This year’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy has shown us that now, more than ever, it’s important to showcase multicultural representation in movies and the arts. The Outfest Fusion Film Festival IS that place, where LA’s diverse communities come together to celebrate LGBT people of color and amplify their voices through media images and storytelling. It’s the only festival of its kind, now in its 13th year. Starting March 4th and continuing through March 16th, this year’s festival features: Three days of screenings! Ten days of filmmaking workshops! One-minute movie contest! And, of course, a fabulous gala with music, food, liquor, and a chance to meet the bold new voices in queer cinema!
FUSION GALA | 8pm on Saturday March 5th at The Egyptian
Meet the bold new voices of queer cinema in this colorful collection of shorts about finding truth and humor in unexpected places. These seven universal stories feature inspiring characters who are triumphantly coming to terms with who they are. The screening is followed by a fabulous party in the courtyard with hosted bar, food bites, and a DJ spinning sounds that will make you want to shimmy.
Link to tickets here.
FUSION FILMMAKING WORKSHOPS ($5 entry, Free to Outfest Members):
March 6: Best Practices for Making a Film and Building an Audience on the Road with Sekiya Dorsett
March 7: Guerrilla Feature Filmmaking Workshop with Quentin Lee
March 8: Getting the Word Out: Using Social Media to Market Your Film with Nneka Onuorah
March 9: How to Make a Web Series with Ean Weslynn
March 10: Directing Workshop with Angela Robinson
March 12: Directing Actors with Doug Spearman
March 12: Shooting on Your Smart Phone with Deondray Gossfield and Quincy LeNear Gossfield
March 13: Cinematography Workshop with Ava Berkofsky
March 13:Space Out Of Time: Experimenting with Virtual Reality
March 14: Storytelling Workshop with Mario Novoa
March 15: Editing Workshop with Jamie Renee Williams
More info at http://www.outfest.org/fusion2016/workshops/
This year’s screenings at a glance:
The Watermelon Woman
Dir/Scr: Cheryl Dunye, 1996, English, USA, 90 min.
Cheryl (writer/director Dunye), a twenty-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, we are proud to present this new digital restoration from the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project and 13th Gen.
Dir/Scr: Adam Garnet Jones, 2015, English, Canada, 85 min.
Making its world premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, First Nations director Adam Garnet Jones’s feature film debut introduces us to Shane, a Two Spirited Anishinaabe teen. He lives in an aboriginal community in Northern Ontario with his mother Jackie who, six weeks after her daughter’s suicide, is still unable to move on, mired in the past. Conversely, Shane immerses himself in the future, planning his escape from a town riddled with unemployment, alcoholism, homophobia, and sexual and domestic violence. When his opportunity for college is put in jeopardy, Shane’s ensuing decisions force him and those around him to come to terms with longstanding hidden truths the present cannot deny.
Dir/Scr: Scud, 2015, Mandarin with English subtitles, Hong Kong, 86 min.
Fresh from its North American Premiere at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, this visually stunning erotic drama follows a young man (Hins) who finds himself unexpectedly attracted to his handsome, outspoken male professor (Ming). Despite — or perhaps because of — his conservative upbringing, Hins is intent on getting close enough to Ming to understand him. It’s an experience that transforms his life and comes to define his adult identity. UTOPIANS features nudity and explicit sex. Q-Rated!
Fusion Doc Shorts
Made of Sugar (6 mins)
Dir: Kevin Rios, 2015, English/Spanish with English subtitles, USA, 6 min.
A nostalgic portrait of a Cuban-American family’s evolving cultural heritage.
Pink Dads (20 mins)
Dir: Fan Popo, 2016, Mandarin with English subtitles, China, 20 min.
Noted gay Chinese director Fan Popo gives us a sneak peek of his new project PAPA RAINBOW, the follow up to 2014’s award-winning doc MAMA RAINBOW. International Premiere.
BrocKINGton (9 mins)
Dir: Sergio Ingato/Maggie Sloane/Mason Sklut, 2014, English, USA, 8 min.
An intimate film about the struggles of being a teenage transman, BROCKINGTON won the Best Documentary Short prize at Newfest in 2015.
Poshida: Hidden LGBT Pakistan (30 mins)
Dir: Faizan Fiaz, 2015, English/Urdu with subtitles, Pakistan, 30 min.
A groundbreaking look at the hidden LGBT population of Pakistan. US Premiere.
Gaysians (13 mins)
Dir: Vicky Du, 2015, English, USA, 13 min.
Five queer and trans Asian-Americans from the NYC area explore their relationships with their family and culture in this illuminating patchwork documentary.
Libertad (9 mins)
Dir: Brenda Avila-Hanna, 2015, English, USA, 9 min.
The story of Alejandra, who always knew deep down inside that she was a chola, not a cholo. World Premiere.
Dir/Scr: Kai Towns, 2015, English, USA, 17 min.
An African American transman, who hasn’t seen his family in years, unexpectedly returns home for Thanksgiving.
Dir: Akosua Adoma, Owusu, Scr: Kwame Edwin Otu, 2016, English, Ghana/USA, 8 min.
Filmed on Super 8 and fresh off of its world premiere in competition at the Berlin International Film Festival, this window into the queer politics of Ghana follows one man’s struggle to reconcile his love for his mother with his sexual orientation. US Premiere.
Vow of Silence
Dir/Scr: Be Steadwell, 2014, English, USA, 28 min.
A young woman takes a vow of silence to win back the heart of her true love. Writer-Director Be Steadwell is profiled in the documentary THE REVIVAL: WOMEN, WINE AND THE WORD, also playing Fusion.
Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in Church
Dir: Clay Cane, 2015, English, USA, 60 min.
Throughout the legacy of oppression faced by African-Americans, the church has traditionally served as the pillar of the Black community. The birthplace of the Civil Rights movement, the Black Church has been a house of tolerance and change. Yet, while the US government begins to recognize the civil rights of LGBTQ citizens through legislation, the Black Church continues to condemn them through literal interpretations of scripture. Recipient of the GLAAD award for Outstanding Digital Journalism, this emotionally compelling documentary from director Clay Cane and BET, HOLLER IF YOU HEAR ME confronts the conflict of Queer Black Christians. Followed by an enlightening post-screening discussion about the intersections of gender identity, sexual orientation, and faith.
Dir/Scr: Angela Jude, 2015, English, USA, 9 min.
A dishonorably discharged WW2 nurse, stricken by grief and crippling dementia, seeks out her beloved for one last dance. PRUDENCE was produced through OutSet: The Young Filmmakers Project from The Los Angeles LGBT Center and Outfest. Created to empower and educate LGBTQ young people to tell their stories through film, this five-month filmmaking lab is led by industry professionals and mentored by Outfest alumni. Fellows: Angela Jude, Diana McFadzean, Lauren Mok. Mentors: Jett Garrison and Tina Scorzafava
The Revival: Women, Wine, and the Word
Dir: Sekiya Dorsett, 2015, English, USA, 82 min.
The socially impactful and sexy salon gatherings of the Harlem Renaissance were conceived by Queer women of color as sacred spaces for expression, discussion and community building. Picking up the torch, “The Revival” is a travelling salon-style performance art show featuring the work of four young, gifted, Black and Queer women. This engaging documentary follows singer/songwriter Be Steadwell, poets T’ai Freedom Ford and Jonquille Rice, and poet/founder Jade Foster through a seven date tour across the US — in a minivan — as they share themselves with audiences in an honest and inspirational story told by director Sekiya Dorsett. North American Premiere.
Dir/Scr: Yasmin Al-Manaseer, 2015, English, USA, 6 min.
SPARE PARTS was produced through OutSet: The Young Filmmakers Project from The Los Angeles LGBT Center and Outfest. Created to empower and educate LGBTQ young people to tell their stories through film, this five-month filmmaking lab is led by industry professionals and mentored by Outfest alumni. Fellows: Yasmin Al-Manaseer, Arielle Saturné, David Victorino. Mentor: Andrew Ahn
Dir/Scr: Jake Witzenfeld, 2015, Arabic with English subtitles, Israel, 81 min.
Jake Witzenfeld’s ORIENTED explores the Israel-Palestine conflict through an intimate, distinctly queer lens. The film follows three gay Palestinians living in Tel-Aviv, as they seek sexual freedom in a place that embraces their queerness but challenges their strong Arab identities. Witzenfeld embeds us in the lives of these men. As the film examines one’s relationship with an Israeli Jew and another’s struggle to come out to his family, we see how they are “othered” everywhere they turn. Still, ORIENTED, like its subjects, isn’t seeking pity: the film ends on a delightfully light and hopeful note.
Dir/Scr: Angel Kristi Williams, 2015, English, USA, 11 min.
During a playdate with the most popular girl from school, Alex discovers that her feelings for her friend may be more than platonic.
Made in Bangkok
Dir. Flavio Florencio, 2015, English/Spanish with English subtitles, Thailand/Mexico, 70 min.
In this exhilarating documentary by Flavio Florencio, one can’t help but become an impassioned travel partner alongside beautiful Morganna Love in her quest for womanhood. A soprano who sings in Mexican cantinas, she enters one of the most prestigious transgender pageants in Thailand to vie for the crown of “Ms. International Queen.” With the prize money, she hopes to fulfill her lifelong dream to have sexual reassignment surgery. Feeling the pressure to win and make her wish come true, Morgana hangs tough in a journey that rivals the twists and turns found in any prime-time reality show.
Dir/Scr: Michelle Badillo, 2015, English, USA, 9 min.
Identities are confronted and generation gaps closed when an experienced drag queen catches a teenage boy stealing a pair of her heels. LADIES ROOM was produced through OutSet: The Young Filmmakers Project from The Los Angeles LGBT Center and Outfest. Created to empower and educate LGBTQ young people to tell their stories through film, this five-month filmmaking lab is led by industry professionals and mentored by Outfest alumni. Fellows: Michelle Badillo, Tomas Bukakis, Kahea Kiwaha. Mentors: Deondray and Quincy LeNear Gossfield
El Canto del Colibri
Dir. Marco Castro-Bojorquez, 2015, Spanish with English subtitles, USA, 53 min.
EL CANTO DEL COLIBRÍ is the intimate testimonial of a group of Latino immigrant fathers who find acceptance and love for their LGBTQ children in the face of personal hardship, faith, and expectations of machismo culture. Marco Castro-Bojorquez’s film is an intentionally challenging conversation between Latino fathers in the US and their LGBTQ children. EL CANTO DEL COLIBRÍ, simple in style but vital in content, is an important contribution to fighting stigma and isolation in the Latino immigrant LGBTQ community.
Dir/Scr: Roberto Fiesco, 2015, Spanish with English subtitles, Mexico, 20 min.
Desire sparks between two young men who seize the night — one an apprentice barber and the other a young man leaving for military service — in TREMULO, winner of Best Narrative Short at Outfest Los Angeles in 2015.
Dir/Scr: Michael Patrick Spillers, 2015, English, USA, 17 min.
In this rockabilly fable a Latino youth contemplates gender identity and finds an unexpected ally, to a Morrissey soundtrack. Writer/Director is a 2015 Outfest Screenwriting Lab Fellow. World Premiere.
Dir: Seith Mann, Scr: Janaya Greene, 2015, English, USA, 20 min.
Unable to hide her feelings for new girl in school, a popular cheerleader finds herself all alone when she’s suddenly outed as a lesbian.
The First Session
Dir: Ryan Logan, Scr: Fawzia Mirza, 2015, English, USA, 6 min.
A first date veers into unchartered territory with the help of an unconventional therapist and a mango.
Dir/Scr: Peter Wonsuk Jin, 2015, English, USA, 12 min
When an anime cosplaying trio lose their beautiful female centerpiece, a young man steps up and confronts his true feelings for his best friend.
Dir: Marvin Bryan Lemus, Scr: Moira Morel/Erick Castrillon, 2014, English/Spanish, USA, 12 min.
After a butch Latina dies unexepectedly, her mother is determined to bury her in a dress. But her girlfriend has other ideas… World Premiere.
House Not Home
Dir: Joshua Butler, Scr: Skyler Edge, 2014, English, USA, 15 min.
While mentoring other trans teens online, Terran, an African-American gender-fluid teenager, navigates bullying, violence, and rejection at home before finding the courage to come out.
Dir/Scr: Stephen T Gottlieb, 2015, English, USA, 4 min.
Two men find out the legacy of discrimination still lives on. World Premiere.
Dir/Scr: Carlos Ciurlizza, Scr: Mauricio Hoyos, 2014, English/Spanish with English subtitles, Peru/USA, 108 min.
Sebastian’s comfortable Los Angeles existence is thrown out of orbit when news of his mother’s deteriorating health sends him flying back to his hometown in Peru. Once there, his previous life as a closeted son seamlessly starts again. When his handsome husband Josh shows up unannounced — to the shock and disdain of his mother and her community — Sebastian must confront two vastly different cultures, both of which have profoundly informed his identity. Gracefully shot and directed, Carlos Ciurlizza’s impressive debut signals an exciting new talent to watch. Winner of the Best Screenplay Award at Outfest Los Angeles 2015.
Dir/Scr: Barney Cheng, 2015, English/Mandarin with English subtitles, Taiwan/USA, 102 min.
Danny, a Taiwanese-American man, longs to have a baby with his American partner Tate, but their attempts at surrogacy are complicated by Danny’s meddling mom, who wants to control every aspect of the process — all the way from Taipei. From legendary Taiwanese producer Li-Kong Hsu (Ang Lee’s THE WEDDING BANQUET) and Stephen Israel, producer of Outfest fave G.B.F., comes this multi-cultural comedy-drama, which takes an honest and realistic look at gay family issues in a cross-generational Taiwanese and American family.
Information on screening times HERE.