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Outfest presents opening and closing evening films by trans filmmakers for the first time


Outfest has listed the opening and closing films.

The Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival — scheduled for July 13-23 and presented by Warner Bros. Discovery and Genesis Motor America — opens with Aitch Alberto’s Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe at the Orpheum Theater and concludes with Sav Rodgers’ Hunting for Amy at the Montalbán Theater.

The selections mark the first time in the festival’s history that both the opening and closing night films come from trans filmmakers. In addition, both Alberto and Rodgers are from Outfest’s artist development programs. Alberto joined Outfest’s screenwriting lab in 2007 and has since served as a mentor to young filmmakers in Outfest programs, while Rodgers joined Outfest’s OutSet film lab and mentorship program and screenwriting lab in 2021.

Based on Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s youth novel, Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe revolves around the friendship between two Mexican-American teenage boys in 1987 El Paso who explore a new, unusual friendship and the difficult road to self-discovery. Max Pelayo and Reese Gonzales star with Eugenio Derbez, Eva Longoria, Veronica Falcón and Kevin Alejandro rounding out the cast.

The film is produced by Dylan Sellers and Chris Parker of Limelight Prods., Big Swing Prods.’ Valerie Stadler, Ben Odell and Eugenio Derbez of 3Pas Studios and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 5000 Broadway Prods. Limelight co-financed the film with Boies/Schiller Entertainment. Zack Schiller, David Boies, Kyra Sedgwick and Meredith Bagby served as executive producers on the film along with Alberto. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and is being released in the US by Blue Fox Entertainment.

Hunting for Amywhich has its world premiere at Tribeca Festival in June, follows Rodgers as he explores the history and legacy of Kevin Smith’s 1997 indie hit chasing Amy, a movie that changed the trajectory of Rodgers’ life. It features the participation of Kevin Smith, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee, Guinevere Turner and LGBTQ+ notables including former Outfest director Christopher Racster, Andrew Ahn, Princess Weekes, Trish Bendix and Bob Hawk. Hunting for Amy is a Yeehaw Pictures, Spacestation and Professional Amateur production produced by Alex Schmider, Carrie Radigan, Lela Meadow-Conner, Matthew C. Mills and Rodgers.

A still from the movie Hunting for Amy directed by Sav Rodgers.

Thanks to Outfest 2023

“The power of filmmaking can inspire, uplift and unite audiences, and this is something our community needs now more than ever as our rights are under attack and restriction across the country,” said Damien Navarro, executive director of Outfest. “To make history while celebrating the strength and creativity of our community with these two incredible filmmakers gives us hope that our voices can encourage future generations of artists.”

On opening the party, Alberto said: “I am an example that anything is possible when we move with intention, resilience and determination to show that we are more than what you define us. How appropriate to do so with this story, one rooted in the invitation to see the love around us and to stand in our own truth. I can confidently say that I will be standing in my truth on opening night of Outfest. I am eternally grateful to this important organization and for this opportunity to celebrate.”

Rodgers said Outfest has been invaluable to his development as a filmmaker, calling the selection “the honor of a lifetime”. Rodgers added: “Over the past 41 years, Outfest has been a platform for so many brilliant queer films, including some from our very own film team. I can’t think of a better homecoming to show a movie that celebrates and critiques how our community has been represented over time.

offside tickets and passes are available from 20 June.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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