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Published on August 20th, 2013 | by Palette Magazine

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Outfest – The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival – Wrap Up

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By Melody Cade

I think I saw more films at Outfest Los Angeles than I have at any other festival, ever. There were so many amazing films, and I actually had time this year to enjoy them. I’ll start with the shorts.

International Male: The titles explains pretty much everything you would need to know about this collection of shorts. It’s good to see how the rest of the world views something, this case being the stories of gay and bisexual men. My favorite came from Sweden, On Suffocation. It looked as if were set in Iraq or Iran. It was very well done and very moving.

LOL/Girl Shorts: There was some overlap of these two programs. They put in an episode of a comedy lesbian web series called F to 7th. It was very funny and seemed like a polished television show. Girl Shorts also had a short with Marissa Tomei, you can never go wrong with Marisa Tomei.

The feature length foreign films I got to check out were: Everybody’s Got Somebody, from Mexico and Love Me Not from Hong Kong. There was a double feature from Korea also.

Everybody’s Got Somebody was well done, but the story was odd to me. It was about an adult woman dating a girl still in high school. The Korean film was very similar, but with men. Is this a trend? Barely legal teens dating emotionally stunted 30 year olds? Love Me Not had great cinematography, and was about a lesbian and gay man having a relationship.

The three best films, hands down, without question were, Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth by Pratibha Parmar, Reaching for the Moon by Bruno Barreto, and Gore Vidal: United States of Amnesia by Nicholas Wrathall.

Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth was a documentary about the Pulitzer Prize winning author. It spanned her life, her work, her way of seeing the world. Everyone should see this film.

Reaching For The Moon was a docudrama about the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Elizabeth Bishop and her time spent in Brazil with architect Lota de Macedo Soares. It paints a beautiful picture of this time period in history and of their relationship. It’s a Brazilian production with a male director. During Q&A he remarked about the women asking to many questions during production. This most likely will be his last lesbian film.

Gore Vidal: United States of Amnesia is a must see for anyone interested in American pop-political history. He had an amazing life and amazing wit. (I’m straying a bit from the sites purpose, this film didn’t have people of color in any of the main roles, but was still an amazing film I’d recommend.)

By Christina Strain

This was my first Outfest but it’s most definitely not going to be my last. The festival was well run, entertaining, and the access to the film makers blew my mind. I mean, they were just there for me to talk to and so I did and holy crap, everyone was just so incredibly nice! I really have nothing but amazing things to say about this festival and I can’t wait to attend it again next year.

Suddenly Last Summer/Going South – Dir: Leesong Hee-il or Ee-song Heeg-il
(spelling is dependent on how it’s translated to English)
Oh. My. People. There’s this interesting thing in Korean culture where romance seems to be this thing that has to be earned regardless of whether or not one of the characters is even interested. So both shorts featured protagonists that forcefully maneuvered themselves into their love interests’ lives until they basically wore them down to the point of giving in and I’ve just never been a fan of that. But personal preferences aside, both films were beautifully shot shot and the acting was fantastic. While I liked the cuter and more innocent feel of Suddenly Last Summer, Going South did leave a stronger, bolder impact on me.

The Happy Sad – Dir: Rodney Evans, Scr: Ken Urban
Based on a play of the same name, this film revolves around the complicated and interconnected sex and love lives of a handful of 20 something New Yorkers. It’s a really contemporary view on what defines relationships, sexual exploration, and loneliness which interestingly enough, sort of ends with a more traditional view than where it started. While the concept is interesting and some of the characters are compelling, I don’t know that I can connect to most of them. And while the chemistry worked with some of the pairs, it didn’t with others, so I had a hard time caring about the majority of the relationships.

Hot Guys with Guns – Dir/Scr: Doug Spearman
There are definitely hot guys with guns in this movie, check + in that department. I’d read some article describe this as “Lethal Weapon with gay guys” and I think it’s a pretty fair comparison. There were a fair number of genuinely funny moments and the script was pretty solid, but it felt a little long and I REALLY wanted more resolution between the two protagonists. I feel like that plot point was probably left open for a potential sequel but it left me feeling unsatisfied which was unfortunate.

Igloo – Dir: Diego Ruiz, Scr: Diego Ruiz, Shawn Garry
This movie had its world wide debut at Outfest and it was interesting. The story was told in a non linear way with Diego’s haircut cuing you in on what scene occurred when. The thing that struck me most about this film wasn’t really the story so much as the production design. Inside his agoraphobic psychologist’s apartment, there were real snails all over the walls, giving this inside environment a really dilapidated but outside feel which was nice.

To Heaven – Dir: Diego Prado, Scr: María Eugenia Cortajerena
To Heaven’s a simple story about a boy who has a crush on another boy, and how he navigates his way through those feelings. It’s a little slow moving and some of the camera work is a little motion sickness inducing but the payoff in the end made it all feel worth it and I left feeling giddy. I love this movie. I love this movie the way I loved my first high school crush.

Big Gay Love – Dir/Scr: Ringo Le
Cute with a refreshing message about loving people for who they are inside rather than the superficial outside staring starring Jonathan Lisecki (Gayby) who’s always a treat to watch. It’s a pretty traditional romantic comedy so you know what you’re going to get out of it going in plus you get to watch Nicholas Brendon (Buffy’s Xander) shirtless making out with men which is highly rewarding. Yes, I know that was shallow, but come on, XANDER.

Bruno & Earlene Go To Vegas – Dir/Scr: Simon Savory
I wanted to like this movie so much but the story is all over the place. I never really understood what the stakes were since most of the story lines didn’t seem to serve a real purpose, and while some of the characters were interesting, they all felt very plastic and quirky for the sake of being quirky without any real depth. If I had to really boil down what this movie was about though, I’d have to guess it’s about learning to love yourself and love/accept other people for who they are and unfortunately I can not love this movie for what it is.

Photos of the festival on Facebook

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