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Outfest 2018 (July 12 - 22) -- recommended films to watch out for the 11-day LGBTQ festival ..
by Oliver Carnay




Here are some of the recommended films you might miss out during Outfest 2018. Date, time, and venues are also indicated.
For complete guide and festival schedule, please log on to www.outfest.org



BITTER MELON
FRI | July 13 | Harmony Gold | 7:00 PM
Director: H.P. Mendoza
USA | 100 minutes | 2018



Who knew that the insensitive way some of his Filipino-American family members treat his sexuality would be the least of Declan’s worries when he returns home for the holidays? As he and his siblings tiptoe around his freeloading brother’s volatile personality, long-buried secrets are revealed to set in motion a hilarious plan of revenge. A black comedy with heart, the latest from H.P. Mendoza (Fruit Fly) deftly explores toxic masculinity and abuse— emotional and physical—with absurdity and true empathy.

H. P. Mendoza is an American film director, screenwriter, actor, producer and musician. He is best known for his micro-budget work as screenwriter, composer and lyricist on Colma: The Musical (2006), as well as his follow-up musical and directorial debut, Fruit Fly (2010). Mendoza’s musical films have been dubbed “mumblechoral” by Steve Seid of Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Mendoza was inducted into “Essential SF” by San Francisco Film Society.


Looking For? (你找什麼?)
FRI | July 13 | DGA 1 | 9:45 PM
Taiwan | 60 minutes |
English/Mandarin with English subtitles



Director: Tung-Yen Chou. A native of Taipei, Taiwan, Tung-Yen Chou works primarily in videos and theatre. His works have been screened and performed in international festivals in New York City, Brussels, Lisbon, Lille, Dresden, Copenhagen, Seoul and Beijing. Chou is a graduate of Taipei National University of the Arts in Theatre Arts, and later attained a MA in Scenography at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in the United Kingdom. Transforming his enthusiasm in video and theater to practice, Chou founded Very Mainstream Studio in 2010.

Explore the mysteries of dating apps in this charming, infectious documentary that lays all the sexy details out on the table. Young Taiwanese filmmaker Tung-Yen Chou searches for a love of his own, as he questions gay men around the world about their intimate experiences on hookup apps. Can Grindr lead you to the love of your life? This refreshingly raw and far too relatable look into digital romance is a snapshot of the moment.


ALONE IN THE GAME
FRI | July 13 | DGA 2 | 9:30 PM
USA | 95 minutes | 2018
Pre Screening Reception: DGA Atrium 7:30 – 9:15 PM



This inspirational documentary follows a number of LGBTQ athletes, including Robbie Rogers (Major League Soccer), Layana White (NCAA basketball player), Gus Kenworthy (freestyle skier and Olympic silver medalist), Megan Rapinoe (soccer, Olympic gold medalist), and Trevor Betts, a trans high school athlete, charting their social and legal challenges within the schools, sports leagues, and within their own families, as well as their triumphs in the face of great adversity.
Director: Natalie Metzger, Michael Rohrbaugh




"SCOTTY AND THE SECRET HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD"
SAT | July 14 | DGA 1 | 1:45 PM
Director: Matt Tyrnauer
USA | 98 minutes | 2017
Post Screening Reception:
DGA Atrium | 3:30 – 5:00 PM



In Hollywood’s Golden Age, studio publicists presented movie stars as paragons of heterosexual domesticity, but behind the curtain, some beloved actors and actresses had very different proclivities. Many of these celebrity sexcapades first came to light in Scotty Bowers’ controversial book Full Service. This fascinating documentary balances juicy gossip (bolstered by expert witnesses like Gore Vidal and Liz Smith) with a compassionate look at Bowers’ life. Meet the man who pierces the veil and shines a light on the private sexual dalliances of some of cinema’s biggest stars.

Matt Tyrnauer is a director, producer, and journalist whose films include Valentino: The Last Emperor; Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, which premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival; and Studio 54, about the famed New York nightclub, which is the Opening Night Gala at Outfest Los Angeles 2018. Tyrnauer’s upcoming projects include the HBO adaptation of his Vanity Fair article “Once Upon a Time in Beverly Hills”; a docuseries on culturally significant homes for Apple; and Don’t Mess with Roy Cohn, about the Svengali behind Joseph McCarthy and Donald Trump.


CUERNAVACA
SAT | July 14 | DGA 2 | 2:00 PM
SUN | July 22 | Regal LA Live | 11:00 AM
Director: Alejandro Andrade Pease
Mexico | 89 minutes | 2017
Spanish with English subtitles



After his mother dies unexpectedly, Andy moves into the palatial residence of his strict, no-nonsense grandmother (played by frequent Almodóvar collaborator Carmen Maura) in the Mexican suburb of Cuernavaca. He finds comfort and refuge in Charly, the estate’s young gardener, who introduces him to an exciting world of danger, risk, and temptation. In this epic coming-of-age story, Andy will navigate the pain and joy that comes with grief, growing up, and finding your identity.


TRANSMILITARY
SAT | July 14 | Harmony Gold | 4:30 PM
Directors: Gabriel Silverman | Fiona Dawson
USA | 93 minutes | 2018



At the risk of being discharged and losing their livelihoods, trans service members come out to top brass at the Pentagon to challenge the transgender military ban. From 2015 to the present day, we follow four trans service members—Senior Airman Logan Ireland, Corporal Laila Villanueva, Captain Jennifer Pause, and First Lieutenant El Cook—as they fight to defend their equal right to serve their country. A 2018 SXSW Audience Award winner.

Silverman is a journalist whose work has been recognized with more than a dozen awards, including an Edward R. Murrow Award for his investigative film work, and two News & Documentary Emmy nominations. Silverman is the co-founder of SideXSide Studios and a 2017 IFP Lab fellow.

Dawson is an LGBTQ advocate, Emmy-nominated multimedia director and producer, and IFP Documentary Lab Fellow. Dawson was honored by the White House for her work as an LGBTQ Artist Champion of Change in 2015. She served on the Board of Directors for HRC and NLGJA. She is Principal of Free Lion Productions.


WE THE ANIMALS
SAT | July 14 | DGA 1 | 6:45 PM
Director: Jeremiah Zagar
USA | 93 minutes | 2018
Post Screening Reception:
DGA Atrium | 8:30 – 11:00 PM



Lovely and lyrical, this film received well-earned comparisons to Moonlight when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it earned the prestigious NEXT Innovator Award. Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Jeremiah Zagar makes his narrative debut with this adaptation of the novel by Justin Torres about three boys navigating their parents’ volatile relationship and the aftermath of their breakup. Two of the sons clearly follow in the footsteps of their macho, anger-prone father (Raúl Castillo, Looking), while the sensitive youngest, Jonah (Evan Rosado), remains close to their mother (Sheila Vand, Women Who Kill).

Exquisitely photographed by Zak Mulligan, the film captures both the beauty and terror of childhood, guiding us through the wonders of the world and the pain and confusion of marital dysfunction. Strains of Malick appear throughout, but there is nothing contrived or familiar about this achingly crafted coming-of-age tale. The entire ensemble (which also includes newcomers Josiah Gabriel and Isaiah Kristian) gives the film a raw naturalism — we feel like invisible observers as young lives unfold before us. Subtle and haunting, bursting with empathy and energy, We the Animals heralds a new chapter for a brilliant and essential storytelling talent.

Dir. Jeremiah Zagar grew up in South Philly spending most afternoons in a movie theater or wandering his local video store. Later, he started filming his hippie parents, resulting in the documentary In A Dream. His next documentary, Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart, aired on HBO in 2014. When he’s not working, Jeremiah spends his time swimming in New York City’s finest public pools.


HARD PAINT
SAT | July 14 | DGA 1 | 9:30 PM
Director: Filipe Matzembacher & Marcio Reolon
Brazil | 118 minutes | 2018
Brazilian Portuguese with English Subtitles
Pre Screening Reception:
DGA Atrium | 7:30 – 9:15 PM



Online, Pedro smears neon paint across his body for pay-per-view voyeurs hungry for his webcam erotica. IRL, he rarely sees the sun or speaks to another soul in Porto Alegre. After catching word of a rival ripping off his rainbow-colored act, he ventures from the shadows to settle their score — but finds an unlikely new friend in the process. This Berlinale Teddy Award winner conjures a dark, sensual atmosphere of alienation and discovery. We’re proud to welcome this young filmmaking duo back to the festival for the third time after their previous feature Seaside and miniseries O Ninho (The Nest).


MR. GAY SYRIA
SAT | July 14 | DGA 2 | 9:00 PM
Director: Ayşe Toprak
Turkey / France / Germany | 87 minutes | 2017
Arabic with English subtitles



Hussein is a Syrian refugee who lives in Istanbul and works as a hairstylist.
At gay support group “Tea and Talk,” Hussein and his friends discuss the issues they face in their homeland. Hoping to bring their cause international media visibility, they decide to participate in the Mr. Gay Syria competition. Writer-director Ayse Toprak’s riveting documentary shines a compassionate light on the ordeals encountered by these brave men as they face possible persecution and physical violence on a day-to-day basis.

Ayşe Toprak is a filmmaker based in Istanbul. She is fascinated in people who are pushed to the peripheries of society who have personal, vivid, compelling stories to tell. Her conviction in filmmaking comes from her wish to tell the stories of such people who she feels have different ways of looking at the world, each unique in their own ways.


THE ICE KING
SUN | July 15 | Harmony Gold | 11:30 AM
Director: James Erskine
United Kingdom | 89 minutes | 2018



Before Johnny Weir or Adam Rippon, there was John Curry. A legend on and off the ice, Curry elevated figure skating from a technical trade to a sophisticated art form with balletic grace and precision. Blending his private letters, public performances, and interviews with his closest circle, this portrait of an icon celebrates his tenacious spirit from the Olympics to Royal Albert Hall while also doubling as a document of burgeoning gay life in the 1970s and 80s.

James Erskine is an award-winning writer, director and producer. As well as directing a number of well-known UK drama series, he has a highly successful track record in feature documentaries including One Night in Turin (2010), Battle of the Sexes (2013), Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist (2014), Building Jerusalem (2015), and the upcoming Sachin (2017).


RIOT
SUN | July 15 | DGA 1 | 4:30 PM
Director: Jeffrey Walker
Australia | 106 minutes | 2017
Post Screening Reception:
DGA Atrium | 6:15 – 7:30 PM



In 1978, when the push to decriminalize homosexuality had stalled, a group of friends decide to make one final attempt to celebrate who they are. Led by a former union boss, they get a police permit and spread the word, unaware that the courage they find will finally mobilize the nation. This vivid retelling of “Australia’s Stonewall” is brought to life by a superb ensemble cast playing the real-life figures whose activist work led to the creation of the first-ever Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

For over a decade, Jeffrey Walker helmed major Australian television productions shown domestically and around the world. The “Jack Irish” TV movies, starring Guy Pearce, won Walker the Australian Academy Award for Best Direction in Television, making him the youngest-ever recipient. Walker began directing in the US in 2012 and so far has directed episodes across 11 TV series, including “Modern Family,” “Bones” and the critically-acclaimed “Difficult People,” where he directed all episodes and executive produced alongside Amy Poehler.


EVENING SHADOWS
SUN | July 15 | DGA 2 | 7:00 PM
Director: Sridhar Rangayan
India | 102 minutes | 2018
Hindi with English subtitles



While visiting his hometown in southern India, Kartik comes out to his loving mother, throwing her for a loop. Surrounded by a punitive patriarch and medieval societal norms, the duo of mother and son enters a series of nightmares, mirroring the nation’s resolve to keep its LGBTQ children in the closet. In his most nuanced and realized work yet, Sridhar Rangayan, long a champion of queer stories in India, gives us the queer film we’ve been wanting to watch with our mothers.

Sridhar Rangayan is a Mumbai-based filmmaker whose films have been at the forefront of the Indian LGBTQ cinema movement. His award winning films The Pink Mirror, Yours Emotionally, 68 Pages, Purple Skies and Breaking Free present hard-hitting social issues with warmth, compassion and humor. He has consistently strived to give a voice to social issues in India through his films, writings and public speaking for over two decades. He is also the founder and festival director of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, held in Mumbai, India every year for past 9 years.


NOVE DE NOVEMBRO
MON | July 16 | DGA 1 | 9:45 PM
Director: Lázaro Louzao
Spain | 84 minutes | 2018
Gallego with English subtitles
Pre Screening Reception:
DGA Atrium | 8:00 – 9:30 PM



It’s November 1989, and the Berlin Wall is coming down. But as Germany reunifies, Roberto and Miguel find themselves coming apart at the seams. The two look back at their ten years together — a tumultuous decade that included coming out of the closet and dealing with HIV — and come to terms with what it takes to stay together. Subtle and haunting, this moving Spanish drama skillfully explores the beautiful complexity of a long-term relationship.

Lázaro Louzao began exhibiting photography in 2006, accumulating to date eight solo and 10 collective exhibitions in different areas of the Galician and Basque regions, as well as in Mexico. He began his cinematographic journey with the shorts Los Seres Sombríos (2013), CRAC (2014), and La Luz Que No Vemos (2015), showing his works at prestigious festivals around the world. In 2016 he founded Costura Films in A Coruña, Spain, where he lives. Nove de Novembro (2018) is the first LGBT-themed feature film filmed in the Galician language and marks his directorial debut.


MALILA THE FAREWELL FLOWER
WED | July 18 | DGA 2 | 7:15 PM
Director: Anucha Boonyawatana
Thailand | 96 minutes | 2017
Thai with English subtitles



Pich and Shane are former lovers who reunite and rekindle their love, both coping with their own tragedies. Pich finds solace in creating intricate, ceremonial ornaments from folded banana leaves and white jasmine flowers, while Shane takes vows as a monk to heal from a loss. Reminiscent of fellow countryman and auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s work, this gorgeously lyrical and seductive tapestry weaves Thai traditions and Buddhist philosophy to explore love, death, and healing with tenderness and nuance.

Born in Nakhon Phanom Province, Thailand, in 1981, Anucha Boonyawatana is the founder of G-Motif Production, one of the largest video production companies in Thailand. As a transgender director, Anucha’s films always focus on gender issues in Thai society. Anucha’s thesis film Down the River, a combination of Buddhist philosophy and Thai art and a love story of a gay couple, won the Young Thai Artist Award and has been shown at several film festivals. Anucha’s first feature film The Blue Hour was selected to be in Panorama section of the 2015 Berlinale. Malila is the director’s second feature.


The Advocate Celebrates 50 Years: A Long Road to Freedom
THURS | July 19 | Samuel Goldwyn | 7:30 PM
The Advocate Celebrates 50 Years: A Long Road to Freedom
Director: William Clift
USA | 105 minutes | 2018
Post Screening Reception:
Samuel Goldwyn Theater Lobby | 9:00 – 11:00 PM

Trailer here

Narrated by Laverne Cox and with music by Melissa Etheridge, this moving documentary focuses on major events and watershed moments in LGBTQ history through never-before-seen archival footage and engaging interviews (Ricky Martin, Cleve Jones, Caitlyn Jenner, Gloria Allred, Gavin Newsom, Don Lemon, Dustin Lance Black, Margaret Cho, Armistead Maupin, and many more). Starting with the Black Cat Riots, the film covers Stonewall, the disco sexual revolution that continued from the late 60s, the AIDS crisis, marriage equality, and the trans movement to present day. We’ve come a long way, but we’ve still got a long way to go.


PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN
FRI | July 20 | DGA 2 | 7:15 PM
Director: Angela Robinson
USA | 108 minutes | 2017



Trailblazer Angela Robinson’s latest feature presents the little-known origin story of Wonder Woman. Delving into what inspired Harvard psychologist Dr. Marston (Luke Evans) to create the iconic character, the film is a study of female sexuality and desire in its exploration of the relationship between his wife Elizabeth Marston (Rebecca Hall) and their lover Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote). While the comic book was criticized for sexual perversity, it was the polyamorous relationship behind the headlines that truly defied convention.


I MISS YOU WHEN I SEE YOU
SAT | July 21 | DGA 1 | 11:30 AM
Director: Simon Chung
Hong Kong | 93 minutes | 2018
Cantonese with English subtitles



After living in Australia for a decade, Kevin returns to Hong Kong and reunites with childhood friend Jamie. Kevin confesses his affection for Jamie but is met with aloofness, spiraling him into self-sabotaging behavior. Now Jamie needs to reconcile his feelings for Kevin before he loses him forever. In this stunning tale of forbidden romance, director Simon Chung (Innocent, End of Love) takes audiences on a journey to revisit childhood nostalgia, inviting us to reminisce upon our experience of first love.

Simon Chung graduated from York University in Toronto, where he majored in film production. After returning to Hong Kong, he worked in the local film and television industry. Since 1996, he worked as an independent filmmaker. Innocent, his debut feature, premiered at the Hong Kong International Film Festival and won the NFB Best Canadian Film Award at Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. His second feature, End of Love, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2009, while his third feature, Speechless, premiered at the BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.


BELIEVER
SAT | July 21 | Harmony Gold | 2:00 PM
Director: Don Argott
USA | 101 minutes | 2018



Utah has the highest youth suicide rate in America and the largest Mormon population. For native son Dan Reynolds — frontman for the Grammy Award-winning Imagine Dragons — it’s a call to action to change his faith community from the inside out and foster policies of acceptance toward its LGBTQ members. Over the course of a year, his quest leads him and his family to create the first-ever LoveLoud Festival: a landmark music summit to amplify queer voices and save lives.


CANARY / KANARIE
North American Premiere
SAT | July 21 | DGA 1 | 9:30 PM
Director: Christiaan Olwagen
South Africa | 120 minutes| 2018
Afrikaans with English subtitles
Pre Screening Reception:
DGA Atrium | 7:30 – 9:30 PM



Drafted during apartheid by the South African Army, Johan’s love for Boy George and Depeche Mode lands him a spot in the Kanaries — the military’s traveling choir — but romance on the battlefield forces him to reckon with his long-repressed sexual identity. Examining the effects of nationalism on the soul, while also exploring the tender brotherhood among misfits, this musical comedy revels in the discovery of finding your voice and learning to fly.

Christiaan Olwagen’s film debut was in 2013 at the Silwerskerm Festival in Cape Town, with the short film Toevlug. The short won Best Director, Screenplay and Best Short Film. His feature film debut was in 2016 with Johnny is nie Dood nie. It won Best Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Screenplay, Art Direction, Music, Best Director and Best Film at the Silwerskerm Festival. It has been described by South African critics as a landmark in Afrikaans cinema. He is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa.


BAO BAO
SUN | July 15 | DGA 1 | 1:45 PM

Director: Guang-cheng Shie
Taiwan | 97 minutes | 2018
Mandarin with English subtitles
Post-Screening Celebrate Taiwan Reception: DGA Atrium



This deeply felt feature film debut by Shie Guang-cheng tells the story of Taiwanese expats Cindy and Joanne, living in London, who are about to have their first child. Their marital bliss is threatened when Cindy discovers that Joanne has promised their unborn son to another gay couple, their friends Charles and Tim. Told through an array of flashbacks, the film explores issues that affect many same-sex families, and is anchored by moving performances from Ke Huan-ru and newcomer Emma Reis.

Guang-cheng Shie was born in Erhlin, Taiwan in 1969. He graduated from the sociology department of National Taiwan University in 1992, and he graduated from London International Film School in 1999. Since then, he has shot TV ads and documentaries in Taipei. Bao Bao is his first feature film.


CALL HER GANDA
SAT | July 14 | Harmony Gold | 11:30 AM
Director: PJ Raval
Philippines / USA | 93 minutes | 2018
English/Tagalog with English subtitles



A journalist, a lawyer working pro bono, and the mother of the victim unite to stand up to U.S. imperialism and demand justice in the name of Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old trans woman murdered by a U.S. Marine in the Philippines. In the face of the gruesome facts of the case and transphobic reactions worldwide, these three women do not waiver, knowing that what is at stake is Filipino sovereignty and an end to gender-based violence. This is a visually daring and profoundly humanistic geopolitical exposé.

PJ Raval is an award‐winning filmmaker and cinematographer whose work explores the overlooked subcultures and identities within the already marginalized LGBTQ+ community. Raval’s film credits include Trinidad (Showtime, LOGO) and Before You Know It, which follows the lives of three gay senior men, described by indieWIRE as “a crucial new addition to the LGBT doc canon.” Also an accomplished cinematographer, Raval shot the Academy Award‐nominated Best Documentary Trouble the Water. He is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, 2016 Firelight Media Fellow, and a 2017 Robert Giard Fellow.


Outfest 2018 Festival trailer:
07.04.18 by OC
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