Outfest and Film Independent announce inaugural 'United In Pride' digital film festival

Outfest has partnered with Film Independent’s Project Involve for its inaugural United in Pride digital film festival, running from June 11 to 28, 2020. As a precursor to Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQIA+ Film Festival (August 20 - 30), United in Pride is an inclusive platform that celebrates, elevates, and amplifies the voices of LGBTQIA+ filmmakers, storytellers, and creators. The festival will feature exclusive conversations featuring LGBTQIA+ filmmakers and creators of color, a collection of feature-length + short films by LGBTQIA+ filmmakers, curated playlists of queer cinema, and much more. 

“Considering these unprecedented times, Outfest has reflected on how it rises to serve the needs of our community during Pride,” says Damien S. Navarro, Outfest’s Executive Director. “United in Pride is a program that stems from our Outfest Always On initiative.  By leveraging our new Vimeo-backed digital platform and partnerships like Film Independent, we significantly increase the opportunities for filmmakers and audiences to discover one another.  Expanding access to queer people of color and trans artists and their stories directly aligns with the Outfest mission to create visibility for diverse LGBTQIA+ stories and empower storytellers, building empathy to drive meaningful social change.”

"Film Independent stands United in Pride to highlight the work of our Project Involve Fellows," said Josh Welsh, Film Independent's President. "For almost 30 years, Project Involve has fought for filmmakers from communities that have faced inequity, injustice, and exclusion in the film industry – people of color, LGBTQIA+, women, and people with disabilities. Joining forces with Outfest and THR/Billboard, we bring our voices together as one in support of such great talent."



Outfest Industry Chat with Effie Brown, Elegance Bratton, and Chester Algernal

Friday, June 12 at 5:30 pm PT

Simulcast live @Outfest on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. 

Recording available to the public immediately after.


In July 2019, Outfest Los Angeles hosted the World Premiere of Elegance Bratton’s remarkable documentary, Pier Kids: The Life, a years-in-the-making effort about the queer and trans youth living at New York City’s Christopher Street Pier. It has since had a successful run on this film festival circuit, but distribution remains elusive. Bratton is joined by his producer, Chester Algernal, in a discussion with award-winning Producer and CEO of film financing fund Gamechanger Effie Brown (Dear White People) about the origins of the film, the industry’s response to films and projects that center queer Black life, and how Pier Kids undoubtedly speaks to this current moment when systemic racism, police violence toward the Black community, and the solutions necessary to address those issues are the focal point of an urgent national conversation.



Pier Kids

Pier Kids: The Life (2019)

Through dance halls and police-filled streets, Elegance Bratton spent three years at 

NYC’s Christopher Street Pier documenting its community of queer and trans kids of color. The resulting raw, immersive film captures the spirit of this new generation living on the edge of homelessness with bold visual style. By elevating stories like that of central figure Krystal LaBeija, a young trans woman named for the ballroom legend, Bratton crafts a transcendent narrative around these still hopeful, vibrant youth.

Director: Elegance Bratton, Producer: Chester Algernal, Featuring: Cheetah Revlon, Desean Irby, Krystal Labeija Dixon, Anniyah Balenciaga, Jusheem Casper Thorne
Available to watch Thursday, July 11 - Wednesday, July 17th at outfest.org/unitedinpride


LIVE Q&A with Elegance Bratton, Chester Algernal, and subjects from the film.

Wednesday, June 17th at 5:30 pm PT

Simulcast @Outfest on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. 

Audience participation encouraged!



Program 1: I’ve Got Something to Tell You

A collection of shorts in which queer protagonists navigate honest communication with their friends, family, or partners.

Engaged (2019)

An LGBT comedic drama that follows Darren, who keeps trying – and failing – to propose to his boyfriend Elliot. When their relationship is put into an uncomfortable spotlight during a friend’s outrageous engagement party, Darren realizes he actually might be self-sabotaging himself due to unresolved insecurities about his sexuality.

Writer/Director: David Scala, Producers: Chester Gordon Algernal, Marzy Hart, Daniel Ornitz, Carrie Radigan, David Scala, Cinematographer: Jesse Coyote Sanchez-Strauss, Editor: David Scala

The Fish Curry (2017)

Twenty-something Lalit fuses the coming out process to his parents by cooking his father’s favorite fish curry.

Writer/Director: Abhishek Verma, Producers: Abhishek Verma, Jayesh Bhosale, Executive Producer: Piyush Priyadarshi Sikarwar Editor: Antariksh Jain

Ladies Day (2018)

Amma’s day at the salon is full of sheen spray, gossip, and laughter, but how will she deal with the casual homophobia?

Writer/Director: Abena Taylor-Smith, Producer: Loran Dunn, Executive Producers: Carolina Giammetta, Solomon Nwabueze, Paul Ashton, Cinematographer: Rachel Clark, Editor: Rachel Durance

Lucky (2019)

Lucky devises a plan to be able to afford taking her girlfriend to prom, while hiding the relationship from her longtime best friend.

Writer/Director: Lydia Lane, Producers: Juliette Beneich, Vanessa Branch, Valentino Misino, Executive Producer: Brianna Nix, Cinematographer: Mikaela Addison, Editor: Shay McCleavy

The Real Thing (2017)

A soldier returns home to meet his daughter, who transitioned while he was on tour.

Writer/Director: Brandon Kelley, Producers: Brandon Kelley, Jon Gestal,  Executive Producers: Christie Gestal, Jamie Law, William Kelley, Lori Kelley, Cinematographer: Greta Zozula, Editor: Taylor Levy

Sweetheart Dancers (2018)

A Two-Spirit couple rewrites the rules of Native American culture through their participation in the Sweetheart Dance: a celebratory contest held at powwows across the country only for straight couples, until now.

Director: Ben-Alex Dupris, Producers: Ben-Alex Dupris, Heather Rae, Executive Producers: Rahdi Taylor, Davis Guggenheim, Cinematographer: Shaandiin Tome, Editor: Derek Doneen


Program 2: Living Your Truth

A collection of shorts dedicated to our queer family who dedicate themselves to living  out, proud, and authentically, no matter the roadblocks thrown in their path.


Drip Like Coffee (2019)

Drip Like Coffee is an intimate portrait of a Black woman whose desire for her female co-worker complicates her relationship with her boyfriend.

Writer/Director/Editor: Anaiis Cisco, Producer: Nicolas Jara, Cinematographer: Andres Gallegos


Flourish (2019)

Flourish follows 5 characters at a queer dance party and drag club. A seasoned drag queen struggles to disentangle from an unhealthy relationship juxtaposed with the abandon of young queers in love discovering nonmonogamy. The stories swirl together as the magic of a queer dance party pulls us in and the transformative power of drag allows us to break free.

Writer/Director: Heather María Ács, Producer: Vanessa Haroutunian, Executive Producer: Silas Howard, Cinematographer: Sarah Tricker, Editor: Tom Knight


Gavin Grimm vs. (2016)

In this empowering short documentary, high school student Gavin Grimm becomes the face of transgender civil rights while he prepares to take the bathroom bill all the way to the Supreme Court.

Director: Nadia Hallgren, Producer: Lauren Cioffi,  Executive Producers: Charlotte Cook, Loira Limbal, Stanley Nelson, Laura Poitras, AJ Schnack, Marcia Smith, Cinematographer: Nadia Hallgren, Editors: Erin Casper, Nathan Punwar


My Gay Sister (2017)

On a roadtrip to the Norwegian Fjords, 10-year-old Cleo is full of questions about her older sister’s lesbian relationship.

Writer/Director: Lia Hietala, Producers: Stefan Henriksson, Lia Hietala, Karin Stenwall Co-Producer: Håkon B. Toft, Cinematographer: Karin Stenwall, Editor: Lia Hietala


Ode to Pablo (2019)

A young, queer deaf man holds his ground against the neighborhood boys on the basketball court.

Writer/Director: Adelina Anthony, Producers: Adelina Anthony, Marisa Becerra, Cinematographer: Leah Anova, Editor: Adelina Anthony


Out Again (2017)

Cat visits her parents with her partner Liz for the weekend and is confronted with her mother’s inability to remember one key detail.

Writer/Director/Producer: Robin Cloud, Cinematographer: Yessica Curiel Montoya, Editor: Iris Rodrigo


Outfest OutSet Shorts 

These films were produced via Outfest’s OutSet: The Young Filmmakers Project, which each year in partnership with the Los Angeles LGBT Center selects a diverse group of young filmmakers - ages 16 - 24 - for a 6-month intensive filmmaking lab.


Victory Boulevard (2018)

In the heat and haze of a Van Nuys summer, two teenage boys discover an unexpected connection.

Writer/Director: Johnny Alvarez, Producer: Ash Aron Lavacca, Cinematographer: Colin Oh, Editor: Asher Lewis


My Mother’s Orphan (2014)

Maria, a 60-year-old devout Catholic mother is growing blind. As her sight declines, her lesbian daughter Lucha, a clumsy and shy 27-year- old photographer, pleads for her mother to move in so she can take care of her. When Maria refuses to move in until Lucha recognizes that she is NOT gay, Lucha must decide between rejecting her identity and her partner whom she lives with or rejecting her mother. While making her decision, Lucha prepares a photography project in order to show her mother she can't change.

Writer/Director: Melissa Perez, Producer: Francisco Sanchez, Production Design: Ki McLeod


Promise Me a Lie (2012)

The plot centers on a Mexican high school student who defies his culture by falling for a Salvadorian student, who is experiencing love for the first time.

Director: Alexandra Grey, Writer: Danny Hernandez, Producer: Shaka Walker


Protected (2019)

A young skater and older gentleman discuss life, community, and activism while getting tested at a HIV clinic.

Writer/Director: Sal Rubio, Producer: Sav Rodgers, Production Designer: Kelsey Jones


Prudence (2015)

Prudence, an elderly lady and recent widow, has shut out the world, convinced there is nothing left worth living for. One day she receives an invitation to the home’s Veteran’s Day Dance from her deceased wife. With a wandering mind and aching soul, she sets out to see her wife, and by doing so, lives again.

Writer/Director: Ocean Vashti Jude, Producer: Alexander Mok, Production Designer: Diana McFadzean


Outfest Queerantine List

Outfest’s Programming team devised a comprehensive, diverse list of LGBTQ content available on popular streaming platforms to watch while remaining home and responsibly social distancing, available here.




Film Independent Coffee Talk with John Cameron Mitchell and Gus Van Sant

These two icons of the New Queer Cinema movement Gus Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho, Elephant, Milk) and John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Shortbus, Shrill) come together for a thought-provoking and inspiring conversation.


The conversation will be available on Friday, June 12. 


Film Independent’s Project Involve Shorts

A collection of short films made in Film Independent’s mentorship program Project Involve, chronicling the lives of LGBTQIA+ individuals who fight for love, acceptance and respect.  


Care (2016)

Rose, in an assisted living facility and deeply aware of the passage of time, unexpectedly falls for another resident, Bea; but with her memory failing, she reflects on this love before she forgets entirely. 

Director: April A. Wilson, Writer: Donna Choo, Producer: Zoe Sua Cho, Cinematographer: Isiah Donté Lee,  Editor: Sara Pellegrini  


Get The Life (2016) 

A transgender teenager faces an unwanted pregnancy and risks losing everything he loves in order to live courageously. 

Director: Ozzy Villazon, Writer: Adelina Anthony, Producer: Sue-Ellen Chitunya, Cinematographer: Simu Feng, Editor: Franzis Muller 


La Gloria (2019)  

In the days following her suicide attempt, a queer lovelorn teen finds connection and solace with her abuela through the secret language of dreams. 

Director: Mary Evangelista, Writer: Stephanie Adams-Santos, Creative Executive: Amy Ma, Producers: Apoorva Charan, Adanne Ebo, Gia Rigoli, Cinematographer: Lorena Durán, Editor: Sunghwan Moon 


Robo Saints (2015)

Cosplaying serves as a metaphor for the heroic courage needed to express one’s identity as well as one’s emotions when a gay male cosplayer dresses up as a female anime character to win the heart of his best friend, whom he’s harbored a secret crush for a long time. 

Writer/Director: Peter Wonsuk Jin, Producer: Jorge Garcia Castro, Cinematographer: Moira Morel, Editor: Robert Lee 


Vamonos (2015) 

When Mac, a young butch Latina dies, her girlfriend Hope must overcome both personal grief and homophobic hostilities in order to respectfully send Mac off. 

Director: Marvin Bryan Lemus, Writers: Moira Morel and Erick Castrillon, Producer: Carlos Garza, Cinematographer: Moira Morel


You’re Dead To Me (2013) 

Andrea, a grieving Chicana mother, confronts an uninvited family member before her Día de los Muertos celebration. By night’s end, death offers her a choice that she couldn’t make in life. 

Director: Wu Tsang, Writer: Adelina Anthony, Producer: Melissa Haizlip, Cinematographer: Michelle Lawler


Film Independent Playlist 

Film Independent celebrates Pride Month and Black Lives Matter by spotlighting nine favorite Black LGBTQIA+ content creators, which is available here.