It takes two Bratts to kick-start Outfest

Festival will get under way with 'La Mission'

Outfest 2009, the 27th Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, will kick off July 9 with Peter Bratt's "La Mission" at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. The film stars the director's brother Benjamin Bratt as a single father who discovers his son, played by Jeremy Ray Valdez, is gay.

The fest runs through July 19, when it will close with Adam Salky's "Dare," written by David Brind, at the Ford Amphitheatre. The high school set film stars Emmy Rossum along with Ana Gasteyer, Alan Cumming and Sandra Bernhard.

The fest has programmed 181 films (65 features and 116 short films) from 25 countries. "In response to the passing of Proposition 8 in California and similar bans against gay marriage and adoption across the United States, we are proud to put a particular focus on LGBT rights and equality," said Outfest executive director Kirsten Schaffer.

On July 13, the fest will present Debra Chasnoff and Kim Klausner's "Choosing Children," one of the first documentaries about lesbian families, which has been restored through the Outfest Legacy Project.

Other gala screenings include the drama "Mississippi Damned, which will serve as the U.S. Dramatic Centerpiece; the mystery thriller "El Nino Pez" (The Fish Child), the International Dramatic Centerpiece; and "Fig Trees," a documentary opera about AIDS activism by John Greyson, which will screen as the Platinum Centerpiece.

LGBT rights-themed titles include a 40th Anniversary screening of "Before Stonewall," "On These Shoulders We Stand," "Patrik Age 1.5," "City of Borders," "Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement," "Fish Out of Water" and "Misconceptions."

Outfest 2009 will also spotlight emerging talent with a number of world premieres including: "Lucky Bastard," "Motherland" and "On These Shoulders We Stand."

In its 4 in Focus series, Outfest will focus on a quartet of first-time feature film directors: Nancy Kissam's "Drool," H.P. Mendoza's "Fruit Fly," Jason Bushman's "Hollywood, je t'aime" and E.E. Cassidy's "We Are the Mods."