Outfest 2004 to Open With Haynes Award, "D.E.B.S." Screening
by Sandra Ogle
The 22nd-annual Outfest, the world's largest gay and lesbian film festival, will kick off this year on July 8 with "Far From Heaven" director Todd Haynes receiving the eighth-annual Outfest Achievement Award, the festival's highest honor. The award ceremony, held in the 2000-seat Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles during opening night festivities, will be followed by a screening of Angela Robinson's "D.E.B.S."
Outfest 2004, which runs until July 19, will feature 218 features, documentaries, and short films from 24 countries. Sixteen awards in three different categories -- grand jury, audience, and special programming -- will be awarded.
Festival highlights include: "Brother to Brother," a tale of a young, black, gay artist during the Harlem Renaissance; "Touch of Pink," starring Kyle MacLachlan and Jimi Mistry; "Beautiful Boxer," about a celebrated Thai kick boxer; and the documentaries "Tying the Knot" and "Freedom to Marry." Patrice Chereau, John Greyson, Werner Schroeter, and other prominent filmmakers will also be featured during the festival. Michael Mayer's much anticipated "A Home at the End of the World," starring Robin Wright Penn, Sissy Spacek, and Colin Farrell, will debut closing night.
"Outfest 2004 is one of our strongest line-ups in years," said executive director Stephen Gutwilling in a prepared statement. "From smart and pithy -- and previously undiscovered -- gems to celebrations of such known and diverse entities as "The Hunger," "Kiss of the Spider Woman," "Moulin Rouge," and "Velvet Goldmine," we've selected an eclectic, interesting, entertaining, and representational group of films that will surely delight the most discriminating of audiences."
The festival is also chock full of special programming this year, including four galas, 69 feature film programs, and five panels. The "If They Only Knew" panel will explore the trend of hiring gay directors to direct "straight" teen comedies. Todd Holland, director of "Malcolm in the Middle" and the now cancelled "Wonderfalls," Jim Fall, director of "The Lizzie McGuire Movie," and Sara Sugarman, director of "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen," are among the participating panelists.
A "Homo Horror" series celebrating emerging gay-friendly horror films will host screenings of the classic "The Hunger," "The Sisterhood," and "Make a Wish." The "Five in Focus: New Directors Spotlight" series will screen films from first-time directors. Other special screenings include the sixth-annual Home Video Gong Show, "Gigli," "Moulin Rouge," and the worldwide debut of the Walt Disney cartoon "The Three Musketeers." See www.outfest.org for more information.