Outefest, Los Angeles's LGBT film fest kicks off tonight, and brings dozens of features, documentaries, and shorts to the big screen. Here are a few highlights on the program that I'm particularly looking forward to.
Bruno & Earlene Go To Vegas
Synopsis: Earlene (Ashleigh Sumner) arrives at Venice Beach after running away from a desperate situation, only to become fast friends with Bruno (Miles Szanto) an Australian skater who is also lost. Together, they set out into the desert to find themselves.
Why I'm Pumped: This feature is apparently the first LGBTQI road trip/western, and the trailer promises sandy, dusty, moody shots.
Lesbiana: A Parallel Revolution
Synopsis: A parallel revolution was born out of the feminist movement of the 1970's, coming to an end around 1995. Filmmaker Myriam Fougère takes us on a journey to meet the lesbian writers, philosophers, and activists who were key players in creating a revolutionary sisterhood around the world.
Why I'm Pumped: One of the woman in the trailer uses the term, "Island of Women." Enough said.
Synopsis: Frazzled and fabulous Chloe and Kate have been inseparable ever since tying for last place at a kiddie beauty pageant. Years later, when the pageant announces a reunion, the two attempt to redeem themselves in front of former rival Laurel. But on their way to the gathering, the two girls make a wrong turn and confront a colorful cast of characters including drug addicts, a feminist farming collective, and strip club hooligans.
Why I'm Pumped: Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael did this seemingly insanely ridiculous comedy on a serious budget. Also Alicia Silverstone plays an antagonist, so double-excitement.
Reaching For The Moon (Flores Raras)
Synopsis: Grappling with writer's bock, legendary American poet Elizabeth Bishop (Miranda Otto) travels to 1950s Rio de Janeiro to visit her college friend Mary (Tracy Middendorf). Hoping to find inspiration on Mary's sprawling estate, Elizabeth winds up with much more -- a temptestuous relationship with Mary's bohemian partner, architect Lota de Macedo Soares, that rocks the staid writer to her foundation. Alchoholism
Why I'm Pumped: This was directed by a pro (Bruno Barreto) and re-imagines a story in history worth telling — I mean Elizabeth Bishop wrote North & South. Literary nerds unite!
Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth
Synopsis: A look at the life, work, and activism of Pulitzer Prize-winning author and revolutionary Alice Walker. Walker's work, like her novel The Color Purple, and relationships were a constant target of controversy, but her personal and professional accomplishments reflect against a period of progress, violence, and upheaval, while celebrating self-expression.
Why I'm Pumped: Any opportunity to learn about amazing female pioneers should be taken.
Breaking The Girls
Synopsis: Sara and Alex become best friends after a chance meeting at a bar. As they become closer, they conspire to kill each other's respective enemy. As the sexual tension between them escalates and they embark on their murderous pact, events begin to unravel with unpredictable consequences, in a twisted tale of seduction, deception and betrayal.
Why I'm Pumped: Creepy. As. Hell. And, the modern update of Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train is directed by But I'm a Cheerleader's Jamie Babbit.
The Most Fun I've Had With My Pants On
Synopsis: Two childhood girlfriends Andy and Liv who reunite to scatter Andy's dad's ashes from LA to Austin where Liv will audition for the role of a vixen spy in a noir film. Between performing mini-funerals in surreal southwestern landscapes, the girls practice being bad!
Why I'm Pumped: Typically I prefer pants off, especially in the hot southwest, but my curiosity is piqued.
Synopsis: Concussion is a cross between Belle du Jour and the Stepford Wives, where suburban housewife Abby (Robin Weigart) has an erotic epiphany after suffering from a concussion. In the immediate aftermath, she questions whether her picture-perfect family life is enough and decides to revive her career and renovate a loft in New York City. The space transforms into a convenient location for an unexpected sexual awakening.
Why I'm Pumped: Unexpected sexual awakenings? Let's do it! (Hehe, pun intended)
Valencia: The Movie/s
Synopsis: Based on legendary lesbian memoir Valencia by Michelle Tea, this film takes us on a journey through Michelle's tumltuous love life as told by 20 different film makers, including Cilas Howard, Sheryl Dunye, and Jill Soloway.
Why I'm Pumped: Michelle Tea is awesome and so are anthologies — perfect for short attention spans!
The Other Shore
Synopsis: The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a 39-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage.
Why I'm Pumped: Diana Nyad is a badass, and she seems to seep with philosophical zen-tasticness. If I'm a fraction as amazing as she is at 61-years-old, I'm jazzed about old age.
Synopsis: Since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas in 2009, only four known doctors in the United States continue to perform third-trimester abortions. These physicians, all colleagues of Dr. Tiller, sacrifice their safety and personal lives in the name of their fierce, unwavering conviction to help women. But for some in the pro-life movement, these doctors are “murderers” who must be stopped.
Why I'm Pumped: Dr. Shelley Sella, a lesbian physician, is one of the doctors in this fight, one of the most politically contentious issues of our time.
Everybody's Got Somebody…Not Me
Synopsis: The sumptuous, sexually charged drama from Mexico tells the story of a passionate relationship between Alejandra, an uptight intellectual, and Maria, a wild and curious private school teenager. Though the two have an intense emotional and physical connection, Alejandra's attempts to keep Maria away from her partying friends threaten to sabotage the all-consuming love that binds them.
Why I'm Pumped: Three words: Hot For Teacher. I don't even know if Alejandra is a teacher, really, but it's in my mind, OK!?
Synopsis: Deep South is a documentary about the rural American South, and the people who inhabit its most quiet corners. Beneath layers of history, poverty and now soaring HIV infections, four Americans redefine traditional Southern values to create their own solutions to survive.
Why I'm Pumped: Some Yankees like me are wary of the American South, but it's uplifting to see people fight the systems that oppress them.
Who's Afraid of Vagina Wolf?
Synopsis: The day after her 40th birthday Anna, a filmmaker who’s sacrificed her love life for her film career, realizes she has neither and so decides to embark on filming an all-female parody of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? This last-ditch effort, intended to jumpstart Anna’s career and in the process win the affections of the beguiling actress/artist Katia, becomes a massive undertaking filled with the highs and lows of a bitter-sweet life.
Why I'm Pumped: We've been watching filmmaker Anna Margarita Albelo work on this film for a while, so it's cool to see it hit the big screen. Also, the film stars Guinevere Turner, Tammy Lynn Michaels, Bridget McManus, and Joel Michaely. So there.