"Cote D'Azur" Kicks Off Outfest Tonight in LA, Launching 10 Days of Queer Cinema in SoCal
by Brian Brooks
Outfest, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival will open its ten day event tomorrow night (Thursday) with the French comedy, "Cote d'Azur," from Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau, at the historic Orpheum theater in downtown Los Angeles. The event, Southern California's largest film festival according to organizers, will feature 232 narrative and documentary shorts and features from 28 countries. Prior to the screening of "Cote d'Azur," director Gregg Araki ("Mysterious Skin," "Totally Fucked Up") will receive the festival's ninth annual Outfest Achievement Award.
Also being honored Thursday night will be recipients of the fifth annual "Screen Idol Awards," which honor actors in a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered role in a feature film or movie for television. Among this year's winners are: Actress in a leading role, Charlize Theron ("Head in the Clouds"); actor in a leading role, Steve Sandvoss ("Latter Days"); actress in a supporting role, Lynn Redgrave ("Kinsey"); actor in a supporting role, Peter Sarsgaard ("Kinsey"). Following the screening on opening night, Outfest will host a party with food from 30 L.A. restaurants.
Two centerpieces are on tap for this year's festival, which runs July 7-18 at nine venues in Los Angeles. Writer/director Craig Chester's slapstick comedy "Adam & Steve" will screen as this year's American Centerpiece, starring Chester, Malcolm Gets, Parker Posey, and Chris Kattan, while "Unveiled," a story of an Iranian refugee living in a small town in Germany coming to grips with her love for a local woman, will be the fest's International Centerpiece.
European coming-of-age story, "Summer Storm" by writer/director Marco Kreuzpainter will screen as the Awards Night presentation. Preceding the screening of "Summer Storm" on July 17 at the Ford Amphitheatre will be the announcement of the 16 award-winners in three categories, including grand jury awards, audience awards, and special programming awards.
Outfest's slate will be divided into an array of categories. In addition to sections on men's comedy, documentary and drama as well as women's comedy, documentary and drama, film's will also screen in coming-of-age, crime/thriller, family interest, human rights/ activism, sports, transgender, and foreign language and culture sections. Among the highlights is a look at San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom's challenge to California's marriage law in "Pursuit of Quality." Mayor Newsom will attend the screening. Former televangelist Tammy Faye is the subject of "Tammy Faye: Death Defying," and she will also be present.
Hit television series "Desperate Housewives" will be the focus of the panel "Queer is Just a Frame of Mind on Wisteria Lane," featuring the series' creator Marc Cherry as well as actors, producers, writers and directors from the show. The "Gay Writers Write Hollywood" panel will include scribes Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Oscar-winner Bill Condon, Richard Day, and Dan Roos. Additionally, Outfest will host panels on "Queertoons" and "Where's the Action?" a look at plethora of action/adventure and thriller films directed by women.
Writer/director Craig Lucas' Sundance 2005 favorite "The Dying Gaul" will close Outfest July 18 at the Orpheum. The film stars Peter Sarsgaard, Campbell Scott, and Patricia Clarkson.
"The breadth and diversity of this year's festival is truly outstanding," said Outfest executive director Stephen Gutwillig in a statement. "The festival boasts 101 separate public programs -- five galas, 66 feature film programs, 17 short film programs, seven special events and six panels. We have outdoor screenings, family programs, documentaries, live performances, experimental works and a great mix of provocative events and panels. Outfest 2005 has all the markings of a terrific year."
[ For a complete schedule and more information, please visit http://www.outfest.org ]