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Outfest 2013 Starts Today – 7 African Diaspora-Interest Films To Put On Your To-See List

Outfest 2013 Starts Today - 7 African Diaspora-Interest Films To Put On Your To-See List

Outfest 2013, Los Angeles’ LGBT film festival lineup features quite a few titles we’ve followed previously, and still more that we haven’t.

This year’s event starts today, July 11, and runs through the 21st, in Los Angeles. 

For Details and tickets,visit the festival website

This year’s Outfest Los Angeles, the 31st edition features 155 films, both documentaries and narrative features, from 28 countries, including films from new filmmakers, and veterans, with different sections promising an extraordinary experience. 

Over the following 7 pages, you’ll find a list of African Diaspora-interest films of note that are in this year’s lineup: 

ALICE WALKER: BEAUTY IN TRUTH

Pratibha Parmar’s documentary feature film by about writer and activist Alice Walker.

The film, which includes contributions from Danny Glover and Steven Spielberg, among others, has been in the making for some 5 years with a rough cut completed after the filmmaker was able to raise a whopping $55,000 via IndieGoGo in 2011.

The completed film made its world premier in March, as part of Women of the World Festival at Southbank Centre in London.

This film looks at key moments in the life of an artist, a self-confessed renegade and outlaw in Alice Walker, and follows the extraordinary journey of Walker from a childhood of poverty and racist violence in the segregated South, her subsequent involvement in the civil rights movement (including her historic interracial marriage), through to the release of the groundbreaking and wildly successful novel ‘The Color Purple’ and its subsequent transformation into a controversial Hollywood movie.

Read our review of the film HERE.

Check out a trailer below:

GOD LOVES UGANDA

Roger Ross Williams’ feature documentary – a journey that documents Ugandan pastors and their American counterparts who spread *God’s word* and evangelical values to impressionable millions desperate for better lives.

Inspired by his own roots in the African American Baptist church, director Williams has said, regarding the film:

“I am interested in the exploration of religion in Africa, with the goals of understanding and healing. I am the son of a pastor, the brother of a pastor and I spent my life growing up singing in the gospel choir of my family church. I want to get to know, and comprehend African cultural views. I want to explore the Western media’s portrayal of Africa. I want to know what it is about the lives of the Ugandan people which inspires such deep faith. I want to make a film possessing complexity and depth.”

Read our review HERE.

Watch a trailer below:

THE HAPPY SAD

Rodney Evans’ sophomore effort, which will open in theaters on FridayAugust 16th at the IFC Center in NYC and at the Sundance Sunset Cinema in LA.

Rodney’s 2nd feature follows two young couples in New York – one black and gay, one white and heterosexual – who find their lives intertwined as they create new relationship norms, explore sexual identity, and redefine monogamy.

The film’s cast includes: LeRoy McClain (The History Boys), Sorel Carradine (The Good Doctor), Charlie Barnett (Gayby, Chicago Fire), Cameron Scoggins (Lovers), Maria Dizzia (Martha Marcy May MarleneLouie), Sue Jean Kim (Bachelorette), Jamie Harrold (Erin BrockovichThe New Tenants – 2010 Academy Award Winner – Best Live Action short), and Michael Nathanson (Side Effects, Time Freak – 2012 Academy Award Nomination – Best Live Action short).


One that we haven’t covered on this site yet….

HOT GUYS WITH GUNS

Handsome, reckless Pip gets drugged and robbed at an orgy. Danny, his
sexy but sensible ex-boyfriend, is an actor taking a private
investigator class—he’s up for a part on a cop show. There’s still a
strong sexual and emotional tension between them that builds as they
investigate a series of robberies and murders at the sex parties of rich
and powerful gay men. With the help of Jimmy, a seenit- all PI, they
play a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a ruthless killer, finding
plenty of laughs along the way. Writer-director Doug Spearman, a 2009
Outfest Screenwriting Lab fellow for the HOT GUYS WITH GUNS screenplay,
premieres an eagerly-awaited action-comedy near and dear to Outfest.


Trailer follows below:

BAYOU MAHARAJAH

From director Lily Keber comes the feature documentary, Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker which explores the life, times and music of James Booker, the legendary New Orleans performer who Dr. John proclaimed “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.”

The project recently raised over $18,000 in completion and music rights costs, en route to its premiere. Here’s more from the filmmaker from that campaign:

Booker’s genius defies easy explanation. He is, first and foremost, one of America’s finest piano players. Period. Booker combined his classical training with an encyclopedic knowledge of music and filtered this through a singular take on that distinct New Orleans blend of funk, gospel, blues, R&B, gutbucket, and street syncopations. He never played the same set twice. His off-the-cuff medleys could blend a Rachmaninoff tune with Sinatra, dip into some Fats Domino, take a detour through the Afro-Caribbean roots of New Orleans and end up in the first-row pew of a Catholic church. Dr. John told me that Booker is the only guy he ever knew who would play a song with every verse in a different key.

The film includes Interviews with: Harry Connick, Jr.Hugh LaurieDr. JohnAllen Toussaint, Irma ThomasCharles NevilleCosimo MatassaHarry Connick Sr.Joe BoydBunny MatthewsRon CucciaJoshua PaxtonTom McDermottReggie ScanlanRonald MarkhamGeorge Winston, and countless others.

Nate Kohn is its producer.

BORN THIS WAY

Directors Shaun Kadlec and Deb Tullmann head just northwest of Uganda with Born This Way, a feature documentary on the lives of gays and lesbians in Cameroon, and seek to make it clear that the worldwide struggle for tolerance and equality still has a long way to go.

Here’s a synopsis:

Like everywhere else in the world, gays and lesbians in Cameroon seek refuge in the city. The two young gay men in this film are crazy about Rihanna and Lady Gaga, who has been a gay icon since her hit song ‘Born this way’. But the tolerance Lady Gaga sings about is just a dream for them. In their country, homosexual relations are subject to punishment of up to five years in prison, and it is almost impossible to come out to your own family. This film describes both the impossible and the possible. The filmmakers’ unobtrusive proximity to their protagonists has yielded conversations in which their interlocutors discuss their longing for a love life they are forbidden to have. Alice Nkom is a lawyer and human rights activist fighting to protect the rights of gays and lesbians. Thanks to her, there is quiet hope and small niches can be discerned where there is something akin to a life not based upon self-denial.

As someone who lived in Cameroon for 2 years, when I was a kid, I can’t say that homosexuality was ever talked about – at least not publicly (at the time anyway – this was in the early 1980s); but I think we all knew of gay and lesbian men and women in the country. I just don’t recall if it was something that was publicly discussed, or considered taboo.

I remember hearing stories of this guy, or that girl, but it wasn’t clear to me as a kid, based o all I heard and read, if it was something I was supposed to be repelled by or embrace. I was only there for 2 years, and it was a long time ago, so it could be that, during that period, I was more consumed with just growing up – regular kid’s stuff (I was a bit of an outsider); so I wasn’t paying full attention to the lives of others or what was being said about them.

But a long time has passed since then, and it appears not much has changed… or it could be that gay and lesbian men and women are more open about their sexuality now, compared to the early 80s, and so the country can’t just “pretend” homosexuality doesn’t exist anymore.


DEEPSOUTH

From director Lisa Biagiotti, comes a feature documentary described as follows…

deepsouth is a documentary about the new American South, and the people who inhabit its most quiet corners. Beneath layers of history, poverty and now soaring HIV infections, four Americans redefine traditional Southern values to create their own solutions to survive. Josh, a college student, seeks the support of an underground gay family miles away from his suffocating Mississippi Delta hometown. With no funds and few resources, Monica and Tammy try tirelessly to unite reluctant participants at their annual HIV retreat in rural Louisiana. Kathie, an Alabama activist, spends 120 days a year on the road fighting a bureaucracy that continues to ignore the South.

The film won the SHOUT! LGBT Best Documentary Feature Award at the Sidewalk Film Festival and the Best Domestic Documentary and Audience Favorite Awards at the Outflix Film Festival.

It continues to tour the festival, lecture, and screening series circuit.

Watch the atmospheric trailer for deepsouth, which looks like a must-see, below:

Again, Outfest 2013 runs July 11-21 in Los Angeles. 

For Details and tickets,visit the festival website.

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