Hollywood’s historic double strike set the mood for the opening night for Outfest LA with powerful speeches.
Stars came out to celebrate queer creativity and honor how far we’ve come and how much further we need to still go.
In an industry that can be very isolating for queer people, and with the double strike between the WGA and SAG, the message overall last night was that we stand in solidarity as we celebrate the work of those who defied the odds and limitations that are always presented to independent creators.
The evening kicked off with a performance by Jamie Love, and the opening remarks were beautifully presented by trans icon and activist Dylan Mulvaney, who expressed that “without fear, we are infinite.” Mulvaney went on to introduce OutFest Executive Director Damian Navarro, who expressed his support for the Guild strikes. Navarro said Outfest is a festival of discovery and noted the integral role of every member of a film crew in creating that magic.
The gala honored Andrew Ahn, a Korean-American filmmaker best known for his feature Fire Island, with the Outfest Achievement Award.
In its 41st year, Outfest has continued to expand its inclusive programming to include mentorship opportunities, screenwriting labs, and development workshops for the film community at large.
This year’s festival kicked off with the premiere screening of Aristotle and Dante Discover Secrets of the Universe, directed by Outfest Screenwriting Alum Atitch Alberto.
Fans of Benjamin Alire Saenz’s YA novel sensation and newcomers to the story alike will delight in this big-screen adaptation of a truly dreamy coming-of-age romance. Aristotle and Dante, two Mexican-American teenagers living in El Paso, Texas, meet by chance one summer at the community pool and quickly click into a close-knit friendship.
The film has a dynamic cast which includes Eva Longoria, Eugenio Derbez, Veronica Falcón, Kevin Alejandro, and Isabella Gomez. Alberto took the stage and expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Outfest for the long-term mentorship of her career.
Alberto paved her path as a filmmaker and storyteller without formal training, fearing that the confines of structured learning would disrupt her instinct as an artist. This is an inspiring concept to pass on to young independent creators.
The after-party started at the Orpheum Theater bar and extended to a street carnival outdoors that featured delicious House of Love cocktails and mocktails, great food trucks including Wholly Mother Vegan burgers, and live music.
(Photos, Dan Waynick/WYNCK Media)