Outfest 2019 (July 18-28) opens with Rachel Mason’s docfilm “Circus of Books” at the Orpheum Theatre, and Hannah Pearl Utt’s “Before You Know It” as closing night film at The Ace Theatre; Filmmaker Nisha Ganatra to receive Outfest Achievement Award

By Oliver Carnay

OUTFEST Los Angeles, the oldest film festival in Los Angeles and considered the preeminent LGBTQ film festival in the world will have its Opening Night at the Orpheum Theatre on July 18, 2019, with Rachel Mason’s intimate and absorbing documentary, Circus of Books, about L.A.’s legendary gay pornography emporium run by her parents, Karen and Barry Mason. The film was recently picked up by Netflix.

As a tradition, the Los Angeles based non-profit organization promoting equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBTQ stories on the screen, will give its 2019 Achievement Award recipient to Nisha Ganatrait before the screening. Ganatrait is an Emmy-nominated and Golden Globe Award-winning director, producer and screenwriter. The Achievement Award is presented, in recognition of a body of work that has made a significant contribution to LGBTQ film and media. Her most recent feature film, Late Night starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling, was picked up by Amazon Studios after debuting at Sundance Film Festival. In a time where women and people of color still make up only a fraction of directors, Ganatra is breaking barriers in both film and television as a multi award-winning female filmmaker including “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Girls,” and “Transparent,” for which she received a Golden Globe Award.

“Nisha stormed into our hearts with her Outfest Los Angles Audience Award winning film, Chutney Popcorn. Since then, she has forged a reputation as someone who matches a strong sense of vision with an openness to collaboration. Nisha has continued to use her confident artistry to create change and push at the barriers which keep women and people of color at the margins in this industry. Her latest film, Late Night, dazzled at Sundance with a $13M sale to Amazon — a testament to her work, her vision, and her vast potential,” commented Outfest’s Executive Director Christopher Racster.

The 2019 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival will close on Sunday, July 28th at The Theatre at the Ace Hotel with Hannah Pearl Utt’s Before You Know It, a quirky comedy about two sisters who discover the mother they’d long been told was dead is actually a famous soap star, starring Utt, Judith Light, Alec Baldwin, Tim Daly, Jen Tullock, Mike Colter and Mandy Patinkin. The Achievement Award Ceremony will take place at the Closing Night Gala, followed by the screening of Before You Know It.

Additional gala screenings include: Adam (U.S. Centerpiece), Ariel Schrag’s YA novel adaptation of the same name directed by Outfest alum and “Transparent” producer Rhys Ernst; Hari Sama’s Sundance hit This Is Not Berlin (International Centerpiece), set in the 1980s Mexico City queer music scene; Michael Barnett’s Changing the Game (Documentary Centerpiece) which focuses on three resilient transgender high school athletes fighting to compete as their authentic gender amidst national scrutiny; and Straight Up (Breakthrough Centerpiece), a sharp and witty Los Angeles-set comedy written/directed by and starring newcomer James Sweeney.

The Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival is eleven days of not to be missed world-class films, panels, and parties. Each summer Outfest Los Angeles screens more than 150 feature and short films to an audience more than 40,000 people.

The 2019 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival is proudly presented by HBO, a partnership that has spanned over 20 years. Grand Sponsor is AT&T. Automotive Sponsor is Hyundai. The full line-up and for tickets information, complete program schedule, please log on to www.outfest.org.