Outfest FUSION QTBipoc Film Festival runs March 24 through April 2 in Los Angeles and everywhere online!

By Oliver Carnay

The 20th Annual Outfest Fusion QTBipoc Film Festival program is now available online at https://www.outfestfusion.com/schedule.  From indigenous lesbian romances to gripping political documentaries to the festival’s first Family Day, the 10-day festival is all ready to kick-off with the Opening Night celebration at the Japan American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) in downtown Los Angeles.  Throughout the festival, other venues of screenings will be held at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, Ovation Hollywood, the Japanese American Natural Museum, and The Los Angeles Theatre Center.
A spectacular Opening Night Gala at the JACCC will kick-off the festival, with the screening of some of the best short films.  Two extraordinary filmmakers: Outfest alum Elegance Bratton (The Inspection) and Bird Runningwater (Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Program) will be honored in a ceremony following the selection of shorts that truly showcases the scope and depth of Outfest Fusion talents.  From a teen comedy about queer witches hexing their bullies, to an evocative drama about a former astronaut struggling to image in motherhood after the loss of her partner, to an experimental and whimsical exploration of memory and identity — the first program of stellar shorts at the Opening Night is sure to provoke, touch, amuse and inspire.  A lively after-party with music, revelry, and drinks follows the screening outside at the JACC lot.
Here are some of the feature films I am looking forward to watch:
Sunday, March 26, 11:30 a.m. #TCL Chinese 6 Theatres (House 3)
Winner of the Grand Prix at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (Crystal Globe Competition), SUMMER OF HOPE is directed by Sadaf Foroughi, the film is a poetic exploration of Iran’s new generation as they plunge into the tension of newly discovered freedom.  Omid, a competitive swimmer who is refused into a tournament because of a misplaced letter — but when his estranged father asserts that his approval to divorce his mother is contingent on his athletic success, Omid embarks on open-water training with the help of Mani.  As the two men grow closer, accusations about their potential romantic relationship arise, eroding each family’s glossy facade. 
Sunday, March 26 at 4 p.m. at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres (House 3)
(The film is in English and Tagalog language)
This tender coming-of-age feature debut by Canadian filmmaker Joseph Amenta will delight, provoke, captivate, and break your heart. Tony, Julian and Otis are queer best friends — defiant, freewheeling, rowdy, and ready to start their summer adventures untethered by school, parental control, or the need to exhibit any inkling of care for the rebellious behaviors they chose to engage in.  These three musketeers aren’t old enough to fake entry into a nightclub, but age alone cannot stop them.  They fearlessly hatch plans knowing, no matter what, they can always crash at Dawn’s apartment, a house mother figure that has become life-sustaining, most especially for Julian.  This arrangement, however, is threatened by a mysterious incident poised to test the loyalties of everyone involved.  
Wednesday, March 29 at 8:45 p.m.
Tateuchi Democracy Forum at JANM
After being away for five-plus years to live on his terms in San Francisco, Thai Moua is called back to his family home in Long Beach to help care for his emotionally and physically ailing father.  While his visit is set out to be a temporary arrangement, he immediately faces the reality of the family structure he left, steeped in traditional Hmong values not aligned with the kind of life he wants for himself.  An ill-fated week blows open long-held secrets for everyone involved, forcing everyone to make future-impacting decisions.  This affecting and empathic feature by award-winning filmmaker Caylee So and written and starred by Doua Moua (Gran Torino, Mulan) will bring you along the ups and downs of a Hmong family at a crossroads.
For complete schedule of screenings (in theaters and online), please go to https://www.outfestfusion.com/schedule