My Picks for the 2009 Outfest L.A. Gay & Lesbian Film Festival July 9-19

Below are my picks for the upcoming Outfest Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival taking place July 9-19.  Tickets are on sale now at www.outfest.org.  Enjoy and maybe I’ll see there!

After the Storm

Sat, Jul 11th 11:30am
FAIRFAX 1
7907 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
$13.00
Documentary Features
(USA, 2009, 90 mins)
World Premiere
Directed By: Hilla Medalia

In order to reopen a community center destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, a group of New Orleans teens joins forces with theater professionals from New York to stage a benefit production of the musical Once On This Island. As opening night draws closer, the kids must balance their commitment to the show with the surreal, often heart-wrenching, realities of living in post-Katrina New Orleans. From executive producer Rosie O’Donnell, AFTER THE STORM is an inspiring, captivating look at how a small group of people can effect a huge amount of change.

Back To Life (plays with Girls Shorts)

Fri, Jul 17th 9:30pm
DGA 1
7920 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
$13.00
Sun, Jul 19th Noon
FAIRFAX 1
7907 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
$13.00
(USA, 2009, 12 mins)
Directed By: Desi del Valle, Hollie Lemarr

After the death of her girlfriend, a woman sleeps with her best friend.

Callin’ All The Churen: Kalup Linzy Live

Fri, Jul 10th 9:30pm
REDCAT
631 W 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA
$13.00
Platinum
Program Running Time is 90 min

Borrowing inspiration from Southern culture, tabloid fodder, Hollywood tearjerkers and soap operas, Kalup Linzy constructs side-splitting melodramas populated with squabbling black families, frustrated artists and damsels in distress who seek love, fame and understanding. Linzy directs, edits and composes the soundtracks for these pop confections while performing most of the characters and voices to hilarious effect. Platinum presents a selection of Linzy’s video work followed by a rare West Coast appearance with SWEETBERRY SAMPLED AND LEFTOVA, a live video performance of songs from his two recent albums!

Legacy Project Gala: Choosing Children

Mon, Jul 13th 8:00pm
DGA 1
7920 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
$250.00
Mon, Jul 13th 8:00pm
DGA 1
7920 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
$30.00
(USA, 1984, 45 mins)
35mm
Directed By: Debra Chasnoff,
Kim Klausner
RESTORATION WORLD PREMIERE

25th Anniversary Screening. One of the first movies about lesbian families, CHOOSING CHILDREN is an emotionally potent film that challenges society’s definition of family by exploring the ways lesbians are raising children in couples, alone, with gay men and in extended families of friends.Since the passing of Proposition 8 in California and similar bans against LGBT marriages and adoptions across the United States, illustrations of healthy LGBT families are crucial in breaking down stereotypes and ensuring the civil liberties of all families. CHOOSING CHILDREN began the fight against xenophobia and homophobia in 1984, but its work is not yet complete.- Kristin Pepe, Legacy Project ManagerIN PERSON:  Academy Award-winning director Debra Chasnoff, co-director Kim Klausner and documentary subjects will talk about the making and restoration of CHOOSING CHILDREN as well as discuss the current state of LGBT families in California in their struggle for civil rights

Event Schedule:
7:00pm: VIP Pre-Party, DGA Atrium (VIP ticket holders)
8:00pm: Screening and Panel (all ticket holders)
10:00pm: Gala After-Party, DGA Lobby (all ticket holders
)

Drool

Thu, Jul 16th 7:00pm
DGA 1
7920 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
$13.00
U.S. Dramatic Features
(USA, 2009, 84 mins)
Directed By: Nancy Kissam
SCR: Nancy Kissam

Part THELMA & LOUISE and part LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, DROOL is an irreverent dark comedy with delightful performances from bombshells Laura Harring (MULHOLLAND DR.) and Jill Marie Jones (“Girlfriends”). With an abusive husband, ungrateful kids and nothing else going for her, Anora’s life is rough. Things start looking up when she gets very friendly with her new neighbor, Imogene…until Anora’s husband walks in on them and ends up dead in a freak, yet karmically just, accident. The ladies hit the open road with two kids, one body and no plan. POST-SCREENING RECEPTION, AFTER-PARTY

Platinum Centerpiece: Fig Trees

Fri, Jul 10th 7:00pm
REDCAT
631 W 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA
$18.00
(Canada, 2009, 104 mins)
Directed By: John Greyson
SCR: John Greyson

At the center of this playfully perverse video opera are AIDS activists Tim McCaskell, the Canadian founder of AIDS Action Now!, and Zackie Achmat, whose drug strike in South Africa made international headlines. Documentary footage of their political battles is intercut with a fictional plot about Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson, who, having finished their play Four Saints in Three Acts, have created a sequel portraying the activists as modern-day saints. Dark humor abounds in this surreal production as St. Peregine, the patron saint of amputees and leather, and St. Martin, embodied by an albino squirrel, jam on toy instruments, and the courageous leads rebel, refusing to be martyrs for the AIDS cause.Masterfully constructed and visually riveting, FIG TREES is an entertaining yet searing indictment of government negligence and the greed of pharmaceutical companies that require profit as motivation to save lives. It is also a poignant memorial for the untold lives of many AIDS activists. A daring must-see, it is one of the most provocative films to emerge from queer cinema in recent years.- Kyle Stephan, Platinum Programmer. PLATINUM CENTERPIECE RECEPTION, AFTER-PARTY, IN COLLABORATION WITH: THE BLACK AIDS INSTITUTE

U.S. Dramatic Centerpiece: Mississippi Damned

Tue, Jul 14th 8:00pm
DGA 1
7920 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
$18.00
(USA, 2009, 120 mins)
Directed By: Tina Mabry
SCR: Tina Mabry

Alternately steeped in joy and despair, MISSISSIPPI DAMNED is a stark chronicle of the bravery inherent in hopelessness. In fact, writer/director Tina Mabry’s remarkably assured debut remains relentlessly uplifting even as it tracks the monumental struggles of an African-American family sunk into a quagmire of addiction, poverty and abuse. As the years pass and the disappointments mount, the characters still summon the courage to dream.Mabry’s film succeeds because she grounds it in a strong sense of place, in this case the rural barrens of Mississippi. Adding to the memorable tone are the excellent production design and Bradford Young’s gorgeous, seemingly tea-stained cinematography. The large ensemble cast distinguishes themselves as well, ably populating a sprawling narrative that covers more than twenty years and is a veritable almanac of dysfunction. Especially notable is Chastity Kershall Hammitte’s heartbreaking portrayal of young lesbian Leigh, whose fantasy of escape and coming out is doomed by her commitments to her family.Achingly beautiful in its easy familiarity with heartbreak, MISSISSIPPI DAMNED proves that little victories can triumph over enormous tragedies.- Jon Korn, Programmer. US DRAMATIC CENTERPIECE RECEPTION, AFTER-PARTYIN COLLABORATION WITH: ULOAH (UNITED LESBIANS OF AFRICAN HERITAGE)

Off and Running

Sun, Jul 12th 5:00pm
FAIRFAX 1
7907 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
$13.00
Documentary Features
(USA, 2009, 75 mins)
World Premiere
Directed By: Nicole Opper

Avery, a model student and track star, appears to be an average American girl, but when the search for her birth mother causes rifts in her seemingly comfortable sense of identity, she is forced to confront long-suppressed tensions. With the help of her adoptive lesbian moms, Avery must examine what it means to be an African American girl raised white and Jewish while discovering insights about her mysterious birth mother. An inspiring portrait of a modern family founded on love.

Say My Name (plays with Safe Words)

Fri, Jul 17th 7:00pm
FAIRFAX 1
7907 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
$13.00
(UK, 2009, 12 mins)
Directed By: Adaora Nwandu

A contemporary Black British gay love story set amidst a gritty grimy urban backdrop of ‘street’ reality.

Seeds (plays with Makin Moves)

Fri, Jul 10th 9:30pm
FAIRFAX 1
7907 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
$13.00
Mon, Jul 13th 7:00pm
DGA 2
$13.00
(USA, 2009, 12 mins)
World Premiere
Directed By: Stewart Hendler

At a solitary bus stop, a dandelion shudders in the breeze—and a chance encounter between two people changes both lives forever.

Young Soul Rebels Strand Releasing Retrospective

Sun, Jul 12th 9:00pm
REDCAT
631 W 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA
$13.00
(UK, 1991, 103 mins)
16mm
Directed By: Isaac Julien

SCR: Paul Hallam, Isaac Julien & Derrick Saldaan McClintock
From the Outfest Legacy Project CollectionWhen an interracial sex act in the bushes turns into a murder, a police investigation brings waves of controversy to London’s black community. Set during the queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, YOUNG SOUL REBELS is a story of love and friendship, and a riveting look at the forces of race, class and sex just before the Thatcher years. Writer-director Isaac Julien (LOOKING FOR LANGSTON) won the 1991 Critics’ Week Prize at Cannes for this energetic, rarely seen film.

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