Outfest, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing, showcasing and protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media, has announced its lineup for the 2016 Outfest Fusion LGBT People of Color Film Festival. Outfest Fusion, the only multicultural LGBT film festival of its kind, will be held March 4-16 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and various locations throughout Los Angeles.
Now in its 13th year, Outfest Fusion will include three days of short and feature film screenings, filmmaker Q&As, and networking events that celebrate the diversity of the LGBT community, followed by 10 filmmaking workshops. Outfest Fusion is presented by HBO. Premiere sponsors are Comcast NBCUniversal and Los Angeles County Health Department.
Emmy nominee and Golden Globe–winning director, producer and writer Nisha Ganatra (“Transparent,” Chutney Popcorn) will receive the 2016 Fusion Achievement Award, which will be presented at the Fusion Gala on Saturday, March 5.
“We have reached a moment in Hollywood’s history where the discussion on diversity has extended to the mainstream,” said Christopher Racster, Executive Director of Outfest. “For the past 12 years, Fusion has been at the forefront of showcasing filmmakers of color, and we are proud of the multiplicity of voices that have been represented at this festival.”
Outfest Fusion 2016 kicks off on Friday, March 4, with the US Premiere and 20th Anniversary screening of the digital restoration of “The Watermelon Woman,” courtesy of the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project and 13thGen. On Saturday, March 5, director and screenwriter Cheryl Dunye will host a panel discussion on the influence her classic film has had on the next generation of filmmakers.
Also on Friday evening are the Los Angeles premieres of Canadian Aboriginal drama “Fire Song,” which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and Hong Kong’s provocative “Utopians,” fresh off its North American premiere at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
The weekend of screenings includes the recent GLAAD Media Award–nominated BET documentary, “Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church,” which will be followed by an enlightening post-screening discussion about the intersections of gender identity, sexual orientation and religion; Jake Witzenfeld’s “Oriented,” a film that explores the Israel-Palestine conflict through an intimate, distinctly queer lens; and “Made in Bangkok,” an exhilarating documentary by Flavio Florencio that follows Morganna who, in her quest for womanhood, enters a prestigious transgender pageant in Thailand to vie for the crown of “Ms. International Queen.”
“This year’s Fusion program showcases 10 feature films and 20 shorts from 11 countries around the world.” said Lucy Mukerjee-Brown, Outfest’s Director of Programming. “Eight of the feature films are from first-time feature filmmakers, and 12 of the directors are female. We are thrilled to put the spotlight on these incredibly talented storytellers and to bring the many communities of Greater Los Angeles together to celebrate and support them at Outfest Fusion.”
Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the bold new voices of queer cinema with the Fusion Gala Shorts screening, which boasts four world premieres, including the rockabilly fable Whittier Boulevard,Vámonos, Counter Act, as well as the anime-inspired Robo Saints. Additional world premieres will be presented in the Fusion Doc Shorts program, including Poshida: Hidden LGBT Pakistan and Libertad.
Following the Outfest Fusion screenings, there will be a series of 10 filmmaking workshops taking place at various locations around Los Angeles, led by queer filmmakers of color and covering topics that include screenwriting, guerilla feature filmmaking, web series production, smartphone cinematography, social media marketing, editing and directing. The Instructors include award-winning filmmakers Angela Robinson, Quentin Lee, Doug Spearman, Deondray Gossfield and Quincy LeNear Gossfield.
Fusion rounds out with Fusion Finale on Wednesday, March 16th at Angel City Brewery; the evening will include the annual One Minute Movie Contest, where all the submissions will be screened and prizes awarded.
Outfest Fusion will once again include InFusion, presented by Comcast NBCUniversal, a symposium led by industry professionals, including speakers, panels, workshops and an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour at Universal Studios, the world’s largest motion picture and television studio. InFusion’s mission is to forge connections between emerging filmmakers who are LGBT people of color and established entertainment professionals in Los Angeles.