Looking for a good time? Well, look no further than the Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival, one of the nation’s premier events for lovers of queer cinema. As evidenced by the lineup for this year’s fest, which runs July 7-17, it is a standout year for depictions of LGBT characters and storylines. From the opening night gala, which screens Clea Duvall’s The Intervention, to the gay porn drama King Cobra to the voguing documentary Kiki, there is something for everyone at this year’s Outfest, which includes panels, parties, and even an outdoor screening of Ghostbusters. Here are some of The Advocate’s favorite films and events. And see the full schedule at Outfest.org.
Images and descriptions courtesy of Outfest.
Saturday, July 9, 4 p.m. at DGA 1
Joey (Lola Kirke) falls in love with Rayna (Breeda Wool), an older married woman with children, in a small rural Pennsylvania town. With Rayna's husband hot on the trail of their affair, Joey joins the Army. But just before she is deployed, Joey reveals her plan to go AWOL, taking Rayna and her kids with her to start a new life.
Hailed as "deeply affecting" by Variety, Shoval's feature debut expands on her 2010 short, delivering an electrifying lesbian love story. Buy tickets here.
Thursday, July 14, 7:00 p.m. at Redcat
Mickey House is 11 years old and baffled by the changes in his body. His ears are getting bigger, and his mother remains a mystery; at least he's running a successful business at school, selling his urine to classmates for drug tests. Described as a wild collaboration between Walt Disney and David Lynch, this outrageous, hilarious Polish import wowed audiences at the Venice Biennale, where it received a Special Mention from the Queer Lion jury. Buy tickets here.
Friday, July 15, 8:30 p.m. at Ford Theatres
Does a bear camp in the woods? The BearCity boys are back in a funny, sexy "threequel" that sees our husky, hairy heroes pitching tents at a rural resort. Ex-lovers Roger and Ty question their breakup, Michael contends with a new boyfriend who's got a dubious daughter, and Fred pours himself into the final cut of his documentary while husband Brent counts the days until their surrogate gives birth. If you're a fan of this frisky, furry series, make room for thirds. Buy tickets here.
Sunday, July 10, 6:30 p.m. at DGA 1 International
Damien and Thomas, teenagers from very different upbringings, constantly butt heads at school. When Damien's mother invites Thomas to live with them, the boys are forced to coexist and work through the complicated feelings they have for each other. Renowned French director André Téchiné (Wild Reeds) — working from a script he wrote with Céline Sciamma (Tomboy) — crafts a touching study of two young men struggling to find their passions in a pivotal life moment. Buy tickets here.
Different From the Others
Sunday, July 10, 7 p.m. at DGA 2 Legacy Project Centerpiece
The Outfest UCLA Legacy Project is presenting the U.S. premiere of its latest feature film restoration project. After the six years it took to obtain film elements from Russia, research translations from various texts, secure stills, and tint the new 35mm print, UCLA preservationists have completed the long-awaited final version of Different From the Others. The restoration debuted at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, a significant homecoming after the film's original premiere in that city 97 years ago. Arguably the earliest surviving feature film about an LGBT protagonist, Different From the Others, directed by Richard Oswald and cowritten by famed psychologist Magnus Hirschfeld, tells a devastating, human, and all-too-common story of queer life under Paragraph 175 – the 1871 German law criminalizing homosexuality. Young virtuoso Kurt Sivers approaches acclaimed violinist Paul Körner with the hope of becoming his student in early-1900s Germany. Paul agrees to take Kurt under his tutelage, which quickly blossoms into affection, but their relationship is thwarted when a nefarious interloper blackmails Paul by threatening to expose his homosexuality. Presented with a live accompaniment by Cliff Retallick. Buy tickets here.
Tuesday, July 12, 7 p.m. at DGA 1 International Centerpiece
Sexy and heartfelt, this U.S. premiere explores a second chance at love. Childhood friends Matías and Jerónimo reunite in their hometown of Paso de los Libres, Argentina, on the banks of the Uruguay River. The summer before high school, the teens' close friendship transformed into something deeper, but their mutual attraction never came to fruition. More than a decade later they meet again, and the chemistry between them is palpable, but now Matías has a girlfriend who has traveled to his hometown for Carnival. Seeing his old friend, now so comfortable and confident in his skin, reawakens Matías's feelings. This unexpected opportunity forces Matías to reassess his choices and to figure out whether he can turn his back on marriage to a woman in favor of the man he's always loved. A powerful film that elicits feelings of nostalgia for our own adolescence and for the long-forgotten romances from our past, Esteros offers a satisfying glimpse into what might have been (and what might still be). Buy tickets here.
Sunday, July 10, 11 a.m. at DGA 1 Documentary
Film Hawk profiles indie film advocate Bob Hawk, who for more than 40 years has tirelessly championed emerging filmmakers. His triumphs include Kevin Smith (Clerks) and Ed Burns (The Brothers McMullen) as well as such Queer Cinema icons as Rob Epstein (The Times of Harvey Milk), Barbara Hammer (Nitrate Kisses), and Kimberly Reed (Prodigal Sons). The film traces both Hawk's career and his personal life through a series of often emotional interviews that shine a light on one of the unsung heroes of contemporary American cinema. Buy tickets here.
First Girl I Loved
Friday, July 8, 7 p.m. at DGA 1
When Anne, a quirky 17-year-old photographer for the school yearbook, meets popular softball star Sasha, sparks fly immediately. But after Anne reveals her new feelings to her former best friend Cliff, he unexpectedly lashes out. In this Sundance favorite and Audience Award winner, director Kerem Sanga has created an indelible contemporary love triangle, starring Brianna Hildebrand (Deadpool), Dylan Gelulu (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), and stand-up comic Cameron Esposito. Buy tickets here.
Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America
Tuesday, July 12, 5 p.m. at DGA 2 Documentary
When Moises Serrano was a baby, his parents risked everything to flee Mexico in search of the American Dream. Growing up in the rural South as an undocumented gay man, forbidden to live and love in the country he calls home, Serrano sees only one option — to fight for justice and equality. Driven by a deep love for his family, who have come to accept being treated as invisible, Moises seeks to change the world. Buy tickets here.
Wednesday, July 13, 8:30 p.m. at Ford Theatre Special Event
Ghostbusters makes its long-awaited return, rebooted with a cast of hilarious new characters. Thirty years after the beloved original franchise took the world by storm, director Paul Feig brings his fresh take to the supernatural comedy, joined by some of the funniest actors working today — Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth. This summer, they're here to save the world! The film is produced by Ivan Reitman and Amy Pascal, and written by Katie Dippold and Paul Feig, based on the 1984 film Ghostbusters, an Ivan Reitman film, written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. Buy tickets here.
Girl Gets Girl
Saturday, July 9, 12 p.m. at Redcat International
This hot and hilarious telenovela takes us from Miami to Madrid, as vixen and heartbreaker Inés arrives back in Spain with her sights set on Lola. A delicious comedy based on the globally successful web series, Girl Gets Girl invites you to a party you won't want to miss, where seduction, surprises, and melodrama meet you at every turn. Director Sonia Sebastian coaxes whip-smart performances from this gorgeous cast of ladies. Buy tickets here.
Holding the Man
Wednesday, July 13, 7 p.m. at DGA 1 International
Tim and John couldn't be more different (John's the captain of the football team, Tim's in the drama club), but these high-schoolers manage to build a relationship that will last through years of challenges in this poignant drama. Featuring achingly romantic lead performances by Ryan Corr and Greg Stott — as well as supporting turns by Guy Pearce, Anthony LaPaglia, and Kerry Fox — this award-winning Australian import proves that even an unlikely love can be an enduring one. Buy tickets here.
Thursday, July 7, 8 p.m. at the Orpheum Theatre Opening Night Gala
Clea DuVall makes an assured directorial debut with The Intervention, a relationship comedy featuring a sharp-witted ensemble of 30-something couples on a beautiful lakefront vacation — with a hidden agenda. When the weekend's plot to intervene in Ruby's (Cobie Smulders) relationship goes awry, tension among the group runs high and riotous comedy ensues. Secrets are revealed, and as everyone lets go of their public facades and acknowledges their emotional baggage, the hilarity builds. The expert comic timing of this astonishingly talented cast keeps you laughing, even as its sly observations make you wince in recognition.
Reunited once again, DuVall and Natasha Lyonne (But I’m a Cheerleader) shine as a couple facing temptation in the form of an alluring queer stranger (Alia Shawkat). The spirited group also includes neurotic instigator Annie (Melanie Lynskey), who orchestrates the intervention, Matt (Jason Ritter), her put-upon boyfriend, and free-spirited drifter Jack (Ben Schwartz). Buy tickets here.
Jewel’s Catch One
Sunday, July 10, 5 p.m. at Harmony Gold/Sunday, July 17, 11 a.m. at DGA 1 Documentary
Jewel Thais-Williams broke down racial and cultural barriers while running the oldest black-owned disco in America. This film celebrates her activism and the impact of Catch One on music, dance, fashion, and celebrity that helped changed the course of our country. Her club was heralded as the "Studio 54 of the West Coast," and the documentary is rich with stories and music of the last four decades. Featuring Sharon Stone, Madonna, Thelma Houston, Sandra Bernhard, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Jenifer Lewis, Thea Austin, Bonnie Pointer, and CCH Pounder. Join the celebration after the screening with a post-reception at the site of the old Catch (4067 W. Pico Blvd.). Admittance granted to those with an Outfest Jewel's Catch One ticket stub. Buy tickets here.
Thursday, July 14, 8:30 p.m. at Ford Theatres Documentary Centerpiece
Dazzling and exhilarating, this Sundance hit and Teddy-winning documentary returns us to a world we might think we know from the classic Paris Is Burning. Working closely with Twiggy Pucci Garçon (of the Haus of Pucci) and her friends over a four-year period, Swedish filmmaker Sara Jordenö takes us into the shimmering community of Kiki, an offshoot of New York City's vibrant drag ball scene. You'll meet activist and house mother Twiggy and her good friend ChiChi Mizrahi, who coach young performers (representing a vast array of the gender and sexual spectrum) as they face off in intense vogueing competitions. Kiki also offers these kids a place to find family in a world that can be challenging for LGBT people of color. The festivities for Kiki will begin before the screening itself, so do not miss out. Arrive by 8 p.m. to catch the stars of Kiki performing a vogueing battle/show with a DJ and commentator. Buy tickets here.
Saturday, July 17, 9:30 p.m. at DGA 1 Special Centerpiece
James Franco and writer-director Justin Kelly (I Am Michael) return to Outfest Los Angeles with another sure-to-be-talked-about film based on true events. When a small-time porn producer discovers gay adult superstar Brent Corrigan (played by Disney Channel alum Garrett Clayton), two would-be competitors turn to violence as they fight over the future of his career. The all-star ensemble also includes Franco, Christian Slater, Keegan Allen, Molly Ringwald, and Alicia Silverstone. Producers Scott Levenson and Jordan Yale Levine present this powerful ripped-from-the-headlines drama exploring real-life greed and obsession. Franco will also be honored by Outfest before the film’s screening. Buy tickets here.
Last Men Standing
Monday, July 11, 9:30 p.m. at Harmony Gold Documentary
In the mid-1980s, when these San Francisco gay men were diagnosed, HIV infection was a death sentence. Thirty years later, they are living on, only now they're navigating challenges they never expected to confront: survivor's guilt, financial woes, aging in a youth-obsessed culture, and making sense of their lives. An unflinching and moving tribute to honesty, courage, and fate, Last Men Standing documents the diverse but always-riveting experience of ordinary men in extraordinary circumstances. Buy tickets here.
Saturday, July 16, 1:30 p.m. at DGA 1
When Dean unexpectedly hears from his ex-boyfriend Alex for the first time in 20 years, they flee to Joshua Tree for a romantic weekend of whirlwind perspective shifts, nonstop conversation, and second chances. Sunkissed and exposed, their past, present, and future choices collide in Lazy Eye, a naturalistic love story with no easy answers. Outfest alum Tim Kirkman (Loggerheads, Dear Jesse) revels in these moments, exploring transcendent truths about relationships and reconciliation against an epic desert backdrop. Buy tickets here.
Looking: The Movie
Saturday, July 9, 9:30 p.m. at DGA 1
Starring Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez, and Murray Bartlett, Looking: The Movie wraps up the story of three close friends living in San Francisco who explore the options available to a new generation of gay men seeking fulfillment in love and life. Patrick (Groff) returns to the city for the first time in almost a year to celebrate a momentous event with his old friends. In the process, he must face the unresolved relationships he left behind and make some difficult choices. Buy tickets here.
Saturday, July 16, 7:15 p.m. at DGA 2 Documentary
In this inspiring documentary, Miss Major Griffin Gracy's revolutionary life secures the legacy of black trans women as resilient activists, leaders, and survivalists, anchoring their communities against the rampant transphobia that trans women of color face daily. Filmmaker Annalise Ophelian channels this transformative biography into a powerful film that highlights the impact one woman and her interwoven communities have had on the foundation and growth of advocacy for trans rights and liberation. Buy tickets here.
Saturday, July 16, 2:30 p.m. at DGA 2
It's 1999, and high-school senior Miles is desperate to go to college far from his rural town in Illinois. An athletic scholarship seems like the obvious solution, but Miles's sport of choice is volleyball — which, at his school, is strictly for girls. Featuring a deep bench of comedy vets (including Molly Shannon, Missi Pyle, and Paul Reiser), this charmingly sweet, family-friendly comedy reminds us that gender rebellion can take many forms. Buy tickets here.
Sunday, July 17, 8 p.m. at Ford Theatres Closing Night Gala
In this Sundance hit, Jesse Plemons (Fargo, Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights) plays a comedy writer who has just moved from New York City home to Sacramento to help care for his sick mother, Joanne (Molly Shannon). Fresh off a split with his longtime boyfriend and stuck in a hometown that now feels completely foreign, David struggles to find any semblance of meaning in his circumstances. A stellar supporting cast full of familiar faces, including Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), Zach Woods (Silicon Valley), and John Early (Fort Tilden), does the rest of the dramatic — and comedic — heavy lifting. Buy tickets here.
Paris 05:59: Theo and Hugo
Sunday, July 10, 9:15 p.m. at DGA 1 International
Shortbus meets Weekend in this year's Audience Award winner at the Teddys, an erotic, dazzling, real-time drama from the directors of Cote d'Azur. The titular characters meet at an underground Paris sex club and have a passionate first encounter. Afterwards, the two spend the rest of the early morning hours getting to know each other in ways that are both lyrical (bicycling through empty streets) and dramatic (waiting for HIV test results at a hospital) in this powerful story of love and lust. Buy tickets here.
Plaza de la Soledad
Monday, July 11, 9:30 p.m. at DGA 2 Documentary
Photographer-turned-filmmaker Maya Goded invites us into the bedrooms of sex workers in La Merced, Mexico. A portrait of women ranging from 50 to 80 years old who still work the streets of the Plaza with vigor and zest, Plaza de la Soledad never shies from capturing their raw realities. As the women share their histories, fears, and pain — ingrained from years on the streets — Goded shares with us the poignant intimacies among female companions who find comfort in the only job they know. Buy tickets here.
Thursday, July 14, 7p.m. at DGA 2 Special Event
After introducing an antibullying bill aimed at protecting LGBT schoolchildren, California state legislator Sheila Kuehl had to endure grandstanding speeches comparing homosexuals to pedophiles. It was in such a hostile environment that she and fellow out lawmakers Christine Kehoe, Jackie Goldberg, and Carole Migden passed California's first LGBT antidiscrimination laws. Political Animals is an unflinchingly honest look into the difficult early days of the advocacy that paved the way for the LGBT rights victories of today. Buy tickets here.
Friday, July 8, 8 p.m. at DGA 2 Documentary
A documentary practically awash in sweat, flesh, and testosterone, Scrum tells the stories of three members of the Sydney Convicts, a predominantly gay rugby team, as they prepare to compete in the prestigious Bingham Cup. The trio consists of Brennan Bastyovanszky, the cocksure Canadian; Aki Muzutani, a Japanese powerhouse; and sweet-natured Irishman Pearse Egan, who was brutally bullied in school. Director Poppy Stockell's erotically charged images are skillfully linked with the inspiring journeys of her subjects. Buy tickets here.
Saturday, July 9, 6:30 p.m. at DGA 1
Neil is an awkward, questioning high school freshman with a hidden talent: He writes amazing erotic fan fiction. When his classmates discover his secret, he's horrified until Julia, a cool and confident fellow prose author, convinces him to post his stories anonymously online. This lands him a live read at a comic-con, forcing Neil to reconcile his burgeoning sexuality with his outsized fan-fic. Slash is as heartfelt and grounded as a film featuring multiple intergalactic pansexual orgies can be. Buy tickets here.
Monday, July 11, 7 p.m. at DGA 1 U.S. Dramatic Centerpiece
Andrew Ahn perfectly captures a specific corner of the Korean-American experience with his directorial debut. This intimate portrait, striking for its keen observation and cultural accuracy, unfolds against the vibrant backdrop of Los Angeles's Koreatown. Spa Night follows David Cho, a Korean-American with first-generation Korean parents, as he goes to SAT classes, helps out at his parents' restaurant, and is unsure about his future. When his family's restaurant is forced to close, David begins working at a spa, where he discovers the underground gay hookup culture. As David struggles to explore his burgeoning sexuality, in a powerfully restrained performance by star Joe Seo, director Ahn taps into the ways that maturity and sacrifice go hand-in-hand. Poignant, reflective, and moving, Spa Night explores the weight of familial obligation and suppressed emotions while also positioning director Andrew Ahn as a filmmaker to watch. Seo won Breakthrough Performance at the Sundance Film Festival; you don't want to miss his career-making turn as this multifaceted character. Buy tickets here.
Strike a Pose
Friday, July 8, 9:30 p.m. at DGA 2/Friday, July 8, 9:45 p.m. at Harmony Gold Documentary
Madonna's 1990 Blonde Ambition tour had more backstage stories than Truth or Dare could fit, and now her backup dancers (six gay, one straight) take center stage to share their own experiences. A quarter-century later, they look back on how the experience changed their lives: From wild tales of the road to finding the courage to be out and proud during the first Bush era, these performers have seen it all, and now they're telling all. Buy tickets here.
The Watermelon Woman
Sunday, July 10, 2 p.m. at DGA 2
Cheryl (writer-director Dunye), a 20-something black lesbian, makes a documentary about a beautiful film actress identified only as “The Watermelon Woman.” Delving into the project, Cheryl explores a budding love affair with Diana (Guinevere Turner), and contemplates the complexities of race, gender, and romance in the '90s. Notably the first feature film directed by an African-American lesbian, The Watermelon Woman was celebrated at the 1996 Berlin Film Festival, where it won the prestigious Teddy Award. In honor of its 20th anniversary, the festival presents a new digital restoration from the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project and 13th Gen. Buy tickets here.
Women Who Kill
Saturday, July 16, 6:45 p.m. at DGA 1
As true-crime podcasters obsessed with the secrets of female serial killers, ex-girlfriends Morgan and Jean know that mystery keeps relationships alive. But as their macabre musings become popular around Brooklyn, shady femme fatale Simone (Sheila Vand) may just rip them apart. With a lethal dose of wry wit in the vein of vintage Woody Allen, debut director-writer-star Ingrid Jungermann (F TO 7TH) acerbically sharpens the dull edges of urban complacency into a dark comedy of manners. Winner of Tribeca's Best Screenplay Award. Buy tickets here.
Don’t miss all of the stellar short films curated this year by Outfest. These include: Boys Shorts, Girls Shorts, OutSet Shorts, Queerer Than Fiction, Scared Stiff, and Silver Shorts. Browse them all here.
Other Special Events
Don’t miss Q&As with the casts of Difficult People and Transparent. There are also workshops with the Screen Actors Guild and lessons in crowdfunding to make your own productions. And definitely catch screenings of classics like The Hunger and Bound. Learn more at Outfest.org, and also browse the full lineup of this year’s festival.