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Outfest is prepping to roll out the red carpet for a milestone 40th annual event next month, setting Billy Porter’s directorial debut Anything’s Possible to open, horror film They/Them to close, and appearances by Kevin Bacon, Theo Germaine, Julianne Moore, Todd Haynes, Clive Barker, Big Freedia and Christine Vachon, among others.
Presented by Warner Bros. Discover and IMDb, the fest runs July 14-24 at various Los Angeles venues. Opening night, held at Downtown L.A.’s historic Orpheum Theatre, will feature Porter’s Anything’s Possible from Prime Video Original. The high school set pic follows a young trans student and her love interest as they navigate a romance during their senior year and it stars Eva Reign, Abubakr Ali, Simone Joy Jones, Kelly Lamor Wilson and Broadway star Renée Elise Goldsberry.
Opening night is shaping up to be a big evening for Porter, who, joined at the event by his cast and producer Christine Vachon, will receive a special Achievement Award from the festival for his creative contributions.
The festival also revealed it will wrap up on July 24 with a celebration at The Theater at the Ace Hotel, also in Downtown L.A., with the world premiere of John Logan’s directorial debut, They/Them, from Peacock and Blumhouse. The slasher pic, set at an LGBTQIA+ conversion camp, follows the young residents as they band together against their counselors when an unidentified killer begins claiming victims. It stars Bacon, Germaine, Anna Chlumsky, Carrie Preston, Quei Tann, Austin Crute, Monique Kim, Anna Lore, Cooper Koch and Darwin del Fabro.
Said Outfest executive director Damien S. Navarro: “We’re excited to host audiences and fans across the city to celebrate just how far queer cinema and entertainment have come. The body of work we have curated from nearly every continent, increasingly represents adventurous styles and genres — from vibrant romantic comedies, where the trans lead gets the boy, to horror films that balance the scares and the sexy.”
Also with today’s news, Outfest rolled out its roster of centerpiece screenings.
Those include a 20th-anniversary screening of Todd Haynes’ Far From Heaven with the filmmaker, Vachon and star Moore set for an in-person Q&A; Unidentified Objects starring New Amsterdam’s Matthew Jeffers in a road buddy comedy about a self-described “college-educated, homosexual dwarf” and his alien-obsessed neighbor with Jeffers, director Juan Felipe Zuleta and co-star Sarah Hay confirmed to appear; documentary centerpiece Mama Bears about a community of Christian mothers with an unwavering love for their LGBTQIA+ children with director Daresha Kyi, the film team, the org and celebrity guests set to appear; platinum centerpiece HeBGB TV, described as a “high camp tribute to late-night horror television in the vein of Elvira in which a retro cable box begins programming queer killer content into the home of a brother and sister who’ve stayed up past bedtime.”
The Platinum category also features the presentation of two inaugural awards: the Platinum Maverick Award, given to Clive Barker, and the Platinum Alchemy Maverick Award, doled out to bounce artist and filmmaker Big Freedia.
The full Outfest lineup will be released in the coming weeks. Additional sponsors for the event include AARP, Amazon Studios, Ammo Creative, CAA, Comcast NBCUniversal, Gilead, The Fight Magazine, ABC7 Los Angeles, Clear Channel Outdoor, Edge Media, KCET/PBS SoCal, Pride Media, Queerty, Rainbow Media, Los Angeles Blade, Autostraddle and Variety.
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