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Outfest 2023 Preview: What to Expect at this Year’s LGBTQ+ Film Festival

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The 41st Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ+ Festival will take place from July 13th-23rd, highlighting films and episodic titles from a diverse lineup of queer storytellers. Shall I Stream It? will be virtually covering the 11-day event, reviewing some of the movies, documentaries, and shorts. 

Here is some of what you can expect from this year’s festival.

What is Outfest?

The annual queer film festival was first held in Los Angeles in 1982. Their parent organization now hosts two film festivals (the other being the Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival), mentoring programs for LGBTQ+ filmmakers, and the Outfest Legacy Awards.

This year’s fest offers activities and screenings both in-person at various venues in LA (with the headquarters being the Director's Guild of America in West Hollywood) as well as virtually through their website. Individual General Admission tickets are $16 and centerpiece screenings are $20, while virtual screenings cost $10. The organization also offers free and subsidized passes for those facing financial barriers. 

Otherwise you can get a pass to all virtual screenings for $150 or the “Real Queer Cinema Package” for in-person showings for $350.

For a full breakdown of their pricing or to purchase tickets, go to their website here.

What to Expect at This Year’s Outfest

The opening night gala on Thursday, July 13th will feature a screening of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, a queer coming-of-age story that’s based on a young-adult novel of the same name and produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Andrew Ahn, the filmmaker behind movies such as Fire Island and Driveways will be presented with the Outfest Achievement Award.

The closing night gala on Sunday, July 23rd will screen Chasing Chasing Amy, a documentary from queer filmmaker Sav Rodgers that’s “part love letter and critique” of the famous rom-com Chasing Amy. Melissa McCarthy and husband Ben Falcone will receive the James Schamus Ally Award the same night.

Saturday, July 22nd features the 7th Annual Trans, Nonbinary, & Intersex Summit featuring a keynote from Vico Ortiz (Our Flag Means Death). From Friday, July 14th through Sunday, July 16th, Outfest will screen a series of films in its provocative and “wickedly weird” Platinum showcase that includes the queer horror romance My Animal. 

Sunday, July 23rd includes a Family Day featuring a marionette show, drag story hour, and children’s short films. 

Those attending the festival virtually can watch a selection of titles in two clusters with the first on Monday, July 17th and the second on Monday, July 24th.

Festival Highlights

Here are some more of the movies, documentaries, short films, and entries from the episodic showcase you can expect to see at Outfest in 2023:

Egghead & Twinkie (in-person and virtual)

First-time director Sarah Kambe Holland crowdfunded this coming-of-age film by using TikTok, showcasing a unique Gen Z point-of-view. It follows two best friends, a straight guy nicknamed “Egghead” and a queer girl named “Twinkie” as they take a road trip together to visit Twinkie’s secret crush.

Down Low (in-person and virtual)

A dark comedy about a recently divorced man who’s just come out of the closet (played by Zachary Quinto) and masseur twink he’s hired for a happy ending (played by Lukas Gage). This film debuted at this year’s SXSW and features Audra McDonald and Judith Light in its supporting cast.

Break the Game (in-person and virtual)

Documentary that features Legend of Zelda speedrunner Narcissa Wright, following her journey from a record-breaking gamer to a victim of cyberbullying after she comes out as trans.

Queendom (in-person)

Director Agniia Galdanova documents the artistry of Gena Marvin, a drag performance artist from Russia who uses their art as a form a protest. Check out our interview with Galdanova here.

A Guide to Not Dying Completely Alone (in-person and virtual)

Part of the Episodic Showcase, this 12-minute pilot stars comedian, actor, and writer Kevin Yee. It follows a gay Asian man who decides to make changes for the better after passing out in the bathroom at a gay bar. Check out our interview with Yee here.

Bottoms (in-person)

Irreverent, campy film about two queer high school girls who decide to start a fight club to impress the cheerleaders and lose their virginity. 

The Mattachine Family (in-person and virtual)

Nico Tortorella and Juan Pablo di Pace star in this heartfelt film about a gay couple who must adjust to life after their foster child is returned to his birth mother. 

Truth Be Told (in-person and virtual)

Documentary about the Black Church and its LGBTQ+ members. Features interviews with Billy Porter, Cedric the Entertainer, and Tamela Mann.

Fancy Dance (in-person and virtual)

Erica Tremblay’s narrative feature debut that premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It follows the story of Jax, a queer Native woman whose sister has gone missing. She fights to protect her teenage niece as she seeks answers for her sister’s disappearance. 

Big Boys (in-person and virtual)

An endearingly awkward coming-of-age film about a queer teenager who must confront his uncomfortable crush on his older cousin’s boyfriend while on a camping trip.

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Matt Davis
Matt Davis
Matt Davis is a writer, entertainment critic, and content creator that hails from the Kanas City area. He has been featured in various publications, including and CNET. As the founder of Shall I Stream It? he has helped it grow into a multi-platform media outlet that reaches over 100,000 viewers each month.
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