FILMOUT San Diego is back (September 9 – 12, 2021) with new venues, in person and virtual screenings

By Oliver Carnay

FILMOUT San Diego is returning with in-person and virtual screenings more than a year and a half after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The 4-day festival will kick-off September 9th (Thursday) with the Opening Night film “Firebird” from Estonia, directed by Peeter Rebane and stars Tom Prior, to be held at the new venue, The NAT (San Diego National History Museum) at Balboa Park.

Blending a Cold War thriller and a true story of a secret love, director Peeter Rebane’s Firebird begins with the steamy passions of young gay romance in an environment where expressing it is deadly. Tom Prior (The Theory of Everything) stars as Sergey, an Estonian military private awaiting the end of his duty in the Soviet air force in the late 1970s. He falls for the dashing officer Roman (Oleg Zagorodnii), arousing suspicions as they hide their romance from their fellow officers. The pair soon realize that pursuing a clandestine affair, let alone openly declaring their love, means risking their safety, Roman’s career in the Soviet military, and their relationship with their most beloved friend from the academy, Luisa (Diana Pozharskaya). Co-written by Prior and Rebane, Firebird is a gripping, and cinematically beautiful, story of love and freedom thwarted by an oppressive regime during a harrowing time, detailing the human costs of living an authentic life. Based on a true story.

The rest of the in-person screenings will be held at the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) at Balboa Park including Sunday’s Closing Night Film “Jump, Darling” from director Phil Connell.

Half-prepped before a dressing room mirror in the back of a bustling city gay bar, Russell (Thomas Duplessie), an actor turned drag queen, struggling to find his voice, is given a wrenching ultimatum. Overcome by indecision, he escapes to his grandmother’s house in the country. There he finds sardonic Margaret (Cloris Leachman, in her final starring role) in steep decline. In a perfect, if precarious, solution for both of them, he moves in to protect her from her greatest fear—the local nursing home. In no time, Russell is lighting up the local college bar with his alter ego Fishy Falters. Antagonized by his overprotective mother (Linda Kash), a sexy-though-mysterious college boy, a cockney city gay bar owner, and the specter of his failed-artist grandfather, Russell struggles to realize a bold new identity. All while, Margaret fights to retake control despite her faltering mind.


Not to be missed from the line-up are the four films under the Virtual Features which are available starting September 9 (12AM PDT): “Beyto,” a Turkish only son falls in love with his swimming coach; “Isaac,” two friends meet 16 years after they left high school; “On The Fringe of Wild” is the story of two runaway teen-agers desperate to escape their toxic family situation crossed path and finds romantic discoveries. And lastly, “That Cold Dead Look In Your Eyes” (Tes Yeux Mourants) from director Onur Tukel.

To browse other films featured, and to order tickets, please go to