From the Executive Director

30 years of stories that promote equality. 30 years of building community. 30 years of inspiring artists. 30 years of changing lives. For three decades Outfest has led the charge, ensuring that stories of LGBT people are created, shared and protected…stories that depict the rich diversity of who we are as individuals, families and communities…stories that educate, entertain and inspire!

Outfest grew out of a need for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people to see ourselves reflected on screen. Since 1982 we have shown over 5,600 hundred films to audiences of a million people, but the ripple effect of our work is even larger. Films that have been developed in our labs, restored by the Legacy Project and picked up for distribution from our festivals have screened around the world, contributing to the movement for acceptance and equality of all LGBT people.

We are proud to celebrate 30 years of remarkable history, as we look toward the future and lay the groundwork for the next 30! We are expanding our reach by focusing on mentorship and education, and through our strategic partnership with NewFest in New York, beginning the process of becoming a national organization.

This anniversary is a testament to the dedication of volunteers, filmmakers, members and audiences that have been participating in Outfest for 30 years! You are the heart of Outfest. I look forward to celebrating this anniversary and many more with you!

-Kirsten Schaffer

We are proud to welcome you to Outfest 2012!

Outfest 2012 features 147 films and videos from 24 countries in 6 different venues across Los Angeles over 11 days. 86 separate public programs, 7 galas, 60 features, 13 short film programs and 12 panels and special events and countless parties and receptions!

On Thursday, July 12, Outfest 2012 launches with the presentation of the 16th Annual Outfest Achievement Award to John Waters.  Then the lights go down and Outfest 2012 swings into full cinema glory with the Los Angeles premiere of VITO, director Jeffry Schwarz’s stirring and poignant portrait of activist and film historian Vito Russo. For this historic opening Opening Night Gala, we’re moving the after-party back to its beloved outdoor venue! When the movie is over, walk right outside to one of the hottest events of the year!  Music by legendary nightlife maven, and co-creator of Dragstrip 66, DJ Paul V. (who is celebrating his own 30th Anniversary this year).

The next ten days Outfest 2012 presents something for everyone with some of the best that LGBTQ independent cinema has to offer.  Don’t miss out – order your tickets today!

In the Online Film Guide, festival programs are arranged in to these categories categories: Features (U.S. Dramatic Features, International Features & Documentary Features) Shorts, Panels and Special Events - among other sections.

About John Waters

16th Annual Outfest Achievement Award: John Waters

While most widely known as the infamous “Pope of Trash,” John Waters is a filmmaker, visual artist, author, comedian, essayist and all-around aesthete. He bridges film history between the underground efforts of Kenneth Anger, Andy Warhol and the Kuchar Brothers and contemporary Hollywood’s acceptance of queer subject matter and outrageous gross-out humor. And yes, he’s the guy who got Divine to eat dog poop.

Born in Baltimore in 1946, Waters began his show business career as a neighborhood puppeteer before branching out into cinema. Inspired by both experimental and grindhouse cinema - the Catholic Legion of Decency’s “Condemned” list gave young Waters a weekly list of must-see movies - the young auteur began assembling his “Dreamland” cast and crew for provocative shorts with titles like HAG IN A BLACK LEATHER JACKET and EAT YOUR MAKEUP.

It was Waters’ third feature, PINK FLAMINGOS, that put the director on the map as a satirist and provocateur of the highest (though some would argue “lowest”) order. It was also that film that made a superstar of Waters’ original muse, Divine, the Amazonian drag creation of the director’s childhood friend Harris Glenn Milstead. After similarly outrageous comedies like FEMALE TROUBLE, DESPERATE LIVING and POLYESTER, Waters made perhaps his most shocking move as an artist, writing and directing the PG-rated period comedy HAIRSPRAY, which would spawn Broadway and Hollywood musical versions.

Away from the camera, Waters has created art pieces that have been exhibited in museums worldwide; he’s written the brilliant essay collections CRACKPOT, SHOCK VALUE and ROLE MODELS; and he has pioneered the auteur-as-standup-comic career path with his captivating “Evening with” lectures.

Above all, both Waters and his work have been unapologetically queer, championing outsider values and personal expression in a world that rarely appreciates difference. Outfest is proud to honor this cinematic pioneer - whose varied work shows no signs whatsoever of slowing down - as part of our 30th anniversary festival.

5 in Focus

We spotlight five individuals in this year’s Outfest program as the next wave of exciting talent behind the camera and on the big screen. Their exemplary work in Outfest 2012 caught our eye, and we can’t wait to see how their careers continue to thrive.
Sally El Hosaini, Writer/Director

Sally El Hosaini is a Welsh-Egyptian screenwriter and director. Her debut feature film MY BROTHER THE DEVIL played the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it won Best Cinematography: World Dramatic. The film was also the winner of the Worldview/Sundance Impact Award at Sundance London and won Best European Film  - Europa Cinema Label Award at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival. In 2009, El Hosaini was one of Screen International’s UK Stars of Tomorrow, and she was also a fellow in the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program’s Screenwriters Lab and Directors Lab. Her short, THE FIFTH BOWL, won a regional BAFTA. Another short, HENNA NIGHT was officially selected for  the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, competed at Rotterdam and Raindance, and screened at the ICA and BAFTA. El Hosaini is also the co-writer of an Iranian-American feature film, CAMELIA.  Prior to writing and directing, she script-edited and was the specialist researcher on the BAFTA & Emmy-winning, HBO Films/BBC dramatic miniseries HOUSE OF SADDAM. Prior to that, she was a production coordinator in features and worked on several Middle East documentaries.
Michael Marius Pessah, Cinematographer

Raised in New York, Michael Marius Pessah's interest in cinematography was sparked by a chance encounter with the film PICKPOCKET. After crewing on fashion shoots, he interned at Curious Pictures and worked on staff at Nickelodeon. Two years later, he graduated from Hampshire College, where he was a Kodak Cinematography Scholarship finalist. After college, Michael began shooting commercials, features and second unit on larger films. He moved to Los Angeles to earn his MFA in Cinematography at the AFI Conservatory. Michael’s work has been shown theatrically and on HBO, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, and USA Network, and he has had the privilege of filming many extraordinary faces, including Jesse Eisenberg, Leighton Meester, Ron Silver and George Clooney. His documentary cinematography includes VIVA LA CAUSA, which was shortlisted for a 2008 Short Documentary Academy Award, and LOVE ADDICT, which played theatrically across Europe this year. JOSHUA TREE, 1951 is his third collaboration with director Matthew Mishory.
Alicia Luz Rodriguez, Actress

Alicia Luz Rodríguez was born in Santiago, Chile in 1992. She began acting at a young age and participated in several workshops at the University of Chile but otherwise has no formal training. At the age of 15, she won her first film role in Sebastián Lelio’s NAVIDAD, which premiered at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. She has since played supporting roles in films by Chilean directors like Cristián Jiménez, Matías Bize, Sebastián Silva and Rodrigo Marín. Her first leading role is in Marialy Rivas´ film YOUNG & WILD (JOVEN Y ALOCADA), which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Wu Tsang, Filmmaker/Artist

Wu Tsang is a filmmaker and artist based in Los Angeles. As a transgender second-generation Chinese-American, he explores human stories at the intersection of complex identities. His first feature film WILDNESS recently world-premiered at MoMA's 2012 Documentary Fortnight in New York and was an Official Selection at SXSW and Hot Docs (Toronto). WILDNESS was also featured with a multi-channel video installation called GREEN ROOM at the 2012 Whitney Biennial. Tsang’s short film FOR HOW WE PERCEIVED A LIFE (2012) was commissioned by the New Museum for Performa 11 and the "Ungovernables" Triennial, alongside his short film SHAPE OF A RIGHT STATEMENT (2008), which was named in Artforum’s “Best of the Year (Film)” 2010. Tsang is a 2012 Louis Comfort Tiffany Fellow and produced WILDNESS with support from Good Works Foundation, Frameline, Wexner Center for the Arts, the IFP Documentary Lab, Art Matters, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Matthew Wilkas, Actor

Matthew Wilkas is a New York City-based actor, who has made appearances on “Law & Order,” “Ugly Betty,” “Hope and Faith,” “All My Children” and “As the World Turns.” His film work includes THE BITS IN BETWEEN, the GAYBY short, CURIOUS THING, and THE NEW TWENTY. GAYBY is his first lead role in a feature. Wilkas is currently playing Flash Thompson in “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” on Broadway.