Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Film Festival is presented by IMDb this year, and that is notable. IMDb is remains a vital resource for information about the entertainment industry, after all. As the industry strives to do right by marginalized groups in terms of representation and opportunities, Fusion’s profile continues to grow as its message of inclusive celebration is amplified. Running March 24 – mid April, with in-person and online activities, the event aims to highlight under-represented creative voices with screenings, workshops and networking. It all kicks off with an Opening Night Gala honoring filmmaker Elegance Bratton (A24’s The Inspection) with the Fusion Achievement Award, recognizing “significant contribution to LGBTQ+ visibility in stories, arts and media.”
As always, Fusion’s programming runs the gamut thematically with the common thread of queer and BIPOC story-telling. This year, selected films represent emerging talents including Academy Award–nominated/ Emmy-winning producer and director Lisa Cortés’ highly anticipated documentary about one of music’s most influential icons– Little Richard: I Am Everything [look for our review in the Entertainment Section soon] and Kristy Lovell’s and Zackary Drucker’s exploration into the lives of trans women of color in NYC’s Meatpacking District called The Stroll. There’s also anticipation for titles such as Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn, about Philadelphia politician Malcolm Kenyatta’s bid for US Senate (Kenyatta, director Tim Harris, film producer Lee Daniels and Today host Al Roker will join to present the film). Opening night features an international mix of shorts including Amina, Baba (Pictured), Hard, Hex the Patriarchy, Mooncake, and Thriving: A Dissociated Reverie at Aratani Theater at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center. Other screenings, like the L.A. premiere of Finding Her Beat (made by and about female and nonbinary Asian-American and LGBTQ Taiko drummers) take place at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. See week’s full film schedule and venue info here.
Other important Fusion features include the Outfest Fusion Programming Fellowship, expanding opportunities for film curation professionals; and the annual One Minute Movie Contest (in which filmmakers of color create content on their phones) themed “Envisioning Abundance” this year. A new component of the fest that deserves kudos: its investment in emerging entertainment journalists via the Outfest Inclusive Press Initiative, which seeks to support queer and trans journalists of color offering a $500 stipend, mentorship and more.
As Outfest Artist Development Director Martine McDonald says, the fest’s goal is to honor queer, trans, and nonbinary artists of color who are “not waiting to be invited to the creative table,” adding, “these filmmakers are forging a path towards narrative change that moves beyond inclusion and toward leadership and abundance.”
For more info on the 10 days of screenings, community workshops, and parties, go to outfestfusion.com
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