Outfest, the Los Angeles LGBTQ film festival, is always lit. That’s just a fact. With its expansive screening roster and its fabulous parties, this celebration of all things queer on screen is one of the most exciting events in a city already awash with glittering film-centered programming. But this year, be prepared to use your fire emoji several times to describe it. For starters, Outfest LA is hosting a Latinx Celebration on July 16. It may be the only place where you’ll be able to bop to Dj Sizzle Fantastic and see a skating demo courtesy of the ladies of Skate Kitchen after seeing drag queen Melissa Befierce host a lotería fundraiser. And don’t worry, if you get hungry, you’ll be able to enjoy food at the Mercadito from places like Mexvegana and Sunnyside Tamales.
The event is but one sign that the Latinx community will be well-represented at the queer fest. Ostensibly a film-oriented program, Outfest knows that prestige TV is quickly blurring the lines between the two media. So it’s no surprise that they’re hosting a screening of Starz’s critically acclaimed show Vida. Moreover, you’ll be able to catch a Q&A with the cast and crew, where no doubt issues of how this queer af Latina-centered show broke through to tell an authentic story about LA’s Eastside. Moreover, to show its commitment to showcasing Latin American filmmakers, the fest is also hosting a shorts film program that features projects from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. Together they offer a diverse look at the LGBTQ community of the Americas.
But truly, the draw of Outfest has always been its eclectic selection of movies. Star-studded films like We The Animals, The Miseducation of Cameron Post and Studio 54 dominate the gala screenings. But if you look further down the schedule, you’ll find all sorts of fascinating gems that feature some of the best Latinx and Latin American talent both in front and behind the camera. Whether you’re looking for a steamy romance between a Colombian director and her star, a coming-of-age tale set in Cuernavaca, or a documentary about a Brazilian “gender terrorist” singer, Outfest LA has you covered. Check out our recommendations below.
Outfest runs July 12-22, 2018.
We The Animals
Us three, brothers, kings inseparable. Manny, Joel, and Jonah tear their way through childhood. Their parents (Sheila Vand and Raul Castillo) have a volatile love that makes and unmakes the family many times over, leaving the boys fending for themselves. As their parents rip at one another, Manny and Joel ultimately harden and grow into versions of their father. With the triumvirate fractured, Jonah—the youngest, the dreamer—becomes increasingly aware of his desperate need to escape. Driven to the edge, Jonah embraces an imagined world all his own. With a screenplay by Dan Kitrosser and Jeremiah Zagar based on the celebrated Justin Torres novel, We the Animals is a visceral coming-of-age story propelled by strikingly layered performances from its astounding cast, elements of magical realism, and unbelievable animated sequence
Cola de mono
It’s Christmas Eve, 1986, and Borja is a precocious teenager with a passion for film. As his extended family comes together to celebrate the holiday, the combined forces of the suffocating Chilean heat, free-flowing drinks, and repressed desire contribute to the eruption of long-held secrets. This hypnotic story from Chile is both an enticing family melodrama and an explicit erotic thriller about the ways that passion and desire control our lives — from our pop-culture tastes to our sexual fantasies
After his mother dies unexpectedly, Andy moves into the palatial residence of his strict, no-nonsense grandmother (played by frequent Almodóvar collaborator Carmen Maura) in the Mexican suburb of Cuernavaca. He finds comfort and refuge in Charly, the estate’s young gardener, who introduces him to an exciting world of danger, risk, and temptation. In this epic coming-of-age story, Andy will navigate the pain and joy that comes with grief, growing up, and finding your identity.
¿Cómo te llamas?
A portrait of two strong, independent women: a female director and the star of her first film, drawn together by a powerful attraction and their shared desire to take on the movie world. The passion between them creates a seductive and fascinating intimacy. But over time, their relationship evolves, swinging from infatuation to sensuality, which turns to tenderness, and then routine. They never wanted to be a conventional couple, and yet that’s just what they’ve become. Can Eva and Candela withstand the inevitable effects of time to overcome the metamorphosis of their relationship?
Online, Pedro smears neon paint across his body for pay-per-view voyeurs hungry for his webcam erotica. IRL, he rarely sees the sun or speaks to another soul in Porto Alegre. After catching word of a rival ripping off his rainbow-colored act, he ventures from the shadows to settle their score — but finds an unlikely new friend in the process. This Berlinale Teddy Award winner conjures a dark, sensual atmosphere of alienation and discovery.
Shy, 18-year-old Camille (played by Colombian-American newcomer Rachelle Vinberg) seeks out an all-girl skateboard crew in NYC, a subculture of sexually fluid, cool city kids whose lives revolve around social media and skateboarding. Camille, adopted into their gang, is quickly faced with the complexity of female friendship, loyalty pressures, and singular personalities. So much so she’ll rebel against her mother (Orange is the New Black’s Elizabeth Rodriguez). A breakout darling of the Sundance Film Festival, filmmaker Crystal Moselle (The Wolfpack) perfectly captures the female zeitgeist in her richly textured and atmospheric second feature.
Black Brazilian transgender singer Linn da Quebrada weaponizes the trans body and music for political protest. Linn and childhood friend Jup do Bairro use extravagantly costumed performances to dazzle audiences while opposing their country’s white heteronormative order. Figuring her embodied existence as resistance, Linn eschews the role of cis woman, instead choosing a fluid gender identity. Full of funny and intimate moments, the film advocates for personal choice against a society that imposes static gender identity.
Temporada de patos
When their high strung mother goes out for the day leaving Flama and his buddy Moko with some pesos for pizza and Cokes in their high-rise housing complex it has all the makings of the perfect Sunday for a couple of tweens. Settling down in front of the Xbox with sodas and a big bowl of chips the day could not be more perfect that is until the electricity goes out. By the time their next door neighbor Rita comes over to bake a cake (and accidentally makes it with marijuana) this Mexican coming of age tale shows itself to be a tender and quirky take on the genre.