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#OutfestLA Staff Spotlights

Recommended by: Volunteer Coordinator Daniel Crooke

“Prompting walkouts at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for its sick twist in the third act, Nasty Baby is a noxious Molotov cocktail chucked through the window of faux-bohemian hipsterdom, shattering the notion that these brownstone-dwellers are truly hip to differences of class and race. What begins as an artificially inseminated relationship study metastasizes into a much darker comedy of manners, with a clamorous punch line that’s as violent as it is scathing. Director Sebastian Silva tells his stories with shaggydog flair and a keen attention to finer detail, but it’s his audacity and execution – aided by an undercutting performance from Kristen Wiig – that make this film an exhilarating rip.”

Recommended by: Programming Assistant Mel Rabineau

“Bare is anchored by powerful performances by Dianna Agron and Paz de la Huerta. However, the true magic of this film is how it queers the typical coming of age narrative. With striking shots that capture the beauty and austerity of the American Southwest, it is hard not to fall in love with this film or its heartbreakingly adrift protagonists. ”

Recommended by: Hospitality Assistant Lauren Mok

“Naomi & Ely’s No Kiss List is that awkward, cute romantic comedy that you KNOW sums up at least one of your love life experiences. Between its moments of clever comedic timing and its upbeat style, the film packs plenty of laughs while also taking gender roles in heteronormative relationships and flipping them upside down. I’m excited for this film because it’s one that audiences of all ages can enjoy and leave with a smile on their face.”

Recommended by: Outfest Forward Assistant Ajoke’ Adebesin

“Over the course of one Friday afternoon in Brooklyn, two closeted Muslim teens have their secretive lives rattled by FBI surveillance. Who wouldn’t want to see a movie like this? It’s already hard to be a young black male in America, but when you are a gay Muslim you have a whole other set of challenges you have to deal with.”

Recommended by: Corporate Relations Coordinator Amy Flower

“Jamie Babbit has another great hit on her hands. With a quirky cast of characters, she has invited us to explore the magical town of Fresno. Here, lovable and outlandish outcasts steal our hearts as they fumble to keep it together. Babbitt casts the perfect mix that brings the snarky script to life in world where the everyday, working class gal finds the worst of situations can truly bring more than you might have ever bargained for. I was thrilled to see Natasha Lyonne and Aubrey Plaza finally paired together on a project as this was the perfect fit!”

Recommended by: Office Coordinator Jessica Broutt

“I went into this film expecting a quirky coming of age/coming out story, and I definitely got a lot more than I bargained for. Seeing Chord Overstreet with a beard as well as my teen heart throb, Jake Epstein (of Degrassi: The Next Generation fame) in a cameo is well worth the price of admission. Couple all of this with a truly heart warming story about friendship, as well as some hilarious blind date moments, and it is a perfect movie to see with close friends, or someone you’re newly dating! ”

Recommended by: Office Coordinator Jessica Broutt

“I went into this film expecting a quirky coming of age/coming out story, and I definitely got a lot more than I bargained for. Seeing Chord Overstreet with a beard as well as my teen heart throb, Jake Epstein (of Degrassi: The Next Generation fame) in a cameo is well worth the price of admission. Couple all of this with a truly heart warming story about friendship, as well as some hilarious blind date moments, and it is a perfect movie to see with close friends, or someone you’re newly dating!”

Recommended by: Assistant Box Office Manager Will Tellez

“I wanted to see Everlasting Love because I was told I was going to be left turned-on and terrified; I was definitely not disappointed. Director Marçal Forés presents a gloomy world inhabited by lustful and bruting people constantly trying to feed their sexual appetites. Hauntingly shot and accentuated by a tense synth score, Everlasting Love is a slowly paced yet horrifying erotic thriller that depicts the dangers of falling in lust with someone who is definitely not good for you. Anyone looking for a suspenseful fright should definitely check out this film.”

Recommended by: Hospitality Coordinator Clay Pruitt

“This film is a beautiful journey of discovery. Set against a backdrop of Chile city-life, Director Claudio Marcone shows us a unique perspective on what it means to be in-between. The main character, Bruno, suddenly finds himself thrust into the unknown in almost every way possible – living in a new city, being separated from his wife and son, and for the first time, falling for a man. With incredible cinematography and wonderfully complex characters, I lost myself while watching this film which, ultimately, celebrates living somewhere between black and white.”

Recommended by: Executive Assistant Justine Gonzalez

“I was excited to watch While You Weren’t Looking because it sounded like a film that takes intersectional cultural identities seriously. As a multiracial, multicultural, and transgender person, I enjoy stories that showcase the complexities of traveling in between cultural lines. This film does a great job diving into the many intersecting pieces of the characters’ lives, while respecting that the cultural lines aren’t the only things that matter. I strongly recommend the film for anyone who wants to see a story that plays around with masculinity and femininity as well as class and racial politics.”

Recommended by: Programming Coordinator Ana Souza

“After standing ovations and rave reviews at its premiere at the Seattle Film Festival, The Glamour & The Squalor will have its LA Premiere at Outfest. This documentary is for anyone who loves and appreciates music, especially the kind of awe-inspiring bands that defined rock radio in the 90s. Marco Collins is the independent-minded DJ who brought the world’s attention to Nirvana, Weezer, the Prodigy, Garbage, and many more; I’m fascinated by his story of struggle, ambition, and dedication to artistic discovery, which to my mind has many parallels with programming.”

Recommended by: Trafficking Assistant Kevin Harman

“This is a fascinating and thought-provoking documentary that explores the cult of celebrity and the reality or lack thereof that surrounds it. I was drawn in by the bigger-than-life characters in this doc that was almost too surreal to be true. Must-see documentary at Outfest Los Angeles!”

Recommended by: Senior Director of Internal Affairs Susan Linn Ferris

“Come see “She’s the Best Thing In It”, Ron Nyswaner’s (Philadelphia) first docu which follows thespian Mary Louis Wilson (Tony winner, Grey Gardens). I found it fascinating, and wildly frustrating, to watch scenes with Ms. Wilson trying to teach college millennials how to lose themselves in character acting when they’ve all grown up learning how to see themselves as the center of social media – they just don’t get how to fade into the background of a character. Great insight courtesy of interviews with such actresses as Tyne Daly, Frances McDormand, Valerie Harper, Estelle Parson, and Melissa Leo. Plus some fab acting advice from the star herself. It’s a peach of a documentary for theater lovers.”

Recommended by: Senior Programmer Harry Vaughn

“Probation Time is that rare documentary that plays out as a striking drama without self consciousness or affect. Because the filmmaker’s family is used to the camera being around, they allow audiences into their deepest and darkest corners without blinking. Probation Time is the gold-standard for intimate documentaries and I’m very proud we get to present this gem at Outfest Los Angeles.”

Recommended by: Major Gifts Officer Juliette Garrison

“I am absolutely excited for everyone to see the film Parting Glances, for 3 reasons: it’s an extremely important LGBT historical film, it was the very first film archived in the OUTFEST Legacy Project in 2006, and David Fertik, one of my favorite OUTFEST Major Donors said, ‘You have to see it!’”

Recommended by: Director of Programming Lucy Mukerjee-Brown

“I’m excited about this film screening at Outfest Los Angeles because it was one of the first films I reviewed for my student magazine when I was at University. I saw it on the big screen when it came out in London, and fell head over heels in love with Todd Haynes’ movies from that day on. The Producer Christine Vachon will be at the screening with Todd Haynes himself to celebrate Killer Films’ 20th anniversary. Come and toast them with a glass of champagne after the screening!”

MEET THE FILMMAKER | Alanté Kavaité – “The Summer of Sangaile”

A conversation with Outfest Los Angeles Senior Programmer Harry Vaughn and Alanté Kavaité, the filmmaker of The Summer of Sangaile, playing as an International Centerpiece at the 2015 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival.

Harry Vaughn: You’ve crafted a gorgeous romance that just happens to be gay. But the setting of Lithuania is something new and striking for audiences. What is the situation for gay rights in Lithuania and why do you think it was an important setting for your film?

Alanté Kavaité: It was important for me to shoot in Lithuania for some emotional reasons, because I spent my childhood and teen-age years there. As the film is a lot about sensations and emotions, it was obvious for me to go back in this country with some reminiscences and it’s wild, beautiful nature as well as it’s obsession of flying. I am very happy and proud I’ve made the first Lithuanian LGBT film. It was about time! And the fight for the equal rights for the LGBT is an important one in my life. But talking about my film, my first motivations were not so much focused on this subject. Setting aside the issue of gender while highlighting the symmetry of bodies seemed indispensable in order to focus on the narrative of human beings in the making, which is at the heart of this story. I could have chosen two boys, but I couldn’t have chosen a boy and a girl – in that case, the strong boy would have helped the weak girl. The story wouldn’t have worked. Talking about the LGBT rights in Lithuania, things are moving slowly but surely. We are far away form the gay marriage, but considering that the fight lasts since 25 years (since Lithuania got it’s independence from the Soviet Union) it’s not so bad and it brings a lot of hope. Like in many countries, the situation is different between big cities and the countryside. In Lithuania, the difference is also generational. I spent 6 months there preparing and shooting a lesbian movie (everyone in the crew and around had the script) and I never had any problem or even a comment about this subject – but I was mostly with young people from Vilnius (the capital). The day of the Baltic pride in Vilnius, I saw some old religious people demonstrating against it and I thought that it will be difficult to change their mentalities. I also know that there are Lithuanian teenagers who commit suicides in the countryside because they are gay and rejected from their families. But somehow, even in France, despite the gay marriage law, the situation is not ideal and even our trailer on youtube gets some hate comments from French people. The fight goes on.

Harry: How did you get your camera to fly so high into the air? I felt I was flying throughout the film, like in a dream. Can you tell me the process and what it was like capturing so many images in the clouds?

Alanté: I wanted to shoot in between the ground where my character is stuck and the height at which the stunt planes evolve. Every time, my character feels relieved of her anguish, I wanted the audience to feel the same, almost fly. Technically, this film would have not been possible a few years ago. We used a drone with an HD camera. Again, it’s a country that is obsessed with flying objects, so it was easy to find a good crew. In total we used 12 different types of cameras and thanks to some VFX and the digital color grading, we managed to edit HD shots with 4K shots and integrate them.

Harry: The two lead actresses: their chemistry is remarkable. Are they friends in real life and what was it like for the three of you to shoot such intense and intimate scenes?

Alanté: Julija and Aisté knew each other from their teenage years. When I found out about their history, it was hard to believe. They met on the Internet, Julija is from the capital, Aisté from a small town like in the film. They had a long and strong friendship, writing to each other, spending weekends at one another’s home, their parents have met… And then they split, like it often happens at this age. Their focus had become different. And then they met again at my film’s casting.

Harry: How did you find the story for this film?

Alanté: A few years ago, I conducted several film workshops for teenagers. I thoroughly enjoyed working with them, and above all, I enjoyed filming them. At 17, on the cusp of adulthood, everything seems possible. I was greatly inspired by the open-minded and intense way in which the teenagers embraced things and expressed themselves. I was captivated by how spontaneous, free and ingenuous they were. This experience brought back feelings from my adolescence. When I was 17, like most teenagers, I was in a hurry to make choices while all the while being filled with doubt and fear. I wrote the story for The Summer of Sangaile with the guiding idea that sometimes it only takes a chance encounter with someone who helps you see yourself in a different light to overcome certain difficulties. From the writing stage I had envisioned a film that would be bright and light, even if the movie addresses adolescent unrest and self-destructive behavior, for with hindsight, obstacles that seemed insurmountable at the time are now put in their proper perspective. Yet, the joys of adolescence remain intense. Moments of fear and suffering appear to us today as necessary steps to find balance in our lives, emancipate ourselves and grow up. I wanted to make a very musical film that was also a love story with a sensorial, sensual dimension and which had a strong emotional impact. I tried to make the film I wished I had seen when I was a teenager.

The Summer of Sangaile is screening on Saturday July 18th at 7pm at the Directors Guild of America, Theater 1.

Harry Vaughn is a Senior Programmer at Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival and has previously programmed and coordinated for Outfest’s Fusion Film Festival and NewFest: New York’s LGBT Film Festival. He is also currently an Associate Programmer specializing in documentary programs for the Sundance Film Festival. He interned for the International arm of the Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program from 2011-2012 and became a screener for the Festival in 2012.  He holds a Masters in Arts Journalism from the University of Southern California as well as a BFA from Emerson College in Boston.