Outfest is the annual GLBT film festival in Los Angeles. The ten day event showcased hundreds of gaylesbitran films which ran the gamut from comedies (often about sex toys) to dramas (often about prison) with some dramas about sex toys thrown in for good measure. There were way too many films to cram into my dainty column so here are some highlights….
Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement was my absolute favorite. This is a documentary that chronicles the relationship of two women who were engaged in the 1960’s and got married in Canada in 2007 when they were pushing eighty. It is one of the most beautiful love stories I have ever seen.
While many gay films speak only to a gay audience, I find it absolutely incomprehensible that anyone could walk away from this film without a new respect for the gay community. May it get a massive distribution deal and be required viewing for everyone in America. In the meantime, look for it in upcoming festivals and on the Sundance Channel sometime this winter.
The Outfest Legacy Project’s mission is to preserve and restore GLBT films before these important historical archives are lost forever. One of their projects this year was the restoration of a documentary entitled Choosing Children, which was shot in 1984.
In a time where most lesbians with children had had them with a former male partner, this film shows the experience of some of the first women who were able to start families while openly gay. The non-birth mothers’ concerns about their rights ring true today and the detailed explanation of how to inseminate oneself using an artichoke jar and a plastic syringe had the audience rolling in the aisles. It is a moving and often hilarious lesson in how far we’ve come in some areas and how far we still are from our goals.
Friday the 17th was “All-Girl Friday,” featuring the full-length film And Then Came Lola (which is not to be confused with Along Came Polly, the Jennifer Aniston vehicle), and a collection of lesbian shorts.
The night was sold out a week in advance, which begs the question, if lesbian films are so popular, why aren’t there more of them? Also, why are they always about fishing or dying or prison?
Thankfully And Then Came Lola was about none of those things. It was a comedy starring Ashleigh Sumner, Jill Bennett, Cathy DeBuono, and endless black undergarments. An homage to the 1999 film Run Lola Run, this film features another athletic red-haired type racing around a city in the name of love. (Look for a full review of the film on AfterEllen.com soon.)
Like in the original, the story is played out three times with minor adjustments that cause the plot to unfold differently each time.
In this case, Lola is racing to get important photographs to her girlfriend (Bennett) who may or may not be hooking up with DeBuono’s character. Ha!
Sumner is fabulous and radiant, as are the abdominal muscles of the entire cast.
Outfest Awards were announced on Sunday the 19th. The Outfest 2009 Audience Award for Outstanding Documentary Feature Film went to Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement. Excellent news! See it.
The Grand Jury Prize for outstanding dramatic feature went to Mississippi Damned.
After the awards I caught up with producer Andrea Sperling (Itty Bitty Titty Committee, D.E.B.S., and the upcoming Mark Ruffalo project Sympathy for Delicious). Andrea was on this year’s Outfest jury and she noted an “overwhelmingly impressive amount of great female directed films.”
True enough. Now let’s remember to go see them in theaters, rent them on dvd, and do what we can to spread the word. Because if we don’t, the terrorists win.