OUT AT THE MOVIES
For nearly two decades, FilmOut San Diego has done a stellar job of spotlighting under-the-radar, LGBT-focused cinema that may have otherwise never been seen on the big screen. And it's the annual LGBT Film Festival where patrons really have the opportunity to see those indie gems. From docs and short films, to features and foreign entries, there's a little something for everyone at the three-day fest.
"San Diego was the first film festival to accept the film," says Michiel Thomas, a first-time filmmaker whose documentary, Game Face, is one of the "Festival Spotlight" features, and is making its California debut at the festival on Saturday. Highly topical, the doc follows two athletes (transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox and college basketball player Terrence Clemens) who are coming out, and the struggles they face throughout the process. Originally from Belgium, Thomas went through a similar struggle while playing pro basketball in his home country.
"I'm gay, myself, so those two worlds growing up were very hard for me to bring together," says Thomas. "I just thought, let me make a project about this to break all these stereotypes and educate the public, because there's so much that comes with being LGBT in sports culture and in American culture in general."
Other highlights from the fest include a "Best of LGBT Shorts" showcase on Saturday, as well as foreign features throughout the weekend. Another highlight from Saturday includes Andrew Putschoegl's romantic comedy, BFFs, about two lifelong female friends who are so desperate for a vacation that they pretend to be lesbians so that they can go on a couples retreat together. Naturally, hijinks and catharses follow. Putschoegl says the film will appeal to any audience.
"The film has been tremendously well-received at both mainstream and LGBT film festivals around the world," says Putschoegl. "Our first screening in Santa Barbara was filled with local retirees and they loved it just as much as the audience at Outfest in Los Angeles. We're really excited about screening in San Diego since it'll likely be our last festival."
The festival runs from Friday, May 29, to Sunday, May 31 at The Observatory in North Park (2891 University Ave). See filmoutsandiego.com for prices and times.