The GLAAD Wrap: Athena Film Festival kicks off; 'Faking It' releases trailer; music from Alex Newell, Rayvon Owen

Every week, The GLAAD Wrap brings you LGBT-related entertainment news highlights, fresh stuff to watch out for, and fun diversions to help you kick off the weekend.

1) The 2016 Athena Film Festival will be held this weekend at Barnard College in New York City. The festival, which runs through Sunday is "a celebration of women and leadership in film. Notable events for the 2016 festival include out actess Kate McKinnon in coversation with Paul Feig, the director of the new Ghostbusters film. There will also be a screening of GLAAD Media Award nominee Freeheldand a masterclass with Tony-award winning Fun Home composer Jeanine Tesori. Those in the New York area can purchase tickets here.

2) MTV’s Faking It has just released the official trailer for the upcoming third season. Faking It, nominated for a GLAAD Media Award, has also announced that there will also be a transgender character on this season, Noah, played by newcomer Elliot Fletcher. Fletcher was found after MTV and the show creators launched a casting call for trans youth last year for actors who could be cast in speaking and background roles. Faking It returns March 15th at 10:30/9:30c.

3) On Monday night, Disney XD's animated Gravity Falls aired its series finale which included the reveal that two of the male characters are in love. Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durland, who had given hints of being in relationship in the past, explicitly talked about their love in the finale saying, "we're mad with power…and love!" While it is a disappointment that the scene came in the series finale, it's a positive step forward and hopefully will lead to more inclusive all ages programming.

4) In other TV news, BBC America has released the trailer for the new season of Orphan Black and announced that the season will premiere April 14, moving from Saturdays to Thursdays. Chaz Bono will guest star on CBS' daytime drama The Bold and The Beautiful as a minister in episodes airing March 31 and April 1. IO Tillet Wright, who created the Self-Evident Truths photography project, has been announced as the co-host of new series MTV Suspect which will see Wright and Catfish host Nev Schulman help people uncover truths about their family or loved ones. Canadian comedy Schitt's Creek, which airs on Pop in the U.S., has been renewed for a third season. Out comedian Fortune Feimster has been cast as a guest star for CBS’s Life in Pieces.

5) Rayvon Owen, a finalist from last year's American Idol, came out in his new video for the single “Can’t Fight It” in which he shares a kiss with real-life boyfriend Shane Bitney Crone (Bridegroom). Owen spoke with Billboard about coming out, growing up gay in a small Southern town, and religion. He says of the song, “This is the perfect song to say there’s nothing you can do about that, accept who you are, and when you love someone, that’s OK.” Check out the video below.

6) Out pop singer and actor Alex Newell released his album POWER today. Known best for his role as Unique on Glee, this is Newell's first solo EP. POWER is available on Amazon and iTunes, Newell is on tour now with Adam Lambert.

7) Beth Ditto, the out lead singer of Gossip, has launched her own fashion line for plus sized women. The collection is out now and includes a collaboration with designer Jean Paul Gaultier. Ditto says “this line is by us, for us, period.” She hopes to add fashionable flair often missing from plus-sized clothes, check out the range here.


A photo posted by Beth Ditto (@marybethditto) on

8) Filmmaker David Bobrow is making a short film out of the award-winning story Country People by Richard Hall. It tells the story of a writing who goes to a small town and teaches a class on LGBT issues following the death of his partner. Find out more at  the Country People indiegogo page here.