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Ahead of its time in terms of acknowledging and highlighting LGBTQ+ creators and filmmakers, Outfest returns for 2021 with both in-person screenings and streaming events. Founded by a group of UCLA students in 1982, the fest has made it its mission to promote equality and inclusivity on screens of all sizes. With conversations about sexuality and gender on the forefront of culture right now, this year’s programming should be more resonant than ever.

Opening night will mark the gathering’s first ever outdoor gala at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, with a screening of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – an adaptation of the stage show with appearances from Max Harwood, Lauren Patel, Bianca del Rio and more. Other spotlight screenings include Tribeca Film Fest winner The Novice; Being BeBe (a documentary about RuPaul’s Drag Race season one winner BeBe Zahara Benet); the premiere of The Sixth Reel with a tribute to producer and Outfest alum Ash Christian; online-only previews of HBO’s The Other Two (season 2) with a virtual Q&A and Rain Valdez’s Razor Tongue (season 2) with live reading; a Trans and Non-Binary Summit with Zackary Drucker and Our Lady J doing live talks; and a short film showcase.

Closing night will feature an appearance Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer, who’ll be honored with Outfest’s Annual James Schamus Ally Award (and showing Right to Try, a documentary short about finding a cure for HIV, which she produced). Elliot Page will also be honored with the Outfest Achievement Award on closing night at the Orpheum Theatre and there’ll be a screening of Fanny: The Right to Rock (which chronicles the career of the ground-breaking queer female rock band) capped off with a set from the group themselves. For full schedule of events go to https://www.outfest.org/.

LA Weekly