LGBT movie buffs will join dozens of filmmakers from around the globe when they descend upon Hollywood to laugh, cry and find inspiration during OutFest: The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Celebrating its 32nd anniversary this summer, more than 175 film screenings and dozens of parties and special events will take place between July 10-20 at this all queer film fests. As usual, there’s something for everyone, but here are the screenings, panels and galas we’re particularly excited about this year. Planning a trip to take in the festival? We’ve got recommendations for where to eat, drink and stay for you, too.
Opening Night Gala and Film (July 10)
Life Partners, starring Leighton Meester and Adam Brody focuses on two codependent best friends — one straight girl, one lesbian — and the man who comes between them. (Haven’t we all been there?) Catch a glimpse of your favorite stars and filmmakers as they sashay their way down the red carpet at the Orpheum Theater on opening night. Then, following the screening, Outfest throws a truly amazing after-party during which you can hobnob with celebs while nibbling on delicious food from over 15 participating hot spot restaurants.
Boys Shorts Program (July 12)
For many festival fans, Saturday morning is the official kickoff for OutFest. The 11 a.m. Boys Shorts Program guarantees a packed house at the Directors Guild Theater. Weho hotties, with cappuccino in hand, line up early to see the best queer-themed short films from around the world.
Inside “Looking” (July 12)
For anyone who’s ever been interested in getting inside the men from HBO’s groundbreaking series, Looking, this is your chance. Well, sort of. This panel discussion features executive producer Andrew Haigh (writer-director of the brilliant romantic drama Weekend), as well as various members of the cast and crew. We’re, ahem, looking forward to it.
Bad Movie Night with Drew Droege and Dave Holmes (July 13)
Ever wonder what a gay Mystery Science Theater would be like? Funny men Drew Droege (above) and Dave Holmes are your hosts for what promises to be the bitchiest movie night ever. Don’t expect Showgirls or even Mommy Dearest. This epic monstrosity of a movie is promised to be bigger, badder and even more awful. You have to show up to find out the title. Grab some friends and prepare yourself for an evening of trash talk and hilarity.
DOCS @ 5 (Various dates at 5 p.m.)
These dinnertime documentaries educate and enlighten and tickets are a mere $5 each. OutFest’s early-evening doc series investigates a wide range of stories about the LGBT community.
Club King (July 14)
For anyone who has ventured out into L.A. nightlife for some Full Frontal Disco or Big Fat D**k, you have Mario Diaz (pictured above in overalls) to thank for some of the down-right-dirtiest parties in Los Angeles. This revealing documentary traces 20 years of the nightlife impresario’s (night)life and how he became the Club King of Los Angeles.
The Wizard of Oz- 75th Anniversary Sing-along (July 16)
Follow the yellow brick road all the way to the Ford Amphitheater. Lions, tigers and bears (and cubs, otters and wolfs) are all invited to sing along with Dorothy and her friends as they head off to meet the wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Dual (July 17)
Imagine if indie fave Miranda July directed a lesbian version of Weekend. Intrigued? Then you need to check out Dual. The multiple award-winning film follows two woman who meet precisely at the moment when they absolutely should not have, but they are nevertheless a bit happier because they did.
Free drinks in the DGA reception area
If you have some free time between screenings and want to chat with a filmmaker or get to know that cute actor you just saw in a movie, head over to the DGA reception area. The bar is open and Absolut and Stella Artois will keep the free drinks flowing all week long.
Closing Night Gala and Film(July 20)
The Ford Theater is the perfect outdoor venue for this year’s closing night film, Space Station 76. A buzzy hit when it premiered at SXSW festival this spring, director Jack Plotnick has created a ‘70s version of the future, where personalities and asteroids collide, and which stars sexy actors Patrick Wilson as the closeted captain and Matt Bomer as an unhappily married mechanic. The night is guaranteed be out of this world!
Fortunately for out-of-towners, most of the events and screenings take place within a short distance from one another so visitors won’t be need to dash all over town. If you’re in need of places to eat, drink, sleep and be Mary (um, we mean merry) near the festival hotspots, here are a few suggestions.
Located right smack in the middle of Boys Town, the hotel (an Outfest sponsor) is mere minutes from the festival headquarters at The Directors Guild of America (DGA) on Sunset Blvd.
This exquisite boutique property serves as a gleaming West Hollywood beacon looking out over legendary Sunset Strip and offering a panoramic view of the rest of the city. It’s also walking distance — or at least a cheap cab ride — from festival headquarters at the DGA.
Located next door to the DGA, this is also hipster central due to its generous portions, but get there early as the line of OutFest attendees craving their morning caffeine buzz and a hearty breakfast often stretches down the block.
There’s an east Village-vibe with a dash of LA dirt and sleaze at this West Hollywood watering hole. Fubar delivers something devilish every day of the week. The liquor is hard and so are the men.
Los Angeles is famed for its nightlife and Outfest attendees only add to the luster and the excitement. After seeing a movie (or two) head out on the town for a nice mean and a drink (or two). You’ll understand why it’s called the City of Angels.