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.

BY Corey Scholibo

July 08 2009 12:00 AM ET

OUTFEST PORNOGRAPHY X390 (COURTESY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Pornography: It's hard to say just exactly what this film is about, and that is perhaps what makes Pornography so intriguing. In this remarkably dense film, first-time director David Kittredge, who is obviously inspired by the work of David Lynch, has really made three movies in one. The first "vignette," if you will, is about a gay porn star in the 1980s who is lured to meet with a mysterious and ultimately dangerous private client. The star's disappearance is the obsession of the second vignette's protagonist, a writer putting together a book on early gay pornography who finds himself supernaturally drawn into the story. The final part of the film revolves around a present-day gay porn star obsessed with re-creating the life and death of the missing star. The story lines all eventually intertwine in unclear ways, but that's what makes this film such a welcome addition to the festival. What are film festivals without experimentation? And whether you end up loving or hating Pornography, you won't forget its eerie imagery and out-on-a-ledge risk-taking.

Saturday, July 18, 9:45 p.m., Regency Fairfax Theatre

OUTFEST PRODIGAL SONS X390 (COURTESY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Prodigal Sons: This is the standout film of this year's festival. Directed by and starring newcomer Kimberly Reed, Prodigal Sons follows Reed as she returns to her hometown in Montana for her high school reunion, where she was once the all-American football player Paul. But this film is only partially about Reed's coming to terms with her transition. What unfolds is the remarkable story of her family that includes an older gay brother and adopted brother Marc in the middle; Marc has never completely regained his mental capacities after a terrible car accident, and in the search for his true identity discovers he is the grandson of Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth. Reed documents every aspect of her time with her family, including emotionally and physically damaging fights as well as celebratory highs, and deftly weaves the two story lines of herself, desperately trying to forget her past and finding it self-destructive, and Marc, who cannot forget his past and move into the present, which is destroying him as well. With a smart distributor this film would have a shot at getting nominated for an Academy Award. Not to be missed.

Saturday, July 11, 7:15 p.m., Regency Fairfax Theatre /Saturday, July 18, 1 p.m., REDCAT Theater

Tags: Film

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