikkelson, Keri Pickett | USA, Japan | Los Angeles premiere) 

Follow The Protocol (dir. Fábio Leal | Brazil) 

Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn (dir. Timothy Harris | USA | North American premiere) 

Little Richard: I Am Everything (dir. Lisa Cortés | USA) 

Soft (dir. Joseph Amenta | Canada | United States premiere)                               

Soy Niño (dir. Lorena Zilleruelo | France, Chile | Los Angeles premiere) 

Summer With Hope (dir. Sadaf Foroughi | Canada, Iran) 

The Harvest (dir. Caylee So | USA | Los Angeles Premiere) 

The Stroll (dir. Zackary Drucker, Kristen Lovell | USA | West Coast premiere) 

This Place (dir. V.T. Nayani | Canada | United States premiere) 


Adore (Dir. Beth Warrian | Canada | International Premiere) 

After Bed (Dir. Tt Takemoto | USA | World Premiere) 

After Sunset, Dawn Arrives (Dir. Andy Yi Li | USA) 

Agents Of Change, Project: Polymer (Dir. Jett Garrison | USA | World Premiere) 

Amina (Dir. Shanrica Evans | USA) 

Angelo (Dir. Alex Plumb | New Zealand) 

Baba (Dir. Sam Arbor, Adam Ali | United Kingdom) 

Banana Clementine (Dir. Angela Vang, Rogelio Salinas | USA | World Premiere) 

Beast (Dir. Urvashi Pathania | USA) 

Bertie the Brilliant (Dir. Gabriela Garcia Medina | USA) 

Boi Band “Mainstream” (Dir. Federico Friciello | USA) 

Can We Play (Dir. Emerson Basco | USA) 

Chaac And Yum (Dir. Roberto Fatal, Xav Sf | USA) 

Chicho (Dir. Arlen Aguayo Stewart | Canada, Venezuela | World Premiere) 

Claudia (Dir. Erin Nene-Lee Ramirez | USA) 

Co-Pilots (Dir. Tess Paras | USA) 

Coming (Dir. Matthew Tyler | USA | World) 

Coming Out With The Help Of A Time Machine (Dir. Naman Gupta | USA) 

Compositions For Understanding Relationships (Dir. David Delafuente | USA) 

Curious (Dir. Rikki Beadle-Blair | United Kingdom | International Premiere) 

Dear Dad (Dir. Ibrahim Rana | Pakistan) 

Enamorado (Dir. Eduardo Salas | USA | United States Premiere) 

Ensouled (Dir. Kamee Abrahamian | Armenia | World Premiere) 

eXcape (Dir. Molly Rose Heller | USA) 

Fat Lip (Dir. Ryan Craver | USA | World Premiere) 

Forever (Dir. Marco De Luca | United Kingdom) 

Get Free (Dir. Ray De Mesa | USA) 

Gorditx (Dir. Malik Ever | USA) 

Grocery List (Dir. Joanne Mony Park | USA) 

Habib & The Thief (Dir. Naures Sager | Sweden) 

Hard (Dir. Robin Takao D’oench | USA) 

Headdress (Dir. Taietsarón:Sere ‘tai’ Leclaire | USA) 

Heritage (Dir. Sebastián Rea | USA | World Premiere) 

Hex The Patriarchy (Dir. Anne Brashier | USA | World Premiere) 

Hold On To Me (Dir. Rajvi Desai, Te Shima Brennen | USA) 

Hotter Up Close (Dir. Leland Montgomery | USA) 

House Of Tulip (Dir. Cydney Tucker | USA) 

I Am Poem (Dir. Maite Bonilla | USA) 

I Identify As Me (Dir. Tina Colleen, Monick Monell | USA) 

Imran And Alykhan (Dir. Shakil Jessa | Canada | United States Premiere) 

Interdimensional Pizza Portal (Dir. Aron Kantor | USA | World Premiere) 

Kevin (Dir. Tony Moore, Wesley Quinn | USA) 

Knots (Dir. Stephanie Sy | Canada | International Premiere) 

Look Like You (Dir. Snigdha Kapoor | USA) 

Macaroni Soup (Dir. Alayna Y | Canada) 

Man & Wife (Dir. Rahul Roye | India) 

Maneki (Dir. Brandon Okumura | USA) 

Masaru (Dir. Rubén Navarro | USA) 

Mikey’s Army (Dir. Andrew Keenan-Bolger | USA | World Premiere) 

Miniature (Dir. Seokyoung Yang | USA) 

Mom, If I Were A Vampire (Dir. Deborah Devyn Chuang | Taiwan) 

Moonboy (Dir. Rachel Kwan | Canada | International Premiere) 

Mooncake (Dir. Rraine Hanson | USA) 

My Dear Boy (Dir. Leaf Lieber | USA) 

My Mother’s Girlfriend (Dir. Arun Fulara | India) 

Nanao (Dir. Jay Swuen | USA) 

Next Of Kin (Dir. Timothy Guion Smith | USA | World Premiere) 

One Lift At A Time (Dir. Flo Singer, Ben Dame | USA) 

One Like Him (Dir. Caitlin Mcleod | United Kingdom, Jordan) 

Out In Place (Dir. Nicolas Jara | USA) 

Para Vivir (Dir. Jackelyn Santiago | USA) 

Périphérie (Dir. Thibault Bru | France) 

Pierce Me. (Dir. John E. Kilberg | USA) 

Polartropica “What’s Your Fantasy” (Dir. Vanessa Marzaroli | USA) 

Prey (Dir. Rico Johnson-Sinclair | United Kingdom | World Premiere) 

Recuerdo de una tarde en la azotea (Dir. Tavo Ruiz | México) 

Rip Tide (Dir. Luisa Dantas | USA) 

River (Dir. Joshua Hernandez | USA | World Premiere) 

RONA (Dir. Johaira Michelle Dilauro | USA) 

Scaring Women At Night (Dir. Karimah Zakia Issa | Canada) 

Sequin (Dir. Averi Israel | USA) 

Sheer Qorma (Dir. Faraz Arif Ansari | India) 

Shoot Your Shot (Dir. Mishaal Memon | United Kingdom, India) 

Slice (Dir. Kelsey Scult | USA) 

Sonic Reverbs (Dir. Sarnt Utamachote | Germany | North American Premiere) 

Spare Change (Dir. Jesse Randall | USA | World Premiere) 

Still Queer (Dir. Yuelei Song | USA | World Premiere) 

Still We Thrive (Dir. Campbell X | United Kingdom) 

The Angel (Dir. Dorian Wood | USA | World Premiere) 

The Dance-Off (Dir. Nicolás Keller Sarmiento | Argentina, Usa | World Premiere) 

The Last Time We Came Out Of The Closet (Dir. Bruno Tadeu | Brazil) 

The Resemblance (Dir. Derek Nguyen | USA) 

This Is You (Dir. Marco De Luca | United Kingdom | North American Premiere) 

This One Is For The Neighborhood (Dir. Miguel Melo | USA | World Premiere) 

Thriving: A Dissociated Reverie (Dir. Nicole Bazuin | Canada) 

Tierra (Dir. Fana Adjani | México) 

Tommy Kha’s Bits & Pieces (Dir. Jia Li | USA) 

UNIDAD: Gay & Lesbian Latinos Unidos (Dir. Gregorio Davila | USA) 

Viv’s Silly Mango (Dir. Rachel Maxine Anderson | Australia 

Welcome To Celibacy Club (Dir. Campbell Moore | USA) 

Where Do We Go From Here (Dir. Laquan Lewis | USA | World Premiere) 

Will You Look At Me (Dir. Shuli Huang | China) 

Zindagi Dobara (Dir. Amritpal Kaur | USA | World Premiere) 


A Guide To Not Dying Completely Alone (Dir. Yen Tan | USA) 

Mal De Amores (Dir. Fiorella Vescovi Garcia | USA) 

Oceanic: Queering The Ocean (Dir. Micha Cárdenas, Gerald Casel, Cynthia Ling Lee, Susana Ruiz, Huy Truong | USA) 

Undocumented Tales (Dir. Armando Ibañez | USA | Season 4 World Premiere) 


How to Craft the Perfect Project Pitch with David Sigurani 

Navigating Commercial Filmmaking as a QTBIPOC Creative Panel 

How to Tell a Story in 60 Seconds with Edwin Alexis Gomez 

Making a Movie on Your Smartphone with Kase Peña 

The Distribution Down Low: Shorts & Web Series with Seed&Spark 

The Art of The Pitch: How To Successfully Pitch Your Story To Entertainment Publications 

For more information and to purchase individual tickets and passes visit outfestfusion.com.

The 2023 Outfest Fusion Festival | March 24 – April 2, 2023
The 2023 Outfest Fusion Festival | March 24 – April 2, 2023

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