Outfest L.A. Film Festival Returns with In-Person Screenings at the Orpheum

The fest promises 175+ films, an outdoor gala, and an award ceremony dedicated to Elliot Page and Octavia Spencer.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

Lights, camera, action! Film fanatics interested in inclusive storytelling can enjoy some movie magic, thanks to Outfest, which is hosting its 39th annual Los Angeles Film Festival August 13 to 22. After a year-and-a-half of virtual events, the fest will showcase several in-person screenings, panels and workshops that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. 

Highlighting a wide range of works produced by Queer filmmakers, the 10-day festival will allow marginalized creatives to present their own stories to a diverse audience. The lineup features over 170 movies, including 50 international films, short stories, documentaries and more. What's better? Angelenos can even enjoy these groundbreaking flicks at L.A.'s favorite venues like the Orpheum, the DGA, and Redcat, just to name a few.

"We're thrilled to be coming back in-person carefully and with the intention to celebrate this amazing community, its stories and its resiliency and spirit with so many incredible films and special events," says festival executive director Damien Navarro in a statement.

"I have a range of feelings, as I'm sure many do, that Outfest L.A. is resuming as a mix of in-theatre, outdoor and streaming offerings. The first is probably cautious optimism that we are exactly where the members of our community, and the storytellers our mission serves, were hoping we would be," Navarro adds. 

The LGBTQ+ entertainment organization has captivated audiences for nearly 40 years with its annual film festivals, streaming platforms and educational resources. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the beloved event shifted its 2020 edition to virtual events and socially distanced drive-in screenings. For those who aren't yet ready for in-person events, Outfest is making every featured film available to stream from home. 

"Of course, the biggest difference between this Outfest L.A. and prior ones is that it will take place in fewer physical venues and at nearly 70% of the scale. Instead, we will be leaning on our streaming digital festival to provide a more holistic experience in which audience and festival goers can decide how and when they would like to engage with Outfest L.A.," says Navarro.

'Fanny: The Right to Rock' Photo: Courtesy of Marita Madeloni

In partnership with Cinespia, the festival is kicking off with an outdoor gala and screening of Everybody's Talking About Jamie, on August 13 at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The showing will also feature in-person appearances from Max Harwood, Lauren Patel, director Jonathan Butterell, and RuPaul's Drag Race winner Bianca del Rio.

Concluding the festival will be a showing of Fanny: The Right to Rock, a documentary about the first female band to release an album with a major label. After the screening, Fanny will be reuniting for a showstopping performance on August 22 at the Orpheum Theatre. Also closing out the annual event is an award ceremony dedicated to two LGBTQ+ advocates in the film industry. Elliot Page will receive the prestigious Outfest Annual Achievement Award, and Octavia Spencer will receive the Outfest Annual James Schamus Ally Award. 

The film schedule showcases several impactful stories that will be premiering for the festival. Standout projects include the gender-expression-themed comedy, Homebody; the story behind the L.A. Latina transgender activist, Bamby Salcedo, La Queenciañera; and John Onieal's comedic series, Bridesman. Documentary fans can also enjoy projects like T.J. Parsell's Invisible and Jeffrey Schwarz's flick about Gloria Swanson's quest to star in the musical Sunset Boulevard, Boulevard! A Hollywood Story

This year's Centerpiece films will screen the Tribeca Film Festival prize-winner The Novice; a special tribute to producer and Outfest alum Ash Christian, The Sixth Reel; Bo McGuire's Socks on Fire; and a depiction of RuPaul's Drag Race season one winner BeBe Zahara Benet, Being BeBe

Outfest also has many special events planned, ranging from live performances to panels. Outfest will hold its 5th Annual Trans & Nonbinary Summit showcase artists like Zackary Drucker, Our Lady J and Rain Valdez. Guests can also expect a short film showcase and a live read of Rain Valdez's Emmy-nominated series Razor Tongue.  

Into it? Great news, there are still some tickets left Grab your in-person or virtual tickets here! Plus, check out the complete listing of films on the 2021 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival website.

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