By Sean Boelman
Outfest is one of the most important LGBTQIA+ organizations in film, and their annual festival in Los Angeles is one of the most exciting events of the year. A showcase of some of the year’s best LGBTQIA+ films — from both established and up-and-coming talent — the film is a great place for the community and allies to see stories that represent the LGBTQIA+ experience.
Many of the film’s playing at this year’s festival have been touring the festival circuit to great acclaim. Here are just a few recommendations of films that we think you shouldn’t miss if you’re attending this year’s Outfest in-person or online.
Chasing Chasing Amy
Chasing Chasing Amy is the closing night film of this year’s Outfest, fresh off its warmly-received Tribeca premiere. There truly have not been many documentaries that feel this intimate in a very long time. In the film, director Sav Rodgers explores his complex relationship with Kevin Smith’s controversial romance Chasing Amy, and how the film helped him in his journey of coming out as a trans man. It’s a great LGBTQIA+ film, but it’s also an exceptional dive into what it means to appreciate problematic art.
Egghead and Twinkie
Adapted from her award-winning short of the same name, Sarah Kambe Holland makes her debut with the ridiculously charming Egghead and Twinkie. Although the film’s a little bit scrappy, being a low-budget feature debut and all, what it has no shortage of is personality. It’s consistently funny and cute, telling a story that has undeniably familiar beats from a perspective that feels refreshing and honest. This is a film made for the younger attendees of festivals like Outfest, thus filling a worthy niche in the lineup.
D. Smith’s documentary Kokomo City took home both the Audience and NEXT Innovator awards at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, showing how much it resonated with viewers and the industry alike. Telling the story of four transgender sex workers in their own words, this is not the type of documentary that’s polished and slick — instead opting for production values that could almost be described as amateurish. However, the storytelling on display here is so captivating that it’s hard to deny the power of the film.
Rotting in the Sun
When Rotting in the Sun played at Sundance, we called it “audacious” and expected it to never be seen again because of its edgy, explicit, and dick-filled gay dark comedy. Thankfully, Mubi picked it up for a release later this year and is making a stop at Outfest to build up some buzz. If you are able to see one movie at this year’s festival, make it this. Sebastian Silva’s film remains one of the most idiosyncratic and singular to come out this year, and while some viewers may be put off by the film’s aggressive nature, it’s the type of film that you just have to see.
Outfest runs in-person in Los Angeles from July 13-23, and online from July 17-30.
The Snake Hole
Retrospectives, opinion pieces, awards commentary, personal essays, and any other type of article that isn't a traditional review or interview.