Outfest, the 27th Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, begins tonight and features 182 films from 25 countries over the span of 11 days.
The Opening Night Gala is tonight at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles and features La Mission, a powerful film from writer/director Peter Bratt. The film stars Peter's brother, Benjamin Bratt, as Che, a former inmate and recovering alcoholic who reacts violently when he discovers his beloved son Jesse is gay.
The film premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival and the cast participated in a Q&A at the Queer Lounge, a program of GLAAD:
In related news, Variety printed an excellent article about the prominence of lesbian films at this year's Outfest:
"We have two centerpieces geared toward women, Tina Mabry's 'Mississippi Dammed' and Lucia Puenzo's 'El Nino Pas,'" says Outfest exec director Kirsten Schaffer. "And the Legacy Project gala is 'Choosing Children' (1984), which is more oriented toward lesbians. We also have Nancy Kissam's 'Drool,' which was a huge success at Slamdance this year. And there's 'Ghosted' from Monika Treut, who has a huge lesbian following."
Diversity is key at Outfest, yet it's an uphill battle for women, if only because there are always so many gay-male pics to contend with. "Any year we have the opportunity to highlight films by female directors we do," says Schaffer. Last year, "there were definitely films that were lesbian, but they tended to be international and smaller films."
Tickets are still available for numerous screenings and may be purchased at the Outfest website.