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Brielle Brilliant’s feature directorial debut Firstness starring Tim Kinsella, Spencer Jording and Caleb Cabrera snagged the U.S. narrative feature grand jury prize at Outfest, which just wrapped up a 10-day run in Los Angeles. On the documentary side, Vivian Kleiman’s No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics, an examination of LGBTQ comedy talent, won the top prize in the respective nonfiction category.
The grand jury also doled out awards to See You Then star Pooya Mohseni for best performance for “excellent portrayal of a character who simultaneously takes responsibility for their past while also honoring their true self”; best screenplay to Wes Hurley for Potato Dreams of America because of its “unique non-traditional portrayal of a gay immigrant’s transition to America and his relationship to his mother”; and a special mention for ensemble performance to Charles Busch and Carl Andress’ The Sixth Reel for “the wackiest and most entertaining ensemble of characters.”
On the international side, the narrative feature grand jury prize went to Park Kun-young’s A Distant Place; narrative feature special mention to the late Cloris Leachman for her work in Jump, Darling; best screenplay to Ümit Ünal’s Love, Spells, and All That; and best performance to Nell Barlow for her work in Sweetheart.
In the Audience Awards categories, top prize on the documentary feature side went to Andrea Meyerson’s This is Jessica, a profile of a transgender woman’s journey through a conservative Mormon childhood and serving in the Army before accepting her true identity. On the narrative feature side, Lyle Kash’s “fictional meta-critique” on trans representation, Death and Bowling, picked up top prize. The film stars Will Krisanda, Tracy Kowalksi, Faith Bryan, Leontine White Foster, Denise Turkan, D’Lo, Jessica Hogan, Kymi Kawaii and Luka Fisher.
Zeberiah Newman’s Right to Try picked up the documentary short prize for its look at casting director Jeffrey Drew’s battle with HIV and participation in a clinical trial to find a cure. The short, Newman’s directorial debut, got boosted with a bit of star power as Oscar winner Octavia Spencer signed on to executive produce prior to its Outfest debut. Other Audience Award winners include Milo Ferguson’s Jupiter & Europa for experimental short, and Jenn Ravenna Tran’s And Then for narrative short.
The U.S. narrative features jury consisted of Cowboys filmmaker Anna Kerrigan, Highland Film Group vp acquisitions Caleb Ward and Trans in Trumpland filmmaker Tony Zosherafatain. International narrative features jury members included journalist Manuel Betancourt, Los Fuertes filmmaker Omar Zuñiga Hidalgo and Palm Springs International Film Society artistic director Liliana Rodriguez. The documentary jury included Ahead of the Curve filmmaker Jen Rainin, Changing the Game producer Alex Schmider and Robert Chang, a consulting producer for America ReFramed at American Documentary, Inc.
Outfest, presented by WarnerMedia and automotive sponsor Hyundai, ran from Aug. 13-22. For the first time, the fest collaborated with IMDb on a fan ratings system that tallied votes for audience award categories. For a full list of winners across all categories, click here.
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