Ten Films You Must See at Outfest

From a docu-dramedy on the webcam porn biz to a Thelma & Louise -like lesbian road trip flick, the 2009 Outfest film festival kicks off this week in Los Angeles and is chock-full of hidden gems.



The 2009 Outfest film festival kicks off this week in Los Angeles and is chock-full of hidden gems. We've done the work for you and sorted through them all to bring you the films you absolutely should not miss.


American Primitive: We have often seen the story of the man who after years of marriage discovers he is gay and then followed him in his new life, which sometimes involves children. What has rarely been seen is what it means for the children themselves. Director Gwendolyn Wynne helms this autobiographical tale, set in the 1970s, of a widower for whom being with the man he loves comes with the very real risk, at that time and in many places still today, of losing his children. Told from the perspective of teenage daughter Madeline, American Primitive eschews clichés, looks beautiful, and features remarkable performances by nearly all the cast members. With stars like Tate Donovan ( Damages ) and Adam Pascal ( Rent ), not to mention a surprisingly adept dramatic turn from Stacey Dash ( Clueless ), American Primitive is certain to be a popular film at this year's festival and a likely candidate for a theatrical distribution. But the film's real standout is 20-year-old star Danielle Savre, who should find more film work in her future.

Saturday, July 11, 9:30 p.m., Directors Guild Theater /Sunday, July 19, 5 p.m., Regency Fairfax Theatre


College Boys Live: What starts as a documentary about a gay porn website quickly devolves into an episode of Cops in this compelling and well-crafted film. Zac and Jonathan have built a healthy gay Web business. Their site features a group of young men who live in their house rent-free in exchange for having their entire lives taped. But as one might expect, the offer of room and board for the baring of one's soul and body attracts a very particular group of wounded individuals. The documentary chronicles the housemates' struggles with their neighbors and even follows a site viewer who admits to living his life around the comings and goings of these young men, but the film is ultimately about the lives of those on the inside. In this petri dish, with ingredients including alcohol, sex, and lost souls desperately yearning for a family, all hell breaks loose time and again. But the voyeurism of seeing the men and even of seeing the fights that break out is ultimately trumped by the film's look into the lives of gay youths still abandoned by their families, still coming from poverty, still living a far cry from the fantasy presented on the Web cameras.

Friday, July 10, 9:30 p.m., Directors Guild Theater /Monday, July 13, 9:30 p.m., Regency Fairfax Theatre

Tags: film