The 41st Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ+ Film Festival presented by Warner Bros. Discovery and Genesis Motor America is set from July 13 through 23, 2023; “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” to serve as Opening Night Film while “Chasing Chasing Amy” will close the festival — both films are made by trans artists, a first in the history of Outfest

By Oliver Carnay

OUTFEST, the longest running queer film festival in Los Angeles, now on its 41st edition, will take place from July 13 through July 23, and will feature Opening and Closing films made by trans artists, underlining the deep roster of trans, non-binary, and intersex talent working in the entertainment industry, as well as the diversity of trans storytelling at this moment in history.  
The 11-day film festival will open at the Orpheum Theatre with “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe,” directed by Aitch Alberto, while “Chasing Chasing Amy,” directed by Sav Rodgers, will close the festival at The Montalban Theatre. Both directors will represent as a homecoming for both of which are alumni of Outfest’s Artist Development programs.  Alberto took part in the Oufest Screenwriting Lab in 2007 and has returned to mentor young filmmakers in Outfest’s programs, while Rodgers is an alum of both OutSet – Outfest’s filmmaking lab and mentorship program for LGBTQ+ youth (16-24) to share their stories in film – and the 2021 Outfest Screenwriting Lab with his and Taylor Gates’ narrative screenplay “I Love You, Margot Robbie.”

Based on Benjamin Alire Saenz’s beloved and best-seeling young adult novel, “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” center on the friendship between two teenage Mexican-American boys in 1987 El Paso who explore a new, unusual friendship and the difficult road to self-discover.  The film stars Max Pelayo and Reese Gonzales in the lead roles, with Egenio Derbez, Eva Longoria, Veronica Falcon and Kevin Alejandro round out the cast.  The film is produced by Dylan Sellers and Chris Parker of Limelight Productions, Big Swing Productions’ Valerie Stadle, Ben Odell and Eugenio Derbez of 3Pas Studios and Lin Manual-Miranda’s 5000 Broadway Productions.  The film premiered at the 2022 International Film Festival to rave reviews and will be released by Blue Fox Entertainment in the U.S.

“Chasing Chasing Amy” will hold its World Premiere at the 2023 at the Tribeca Film Festival, follows Rodgers as he investigates the history and legacy of Kevin Smith’s 1997 indi hit “Chasing Amy,” a film that profoundly changed the trajectory of Rodgers’ life for the better.  The documentary wrestles with Chasing Amy’s complicated queer storyline, Rodgers’ own coming out process as a trans man, and the tricky intersection between devoted fandom and the tough realities of the Hollywood machine, featuring the participation of Kevin Smith, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee, Guinever Turner, and the LGBTQ+ notables including former Outfest Executive Director Christopher Racster, Andrew Ahn, Princess Weekes, Trish Bendix, and Bob Hawk.
“Chasing Chasing Amy” is a Yeehaw Pictures, Spacestation, and Professional Amateur Production produced by alex Schmider (Changing the Game, Disclosure, Framing Agnes, Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story), Carrie Radigan, Lela Meadow-Conner, Matthew C. Mills, and Sav Rodgers.  
“The power of filmmaking can inspire, uplift, and unite audiences, and this is something that our community needs now more than ever as our rights are being attached and restricted across the country,” said Damien Navarro, Executive Director of Outfest, “To Make history while we celebrate the power and the creativity of our community with these two incredible filmmakers gives us hope that our voices can encourage future generations of artists.”
Aitch Alberto, director and writer of “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, said: 
Although in many ways this moment is bigger than myself, or any individual, I feel ready to step into it as a representation of what’s possible when we refuse the naysayer.  To step into it as a representation of what is possible when we refuse to let our identity hold us back.  I stand as an example that anything is possible when we move with intention, resilience, and purpose to show that we are more than what you define us as.  How fitting to get to do it with this story, a story rooted in the invitation to see the love around us and to stand in our very truth.  I can confidently say that on Outfest’s opening I will be standing in my truth.  I’m forever grateful to this important organization and for this opportunity to celebrate.”
“Outfest has been invaluable to my development as a filmmaker, from being selected to be part of the OutSet Fellowship to the Screenwriting Lab, I can attribute so much of my film education to this organization and its people who are dedicated to supporting Queer and Trans storytellers.  For “Chasing Chasing Amy,” my directorial debut, to be chosen to play as the Closing Night film is the honor of a lifetime,” said Sav Rodgers.  “Over the last 41 years, Outfest has been a platform for so many brilliant queer films including some from our own filmmaking team.  I can’t think of a better homecoming to showcase a film that celebrates and critiques how our community has been represented over time.
Tickets and passess to Outfest Los Angeles will be available on June 20th.  Visit
Genesis motor America and Warner Bros. Discovery are the presenting sponsors of Outfest LA.  Additional sponsors include IMDb, West Hollywood Travel + Tourism Board, Gilead Sciences, Comcast NBCUniversal, Hornitos, Sony Pictures, The Flight Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, ABC7 and On The Red Carpet, APLA Health, Bank of America, UTA, Amazon and Glamazon, and West One Music Group.