Six outstanding films from around the world to be released by Wolfe Video will be screening at 2015 OUTFEST
by Oliver Carnay
OUTFEST, also known as the largest LGBT film festival in California will run from July 9 through July 19 spotlighting groundbreaking films from around the world, with unforgettable events and parties. For one, I heard that the party of the summer will be at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery with the screening of "54: THE DIRECTORS CUT" and, for the first time in a decade, Lypsinka returns to Los Angeles with a pair of live performances exclusively for Outfest’s Platinum series. As always, the Opening Night Gala after-party is always a blast! In the meantime, here are some of the movies you need to watch out during the 11-day film festival. Date, time, and venue are included below ... For more info, please visit www.outfest.org
LIZ IN SEPTEMBER
International Dramatic Features
2014 - Venezuela - 92 min. - Color
(In Spanish with English subtitles)
Directed by: Fina Torres
Starring: out supermodel / actress Patricia Velasquez
Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, a sexy, groundbreaking lesbian play from the early 1980s, gets a fresh update from Venezuelan director Fina Torres. Bluefish Cove is now a Caribbean beach, where a tight-knit group of lesbian friends, lovers, and cordial exes meet every year to relax and let their guard down, without having to hide who they are. For Liz, the group's heartbreaker, the summer has a special significance, and she is determined to live it to the fullest-diving, drinking, and dancing to her heart's content. Too bad she's the only single one of the group. Then, a stranger crashes the cohort's cozy world. Eva is a troubled married woman, who joins the intimate gathering courtesy of a car breakdown. When one of the gang bets the competitive Liz a bottle of champagne that she can't get Eva into bed in three days, the game is on.
However, there's more to both women than the labels they wear, and the plot thickens as confidences are shared and secret after secret-not to mention a little skin-is revealed. Viewers will drool over both the gorgeous tropical setting and the bevy of bathing beauties who decorate the beach. Patricia Velasquez (familiar from her work on Showtime's The L-Word) is a standout as Liz, the hard-headed, motorcycle-riding seductress who secretly wonders what her legacy will be, and her cast of loving friends feels just like your own. Director Fina Torres (Celestial Clockwork; Woman on Top) artfully balances eye candy with poignancy, evoking rather than explaining the forces pushing an unlikely pair together.
Outfest Screening: Tuesday, June 12, 2:00pm, DGA 1
*Wolfe 30th Anniversary Post-Reception in the DGA Atrium
This sensitive, well-acted romantic drama puts a delicate and mature twist on the classic coming-out story. Filmed in Santiago, Chile, it follows an emotionally ill-at-ease, married architect's journey of sexual discovery, which switches into high gear after he meets an intriguing gay man.
When we first encounter successful 35-year-old Bruno (the soulful Francisco Celhay), he has just made the difficult decision to separate from his loving wife in order to sort through his feelings. His concerned family calls it a selfish choice, and the couple's young son is understandably confused and hurt by his doting dad's decision to leave, but their familial bond appears strong. After Bruno is approached to design a new architectural landmark, he is introduced to Fer (hunky livewire Matías Torres), a local tour guide with unique access to the soul of Santiago's gorgeous cityscape, both ancient and modern. This professional hookup quickly turns to flirtation and much more, complicated by the undeniable chemistry-intellectual and physical-between the handsome leads.
The grayscale of the film's title exists between the old world and the new, certainty and doubt, straight and gay. Is Bruno gay or bisexual? Is he confused or incapable of commitment? The answers turn out to be not so black-and-white. In his assured feature film debut, director Claudio Marcone reveals new and surprising depths in a midlife coming-out tale by focusing on fine-grained emotional shadings.
Outfest Screening: Saturday, June 11, 2:30pm, Harmony Gold
Friends since childhood, Brazilian teenagers Martin (Mateus Almada) and Tomaz (Mauricio Barcellos) have since grown apart. When Martin's grandfather dies, Tomaz journeys with him on a special mission to the windswept coastal town where the estranged family of his grandfather still lives. There, in an abandoned seaside house, secrets are shared, old family wounds are re-opened, and the boys are challenged to sort out for themselves the meanings of friendship, independence, and love in a suddenly adult world.
A fine supporting cast and excellent performances by attractive young stars provide the innocence and hesitancy of youth that permeate Seashore, as the onetime boyhood friends delicately explore the nature of their friendship as maturing young men. Directed by Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon (A Ballet Dialogue) with an undercurrent of erotic tension that culminates in tender and surprising ways, Seashore brilliantly defies viewer expectations with its confident, deliberate pacing and pronounced yet subtle sense of the mysterious. The spare, dreamlike narrative simultaneously withholds and provides important information while moving through elliptical surprises rife with possibilities. A unique use of sound and image conveys inner states of character, complementing Seashore's layered and elastic wintertime photography, aided by a nostalgic indie soundtrack (including a Daniel Johnston song). This quiet, haunting, and poetic work of art mirrors the viewer's own reflections, resulting in an exceptionally rewarding experience.
Director Louise Wadley and key cast will be in attendance!
Outfest Screening: Sunday, July 12, 12:30pm, Harmony Gold
To all appearances E (the stunning Mandahla Rose) leads a glamorous life as the sexy star DJ at one of the hottest clubs in Sydney, a job with perks that include her pick of the beautiful women who come to dance to her tunes. But the reality is this daughter of Lebanese immigrant parents is so closeted that she broke up with the love of her life, Trish (Julia Billington); entered into a sham marriage with fey gay best mate Matt (Brett Rogers); and even abandoned her once promising musical career as a clarinetist. When she and Matt find a duffel bag full of cash, the money seems like the ticket to a better life, but the pair are soon on the run-and on a road trip into the outback that may lead E back to the one who got away.
Writer-director Louise Wadley has fashioned a sexy Aussie crime caper that hums with suspense, flashes of humor, and second chances. E was left hollow by her decision to turn her back on her music and what might have been with Trish, all because she was afraid of being honest with her parents. On the road, she is ostensibly running from danger, but the situation forces her to confront what life in the closet has cost her. It also gives her the opportunity to make things right-that is, it will if she survives.
Set in sun-dappled Brooklyn, Naz & Maalik is, on the surface, a charming story of a couple of Black Muslim teenagers just hanging out, but it skillfully weaves weighty themes into its nonchalant narrative of two young men trying to maintain carefully constructed blinds around their sexuality. On a peaceful Friday afternoon, gregarious Maalik and unassuming Naz hustle street corners in their neighborhood selling lotto tickets and perfume-and reveling in the afterglow of a night spent together. What they don't know is at the same time they're being followed by Agent Sarah Mickell of the FBI, who is keeping an eye on the teens based on a tip from an informant. Naz and Maalik may be hiding something, but it's not what the agent suspects.
As their secrets threaten to surface, the two must decide whether or not they are going to open up about their relationship to their friends and family. Inspired by interviews with Muslims in New York, director Jay Dockendorf takes aim at gentrification and post-9/11 surveillance of Muslims, highlighting the disconnect between gratuitous notions and actual lived experience. Endearing and full of heart, the two leads (Curtiss Cook Jr. and Kerwin Johnson Jr.) hold the center of this deceptively breezy story, and impressive camerawork pulls viewers right into the action. The result is quietly affecting and shows a slice of life rarely seen onscreen.
Outfest Screening: Saturday, July 11, 1:30pm, DGA 1
Fortysomething Toronto TV producer Elsie is the kind of nice Jewish girl your mother warned you about: the serial monogamist who seems to have slept with everyone in town. She has her breakup speech memorized, she's got a cute girl in the wings (or at the coffee shop) ready for a rebound, and something about her lets you know she's only going to break your heart. When Elsie coolly cuts it off with sweet performance artist Robyn, her friends challenge her to stay single for five months-no bars, no clubs, and (for god's sake) no volunteer work. Seems easy, right? Enter hottie DJ Lolli, whose sexy intellect and love for adventure are impossible to ignore.
This clever and sophisticated Canadian dyke romcom with a bitchin' pop-punk soundtrack is at turns thoughtful and fresh-spinning a new groove into the old tune that we can't always get (back) what we want. Don't miss the hilarious scene in the pickup section of the dog park and the funniest cat funeral you've ever been to. The talented ensemble cast includes the Emmy-nominated writer and performer Diane Flacks (Elsie), Vag Halen lead singer and actress Vanessa Dunn (Lolli), and artist Carolyn Taylor (Queer as Folk) as Robyn. Co-directors/writers/producers Zeidler (Deep Lez Film Craft, Frameline32) and Mitchell have earned a Best Canadian Media Award and Tony Award between them.