OutFest Los Angeles 2015: Rich Program

Outfest – the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization promoting equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBT stories on the screen – today announced its galas, including Opening and Closing Night, for the 2015 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival presented by HBO. The nation’s leading LGBT festival will be held July 9-19, 2015.

The 2015 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival will open with “Tig” – a heartfelt documentary about comedian Tig Notaro who became a media sensation and critical smash overnight after she turned her cancer diagnosis into a stand-up set.

Co-starring Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis and Louis C.K, “Tig” will screen at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles on July 9.

Additional gala screenings include: Sebastián Silva’s Berlin Teddy Award winner “Nasty Baby” starring Silva and Kristin Wiig (U.S. Dramatic Centerpiece); Winner of the World Cinema Directing Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival “The Summer of Sangaile” by Alanté Kavaïté (International Centerpiece); Golden Berlin Bear­–nominated “Eisenstein in Guanajuato” by revered auteur Peter Greenaway (International Centerpiece); the Sundance Grand Jury Prize–nominated “Best of Enemies” by Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon (Documentary Centerpiece); and Malcolm Ingram’s inspirational documentary on LGBT athletes, “Out to Win” (Documentary Centerpiece).

The 2015 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival will close on July 19 with “The New Girlfriend” – a one-of-a-kind gender-bending melodrama from the visionary mind of François Ozon, starring five-time Cesar Award nominee Romain Duris and two-time Cesar Award nominee Anais Demoustier.

“This year’s gala selections underline the fact that our community is empowered openly identifying as LGBT,” says Christopher Racster, Interim Executive Director of Outfest. “The program truly represents Outfest’s commitment to use the power of film to reflect our community; highlighting our struggles and our triumphs, and ultimately creating greater understanding and change within society.”

“We’re excited to be presenting an exceptional collection from modern masters, as well as welcoming back returning alums, and showcasing remarkable debuts,” adds Outfest Director of Programming Lucy Mukerjee-Brown. “Whether it’s celebrating the increasing visibility of LGBT athletes, or portraying contemporary social class matters, our galas are an exceptional collection of movies that showcase the complexity and timeliness of LGBT issues. This year’s filmmakers have raised the bar, exploring unique characters while also delivering a cinematic experience of the highest quality.”

The complete lineup for the 2015 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival will be announced on June 3.
The 2015 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival is proudly presented by HBO, a partnership that has spanned nineteen years. Grand Sponsors include DIRECTV, Ease Entertainment Services, and Frontiers Media. For more information about sponsorship, visit www.outfest.org/sponsor.

GALAS

Tig (Opening Night Gala) Directors: Kristina Goolsby and Ashley York

“Good evening. Hello. I have cancer,” comedian Tig Notaro famously announced in front of a stunned audience in 2012. “Is everybody having a good time?” In just 30 minutes, Notaro not only revealed her grave prognosis to the world, but she also delivered the news with a disarming mixture of humor and vulnerability. The standup set became a media sensation and critical smash overnight and, as Kristina Goolsby and Ashley York’s new documentary reveals, helped push the beloved comedian past a series of setbacks and into the limelight. Notaro was left with no choice but to turn profound pain into an ongoing punch line, both on- and off-stage. The result is an alternately hilarious and poignant window into a comedian’s process, turning her worst fears and anxieties into pure comedic gold. The film also features Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis and Louis C.K., the man who ensured Tig’s now-famous “cancer comedy” was heard by millions of appreciative listeners across the globe.

The New Girlfriend (Closing Night Gala)

Director: François Ozon

From the visionary mind of François Ozon (“8 Women,” “Swimming Pool”) comes his one-of-a-kind gender-bending melodrama, which both shocks and delights in equal measure. Steeped in suspense and indebted to the eye-popping visuals of Pedro Almodóvar, Alfred Hitchcock and Brian De Palma, “The New Girlfriend” blends the macabre with a heartfelt romance in the tale of soft-spoken Claire and her love affair with a mysterious stranger.

After mourning the loss of Laura, her childhood friend (and unrequited love), Claire comes across Laura’s husband dressed head-to-toe in his late wife’s clothes. Unsure whether his new guise is the result of foul play, she threatens to reveal David to Laura’s family. But the more time she spends with him, the more Claire becomes seduced by his beautiful new incarnation. As the two become inseparable, Claire wonders whether she is falling for David’s alter-ego, or perhaps a part of Laura’s resurrected soul.

“The New Girlfriend” pays homage to classic Hollywood cinema – from “Rebecca” to “All About My Mother” – while injecting its own brand of sensual, sometimes sinister, eroticism.

The Summer of Sangaile (International Centerpiece) Director: Alanté Kavaïté
Winner of the World Cinema Directing Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, Alanté Kavaïté’s “The Summer of Sangaile” is arguably one of the year’s most visually stunning films. It also happens to be one of the most romantic. Set against the bright summer skies of Lithuania’s countryside, the story begins with a chance meeting between two restless youths – the quiet, angst-ridden Sangaile and her polar-opposite love interest Auste, a beguiling and beautiful fashionista. Sangaile dreams of flying one of the stunt planes that speed through the clouds above her parent’s home, but her vertigo keeps her aspirations grounded. It’s only when Auste prods her to accompany a pilot’s trip that Sangaile forces herself to take a leap of faith.

Kavaïté’s film is a shot-by-shot tour-de-force. Her camera defies gravity, soaring high into the sky as well as nestling within the film’s quietest and most intimate moments. “The Summer of Sangaile” moves like a dream, transporting us into a surreal landscape where love and self-fulfillment are just a flight away.

Eisenstein in Guanajuato (International Centerpiece) Director: Peter Greenaway
“Eisenstein in Guanajuato” – which premiered to widespread acclaim at the Berlin International Film Festival – kicks dust in the face of the rickety biopic, injecting life into all things rich, wild and deliciously taboo. Revered filmmaker Peter Greenaway (“The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover”) brings out the best of his acclaimed and controversial filmmaking style in this bold and sexually explicit celebration of Sergei Eisenstein’s gay coming-of-age during what is now considered his transformative trip to Mexico during the 1930s. Temporarily free of Soviet constraints, the famed Russian director (played by Elmer Bäck) discovers his wild side upon meeting and bedding a gorgeous tour guide named Palomino (Luis Alberti, “Carmin Tropical”). What starts as a work-related trip becomes a dizzying journey into the mind of a visionary who, at the peak of his artistic power, discovers romance for the first time. The result is a wild experiment in abstract storytelling that overflows with joy and energy. Greenaway captures Eisenstein’s essence and makes his enthusiasm for art and sex our own.

Nasty Baby (U.S. Dramatic Centerpiece) Director: Sebastián Silva
Hipsters beware: “Nasty Baby” plays nice until a disturbing twist flips the film – and with it the entire quirky-cute indie canon – on its head. A certifiable shocker at the Sundance Film Festival, Sebastián Silva’s biting and provocative black comedy has already inspired both walkouts and accolades, including the prestigious Teddy Award for Best Feature at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival.

An attractive gay Brooklyn couple, Freddy (Silva) and Mo (Tunde Adebimpe, “Rachel Getting Married,” TV On The Radio), ask their best friend Polly (Kristin Wiig) to become their surrogate. As the three hipsters contemplate becoming one big progressive family, and as Freddy and his assistant Wendy (Alia Shawkat, “Arrested Development”) create what they’re convinced is a brilliant art show, signs of danger and instability, primarily from a disturbed neighbor named The Bishop, intrude upon the film’s squeaky-clean surface. Director Silva (“Magic Magic, Crystal Fairy”) cleverly shows audiences what they want to see, only to rip the rug out from under and expose – with pitch-black humor – the hypocrisy of Brooklyn’s latte-sipping elite.

Best of Enemies (Documentary Centerpiece) Directors: Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon
While violence erupted in the streets during the long hot summer of 1968, two literary giants faced off in an intellectual clash of the titans — with no holds barred. Directors Morgan Neville (the Oscar-winning “20 Feet from Stardom”) and Robert Gordon take us back to an electrifying moment in history, as the third-place ABC network took a bold step for TV news: Take ideologically opposed pundits Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley and allow them to debate the issues every night. Live. Never at a loss for words, the authors faced off with equal fervor and venom, culminating in the famous exchange in which Vidal labeled Buckley a “crypto-Nazi,” leading Buckley to respond by calling Vidal “queer” on national TV. This captivating Sundance favorite shows us what these legendary combatants had in common — both were intellectuals and failed political candidates from patrician backgrounds — mixing interviews with their friends and enemies along with Vidal and Buckley’s public and private writings (narrated by John Lithgow and Kelsey Grammer). These legendary TV battles represented both the decline of intellectual discourse in the mass media and the rise of right-vs.-left talking heads masquerading as news.

Out To Win (Documentary Centerpiece) Director: Malcolm Ingram
One of the final frontiers for LGBT visibility in this country is the locker room, and “Out To Win” celebrates the pioneers who have worked to make the world of sports a more diverse and inclusive one. Screening his fourth consecutive documentary at Outfest Los Angeles, filmmaker Malcolm Ingram (“Continental,” “Bear Nation,” “Continental”, Outfest Jury Prize–winner “Small Town Gay Bar”) takes an expansive look at out-and-proud champions, from early envelope-pushers like Billie Jean King and David Kopay through current superstars like Jason Collins and Brittney Griner to the college athletes who are defying conventions and opening minds. (When major players like Nike start a campaign celebrating sexual and gender diversity in sports, you can sense institutionalized homophobia being forced to retreat.) Mixing historical context with the ever-changing face of modern sports, Ingram introduces us to athletes from around the world who are sharing their stories, speaking their truths and making a difference.

ABOUT OUTFEST
Founded by UCLA students in 1982, Outfest is the world’s leading organization that promotes equality by creating, sharing and protecting LGBT stories on the screen. Outfest builds community by connecting diverse populations to discover, discuss and celebrate stories of LGBT lives. Over the past three decades, Outfest has showcased thousands of films from around the world, educated and mentored hundreds of emerging filmmakers, and protected more than 35,000 LGBT films and videos. Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival is eleven days of world-class films, panels, and parties.