From Berlin to Sundance, film festivals across the world have thrown their support behind LGBT representation in recent years, opening up important spaces for Queer cinema on a global scale. But while these efforts have played an integral part in the recent sea change in social consciousness, perhaps no other festival does it quite like L.A.’s massive yearly cinema shindig, Outfest.
Since 1982, Outfest has been on the cutting edge of Queer cinema, with the stated goal of “creating, sharing and protecting” LGBT stories for the audiovisual age. And as the festival has grown, so has its scope: Outfest now includes a plethora of awards for U.S. and international narrative features, documentaries, actors and actresses, along with a handful audience awards, and special program awards for Emerging Talent and Artistic Achievement.
Then of course, there are the parties. And there’s a whole lot of ‘em. In fact, Outfest’s opening night shebang has become one of Southern California’s premiere yearly LGBT events, and that’s just the beginning of 10 days worth of pura rumba. Plus, this year’s fest will feature series of rare performances from the world-renowned drag queen Lypsinka, a 10-year anniversary tribute to the L.A. classic Quinceañera, a panel on Trans representation in Hollywood, and a chat with openly gay MMA star Nick Jonas.
Oh, and in a milestone few festivals have ever been able to achieve, an admirable 40% of the festivals programming is by woman filmmakers. You go, Outfest.
Here’s a rundown of some of the Latino films featured in this year’s competition.
Outfest runs from July 9 through July 19, 2015 in Los Angeles.
Sebastian has made a comfortable life for himself in Los Angeles alongside his husband, Josh. When his mother’s deteriorating health compels him to return to his hometown in Peru, he must return to the closeted lifestyle he led for so many years before leaving to the United States. When Josh shows up to his mother’s house unexpectedly to the shock and distain of Sebastian’s family and community, Sebastian’s life is thrown entirely out of whack.
A potent mystery story from one of Mexico’s most original contemporary directors, Carmin Tropical follows a trans nightclub singer named Mabel who returns to her hometown to investigate the murder of her best friend, Daniela. As Mabel digs deeper into the details of Daniela’s past, she is forced to confront her own upbringing and come to terms with a world she tried so desperately to leave behind.
En la gama de los grises
First-time director Claudio Marcone brings this poignant, romantic story of love in the gray area between the otherwise black-and-white notions of gay and straight. Bruno is an ambitious young architect who is sent away from his wife to collaborate on a new project with an openly gay history teacher. A romance begins to brew between the two coworkers, but a wedge is driven between them when the history teacher, Fer, demands Bruno admit his sexuality.
Martin is a teenager sent by his parents to Brazil’s southern coast to sort out some family affairs. His best friend Tomaz decides to hop on board for the ride, with both hoping the trip will help mend the growing emotional distant between them. The boys spend their weekend meandering around the dreary winter landscape of Southern Brazil, by turns distracted, by turns introspective. In the end, both come face-to-face with the sometimes blurry line between friendship and love.
Liz en Septiembre
Liz is a middle class professional who meets up at an idyllic tropical beach resort each September with a group of lesbian friends. This year, however, she finds herself desperately hiding the fact that she has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. When a beautiful newcomer named Eva shows up, Liz’s friends challenge her to seduce the young heterosexual woman, who happens to be mourning the loss of her child from cancer. As they strike up a relationship, the two women’s mutual bonds lead them to find unexpected depth in their fleeting encounter.
A Sundance and GLAAD award-winner, this unforgettable L.A. classic explores the racial tensions simmering amongst a traditional Latino family against the backdrop of Echo Park’s rapidly growing gentrification. Helmed by Wash Westmoreland and the late Richard Glatzer, and featuring Emily Rios (Breaking Bad, The Bridge), Jesse Garcia (El Rey Network’s From Dusk Til Dawn), and veteran actor Chalo Gonzales as Tio Tomás, the film resonates as powerfully today as it did upon its first release.