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Membership: Where Are All the Women?

Last year’s Women’s Soiree
Last year’s Women’s Soiree

Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival. 31 years of groundbreaking filmmaking. Stories of discovery and romance, bravery and pride. Tales of individuals and families turned inside out and remade even stronger. Over 40,000 attendees every year, kissing, cheering and shedding sequins. The biggest and best LGBT film festival in the world! (OK, we’re biased.)

We all know about Outfest Los Angeles, love it, look forward to the Opening Night Gala and All-Girl Friday at the DGA. Maybe you’ve directed or acted in a film that screened there, or cheered on a filmmaker friend during her Q&A. Maybe you met your girlfriend/fiancee/wife at one of those awesome receptions where the Absolut flowed freely.

You know that telling our stories is powerful. It changes minds, and it changes lives.

Maybe you didn’t know, however, that Outfest doesn’t have a financial fairy godmother. Arts funding in the US of A is almost as hard to find as lesbian lead characters on primetime TV. We are grateful to our corporate sponsors, but Outfest and its essential programs survive largely thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of individual donors like you.

Or…not like you. Did you know for every male-identified major donor, only 1/8 of a woman…wait…hold on…for every female-identified major donor, EIGHT guys have stepped up?

Ladyfriends, we can do better than this. Lesbian leaders of America, we need you! (That’s not Uncle Sam pointing at you, it’s Angelina Jolie.)

We realize there are a lot of places to put your charitable dollars. There are a thousand organizations putting their hands out: Environmental groups. Public radio. Animal rights, human rights, women’s rights. Children’s hospitals. The AIDS LifeCycle. (Feeling guilty yet?) All worthy causes…but we’d like you to consider how becoming an Outfest Major Donor can help transform the world for our communities, our families and loved ones, and for LGBT kids close to home and in places very far away from LA. Places where seeing a gay, lesbian or trans story can open closed minds, heal broken hearts and families, and change the trajectory of a life.

Becoming an Outfest Major Donor will make you a leader in our community. We won’t make you give any speeches. But you will instantly become part of a magnetic, super-hot cadre of women helping to grow the country’s leading LGBT arts organization, whose important programs include Outfest Fusion and the Fusion Lab, the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, OutSet, Outfest Forward, and even NewFest in NYC.

Major Donors will receive two OutPasses to this year’s Outfest Los Angeles film festival, which will get you to the front of every line, to the VIP section of every party, to every screening you and your lady care to take in (and possibly into the pants of that babe in the cocktail line. Never underestimate the power of a VIP badge.) You could spend the same amount on individual tickets and miss out on the unfettered access and grateful acknowledgement, not to mention the exclusive events scheduled throughout the year.

At our special Major Donor parties, you will meet and mingle with awesome celebrity guests who support Outfest’s goals, magnetic cultural leaders like yourself, and earnest filmmakers with interesting hair. Your tax-exempt contribution will help fund essential programs that restore historic LGBT films, support LGBT filmmakers, and aid in the creation of new narratives for the triumph of love, equality and freedom.

You will be part of changing the world…one LGBT story at a time.

Major Donors are invited to the Outfest Women’s Soiree this Sunday, April 21 from 2-6 pm at the beautiful home of comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer! Come connect professionally and personally with celebrities, filmmakers and intriguing women galore over delicious nibbles and sparkling cocktails. RSVP here to attend.

Don’t forget your company’s matching grants program! Many employers will match your charitable contribution. Double the impact, double the good karma. For more information about the benefits of being an Outfest Major Donor, click here.

To learn more about Outfest’s exciting year-round programs, click here.

If, for whatever reason, this is not the year for you to become a Major Donor, not to worry! Outfest offers several levels of membership and welcomes your involvement in any way that works for you. You can still enjoy screenings, programs and social events, and the fun and inspiration of our vibrant community. See you at Outfest!

– Kate Brandt
Outfest filmmaker alumna and proud member

National Day of Silence: You Are Not Alone

The National Day of Silence is a day of action in which students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. In honor of of this important day coming up tomorrow, Friday, April 19, we’ve come up with a list of some of our favorite films about LGBT youth. Outfest would like to show our support and remind our LGBT youth that they are not alone.

For more information visit:

Mosquita y Mari directed by Aurora Guerrero.
Studious, sweet-natured 15-year-old Yolanda feels the pressure to succeed under the eyes of her hard-working, immigrant parents. When she meets her new neighbor, the feisty and alluring, BMX-riding Mari, Yolanda’s humdrum high school routine gets a jolt. The two girls don’t have much in common on the surface but they become fast friends and their deep bond develops into a tension that neither one expected nor quite knows how to handle.

The Queen directed by Christina Choe.
Bobby, a Korean-American teenage outcast, is working at his parent’s dry cleaners on prom weekend. When the prom queen and her boyfriend, stop by with their dress and tuxedo, Bobby has his own prom to remember.

White Frog directed by Quentin Lee.
After the death of his popular brother Chaz, Nick struggles to carry on. Nick’s parents have their own problems coping with the loss, but Chaz’s best friend Randy takes Nick under his wing. As Chaz’s family comes to understand his secret life, they will be forced to reconcile the boy they thought they knew with the man he really was.

My Brother the Devil directed by Sally El Hosaini.
This moving story about two British Arab brothers in London follows Mo, a lonely, sensitive boy who idolizes his older brother, Rashid, a charismatic, well-respected member of a local gang. Aching to be seen as a tough guy himself, Mo takes a job that unlocks a fateful turn of events and forces the brothers to confront their inner demons.

Circumstance directed by Maryam Keshavarz.
In a vibrant contemporary Tehran, two beautiful teenage girls struggle for their personal freedom. Atafeh and her best friend Shireen are full of youthful exuberance and a healthy streak of rebellion as they drink, smoke and go dancing at underground parties.  When Atafeh’s brother Mehran returns from drug rehab, he embraces a new way of life and joins the Morality Police – much to the surprise of his affluent and liberal parents – and becomes increasingly obsessed with and involved in Atafeh and Shireen’s intimate relationship.

Ma Vie En Rose (My Life in Pink) directed by Alain Berliner.
Boys will be boys and girls will be girls, but one child isn’t so sure in this Belgian comedy drama. Seven-year-old Ludovic is happy, healthy, and good-natured,
but there’s a bit of a problem – he has decided that he’s a girl.

Tomboy directed by Céline Sciamma.
A little girl’s innocent deception quickly snowballs into something that gradually becomes a crucial component of her identity in this tender childhood drama.

Pariah directed by Dee Rees.
A Brooklyn teen unsuccessfully juggles multiple identities to please her friends and family.

But I’m a Cheerleader directed by Jamie Babbit.
A raucous satire that turns up the volume on the absurdity of “curing” homosexuality.  It is a swipe at so-called lesbian and gay rehabilitation camps that delivers lots of laughs
and a sexy love story.

Beautiful Thing directed by Hettie MacDonald.
In this alternately somber and witty coming-of-age drama, a pair of teenage boys growing up in a working-class neighborhood become aware of their homosexuality.

Show Me Love directed by Lukas Moodysson.
Elin and her teenage friends are growing up in small town Amal (Sweden).  Nothing ever happens until Elin makes an unexpected move–she goes to the wrong party and her life takes a new direction.  Stuck in the midsts of two love interests and a hilarious smalltown life, Elin tries to get to terms with her real self.

Bad Education (La Mala Educación) directed by Pedro Almodóvar.
A filmmaker gets a visit from an actor claiming to be an old school friend, drawing him into a twisted web of desire, revenge and murder.

Summer Storm directed Marco Kreuzpainter.
Achim and Tobi are best buds and stars of their Bavarian high school rowing team. Things are heating up between Achim and his girlfriend Sandra, but Tobi can’t seem to muster the same interest in beautiful, patient Anke. He clearly has eyes for Achim – though he doesn’t yet have the courage to name his love, even to himself. This uneasy foursome will have plenty of opportunity to mix it up at the national rowing regatta, where the delightfully familiar mainstays of adolescent drama pack on a host of unexpected additions. Most prominently, a last-minute change in the competition lineup substitutes the much-anticipated Berlin girls’ squad with an all-gay-male team that’s stacked with muscle and the last word in pride.

The Incredibly True Adventures of 2 Girls in Love directed by Maria Maggenti.
Romantic comedy about two young women from separate social backgrounds, Randy Dean a blue collar girl and the privileged Evie Roy could not be more different as they take their first tentative footstep’s into what will become a fully fledged romance.

Forgiving Heart directed by Adelina Anthony.
This throwback to the mid-’80s stays true to the music and fashion of the era and movingly captures the social pressures of high school that defy time and place.