Outfest, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization dedicated to creating visibility for diverse LGBTQIA+ stories and empowering tomorrow’s artists and storytellers, today announced its lineup for the 2021 Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Film Festival, presented by Comcast NBCUniversal. This year’s festival will feature 10 feature films, 41 short films, a One-Minute Movie Contest sponsored by Hyundai, two drive-in experiences at Exposition Park, and a dozen workshops and panels for filmmakers and general public to attend from April 16th to April 20th. Visit OutfestFusion.com to purchase tickets.
Now in its 18th year, Outfest Fusion showcases the work of queer and trans filmmakers of color, providing the audiences and storytellers alike with the critical visibility that is needed to build careers, opportunities, and empathy for our stories. Beyond authentically connecting the industry and the public to so many of our community’s underrepresented artists, Outfest Fusion also provides educational workshops, masterclasses, networking events, and the renowned One-Minute Movie Contest.
“Outfest Fusion facilitates an environment where QTBIPOC people are able to learn, teach, showcase their talent, and feel validated, bridging the gap between the industry’s gatekeepers and so many marginalized people who are typically left out of the conversation. This is why we must continue to grow Outfest Fusion!,” reported Outfest Executive Director, Damien S. Navarro.
Founded in 2004 amongst a circle of community organizers and Outfest Board Members, the Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival is a response to the need for more inclusive spaces where storytellers and filmmakers of color could receive the opportunities and the visibility they struggle to find for themselves and their work. To date, Outfest Fusion has showcased over 10,000 works to nearly 250,000 audience members and impacted over 2,500 storytellers and up and coming industry members with its Fusion workshops, contests, and events.
The Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival educational and mentor-driven programming provides the tools for queer and trans people of color to create content and tell their own stories. Outfest Fusion also hosts the Outfest InFusion Studio summit in partnership with Comcast NBCUniversal, which will take place this summer. Outfest Fusion alumni and filmmakers who attend engage with studio-partner speakers, participate in panels and workshops forging connections and nurturing relationships between emerging LGBTQIA+ filmmakers of color and established studios.
Feature films from notable directors include Nathan Hale Williams, an Outfest alum who’s presenting All Boys Aren’t Blue this year; Marion Hill’s Sundance premiere Ma Belle, My Beauty; Mari Walker’s recent SXSW world premiere See You Then; and Carlos Lopez Estrada (Blindspotting) is presenting Summertime at this year’s festival which is co-written by its sprawling cast of young Los Angeles poets, including queer BIPOC voices, and is in connection with Outfest Fusion’s celebration of the power of the spoken word. Outfest Fusion will kick off the evening of April 16th with a live spoken word showcase, including performances by Tyris Winter of Summertime, and Chicago-based raptivist Bella BAHHS from the Outfest Fusion feature documentary Unapologetic, among others.
Notable short films at this year’s festival include Maisie Richardson Sellers’ Sunday’s Child, Executive Producer is Greg Berlanti, about a vivid house party of QTPOC who welcome a young woman into their community where she can let down her walls; Whitney Skauge’s The Beauty President, a SXSW-premiere short about Joan Jett Blakk’s historic bid for the White House as one of the first openly queer write-in candidates, featuring Terence Smith, the man behind the persona, who reflects back on his place in gay rights history at the height of the AIDS crisis; the world premiere of Fawzia Mirza’s Noor & Layla; and Jas Pitt & Kate Stonehill’s Mother about a young dancer from a Rio de Janeiro who finds acceptance through the art of Ballroom and their vogueing family.
The complete slate of features and shorts programming at the 2021 Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival is below and updated at OutfestFusion.com.
ALL BOYS AREN’T BLUE directed by Nathan Hale Williams
- Actors Bernard David Jones, Dyllon Burnside, Thomas Hobson, and Jenifer Lewis bring to life the words of Black non-binary author George Matthew Johnson’s transparent and sparkling memoir, aided by director Nathan Hale Williams’ visual poetry. Tackling issues of Black masculinity and Black queerness in relationship to Blackness, each character represents Johnson at different stages of their life, chronicling their story of growing up and challenging gender identity norms, as well as learning to adapt to HIV/AIDS.
CAUGHT directed by Nicola Mai
- In this innovative blend of documentary and fiction, Rosa and Paloma, two trans Latina sex workers in Queens, New York, fight transphobic violence, persecution from the police, and defend their cases of trafficking in an increasingly anti-migration political environment in the U.S. Written, produced, and edited in collaboration with the TRANSgrediendo Intercultural Collective (whose members also star), a grassroots nonprofit organization defending the rights of transgender Latina migrant women.
CRYSTAL DIARIES directed by Enyce Smith, Gina Lamb
- Five members of the Los Angeles LGBTQ+ House & Ball Community share intimate stories of their experiences with methamphetamine addiction in response to the death of Ballroom community member Gemmel Moore, who died in the home of Democratic political fundraiser Ed Buck. What results is a stirring portrait of a community banding together to heal and support, to create awareness, and to protest the justice system’s response to Moore’s death.
CHOSEN FAM directed by Natalie Tsui, Lindsay Sunada
- In season one of this irreverent series, an all-QTPOC indie rock band must surmount their personal drama to land the gig of the century.
FORGOTTEN ROADS directed by Nicol Ruiz Benavides
- Claudina is a repressed woman from the countryside. Following the death of her husband, she meets Elsa, who opens Claudina’s eyes to the possibility of real love. Under the judgmental watch of a little conservative town in the south of Chile (that happens to be in the thralls of frequent UFO sightings!), Claudina begins a journey toward queer self-acceptance, in which she learns that true happiness may require leaving everything she knows behind her.
KAPANA directed by Philippe Talavera
- In the first gay love story out of Namibia, George, a middle class insurance broker, lives openly and with acceptance from his family, while his new boyfriend — working-class food vendor Simeon — remains in the closet, gnawed at by traditional notions of masculinity and the desire for acceptance from his peers. In a country where same-sex relationships are still criminalized, these two men begin a romance that challenges both of them to shed societal expectations and stigma to truly flourish.
MA BELLE, MY BEAUTY directed by Marion Hill
- In Marion Hill’s Sundance hit, passions and jealousies are reignited when Bertie and Lane, two women who were formerly polyamorous lovers, reunite at a gorgeous country villa in the south of France. To help Bertie with a creative roadblock, her husband Fred secretly invites Lane to stay with them — a not-so-pleasant surprise for Bertie. Old resentments, simmering tension, and sexual chemistry all combine into an explosive reunion that fascinatingly examines the issues that arise in a non-traditional relationship.
NOWHERE directed by David Salazar, Francisco Salazar
- Adrian and Sebastian, a Colombian couple living together in New York City, are on the fast track to professional and romantic success. But when Sebastian is faced with immigration complications, his status in the U.S. may rely on help from Adrian’s family back in Colombia — who do not know Adrian is gay. Fearing rejection from his family, but at risk of losing Sebastian forever, Adrian must choose which path to take.
SEE YOU THEN directed by Mari Walker
- A decade after abruptly breaking up with Naomi, Kris invites her to dinner to catch up on their complicated lives, relationships, and Kris’ transition. Over the course of a one-night encounter, they engage in a series of increasingly intimate and vulnerable conversations, before a shocking revelation is unveiled. Mari Walker’s feature debut focuses on the universal truth that no matter how much you change, a part of you will always stay the same.
SUMMERTIME directed by Carlos López Estrada
- Over the course of a hot summer day in Los Angeles, the lives of 25 young Angelenos intersect. A skating guitarist, a tagger, two wannabe rappers, an exasperated fast-food worker, a limo driver — they all weave in and out of each other’s stories. Through poetry they express life, love, heartache, family, home, and fear. One of them just wants to find someplace that still serves good cheeseburgers.”
UNAPOLOGETIC directed by Ashley O’Shay
- After two police killings, Black millennial organizers challenge a Chicago administration complicit in state violence against its Black residents. This deep look into the Movement for Black Lives is told through the lens of Janaé and Bella, two fierce, queer-identified abolitionist leaders, from the police murder of Rekia Boyd to the election of mayor Lori Lightfoot.
2 DOLLARS directed by Robin Cloud
- As a Black, queer, masculine-of-center artist, Syd deals with daily slights from ignorant co-workers, an oblivious boss, and a killer workload.
ACRIMONIOUS directed by Olivia Emden
- A sudden divorce wrenches Emeka out of a decade-long hiatus living the “middle-class” dream, landing him back in the childhood council house he hoped he’d left behind.
AND THEN directed by Jenn Ravenna Tran
- Mana, a Japanese-American woman who arrives in Tokyo seeking to find a break from her life as an artist, meets Haru, a Japanese woman from the countryside who dreams of becoming an artist herself one day.
AND WE COLLIDE directed by Dongni Lanca Li
- An unexpected tropical encounter sparks a fragile romance between a wannabe astronaut and a village farm boy.
AT LAST directed by Lorena Gordon
- A timid high school girl reveals her truth during the most important night of the year.
BLUE SUIT directed by Kevin J. Nguyen
- When a surprise party interrupts his plans, an anxious man has to find a private moment to confess his feelings towards his friend before he moves away the next day.
CHAMPION directed by Brittany Campbell
- An animated ode to Black queer femme love accompanies Brittany Campbell’s song “Champion.”
DON’T FORGET TO GO HOME directed by Victoria Singh-Thompson
- Two sisters miss their cousin’s wedding to go on a drug-fueled bender.
EL PATO Y EL BURRO directed by Carlos Larriue & Alejandro Aguilera
- While being questioned in the principal’s office, enemies David and Randall learn they’re more alike than they thought.
GOD’S DAUGHTER DANCES directed by Sungbin Byun
- Dancer Shin-mi, a trans woman in South Korea, gets a call from the Military Manpower Administration, to appear for military service examination.
GRADUATION directed by Robin Wang
- Following a graduation celebration, four Chinese people must navigate their relationships’ futures as dictated by the circumstances of life and their families.
HOW TO DIE YOUNG IN MANILA directed by Petersen Vargas
- A teenage boy follows a group of young hustlers, thinking one of them may be the anonymous hook-up he has arranged to meet for the night.
HOW TO RAISE A BLACK BOY directed by Justice Jamal Jones
- Four Black boys disappear one night, as many Black boys do, and find themselves on a fantastical journey to break the curses of Black boyhood.
LA RÁFAGA (THE GUST) directed by Edgar Garcia
- A lonely middle-aged man finds himself obsessing over his squatter neighbor, a young closeted and tormented athlete who insistently pursues his attention.
MARIAM directed by Reem Jubran
- Zaid, a young Arab-American amateur drag queen, has to confront his conservative father and ailing grandfather about his identity.
MERCURY AFROGRADE directed by Blanche Akonchong
- On a crazy day during mercury retrograde, a family’s deepest secrets come to the surface, forcing them to realize they are not the model African family.
MOTHER directed by Jas Pitt & Kate Stonehill
- Centering on a conversation with their mother, filmmaker Ley Comas charts their struggle to find a middle ground between them and their family with respect to their gender identity.
NI AQUÍ NI ALLÁ directed by Ley Comas
- Centering on a conversation with their mother, filmmaker Ley Comas charts their struggle to find a middle ground between them and their family with respect to their gender identity.
NOOR & LAYLA directed by Fawzia Mirza **DRIVE-IN EXCLUSIVE
- The flourishing and break up of a romantic relationship between two Muslim women, chronicled by the five prayers of Islam.
ONE LAST DEAL directed by Nyala Moon
- Sara has almost reached her dream to match her body to her soul, but first, she and her charming but troubled boyfriend Bill have to make one last sell.
ONLY FOR THE NIGHT directed by LaQuan Lewis
- Sam, a young trans man, struggles to find someone with whom he authentically connects until one night he meets Anthony, a charismatic guy who takes the time to get to know him.
PEACE directed by Adomako Aman
- A love story that dives into the complexities of a down-low queer relationship and questions what it really means to be at peace.
PINE MOUNTAIN OVERNIGHT directed by Geena Marie Hernandez
- A naïve teen discovers just how hairy growing up can be when she embarks on an overnight class camping field trip, braving big rumors, big boobs, and even Bigfoot.
PURE directed by Natalie Jasmine Harris
- On the eve of her cotillion ball, a young Black girl grapples with her queer identity and questions her purity.
QUEER ISOLATION directed by Jordana Valerie Allen-Shim
- A young Vietnamese-Canadian transgender woman reconnects with a former classmate over a dating app after moving back home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ROADKILL directed by Aliza Brugger
- Tillie’s lonely life as a roadkill removal worker is destabilized when Wanda, a lively stranger, comes to town.
SILVER FEMME directed by Nico Reano
- A digital ode to the moon; a poetic film that envisions a future and space where trans people are safe.
SOY SAUCE directed by Sarnt Utamachote
- When the marriage between two men becomes mired in power struggles and condescension, a quirky means of political resistance becomes necessary.
SUNDAY’S CHILD directed by Maisie Richardson-Sellers
- After moving to Los Angeles, Esi stumbles upon a vivid house party of QTPOC and for the first time in her life, feels welcomed into a community where she can let down her walls.
TAFFY directed by Jon Crawford
- A young photographer hears the story of an older man.
THE BEAUTY PRESIDENT directed by Whitney Skauge
- In 1992, Joan Jett Blakk made a historic bid for the White House as one of the first openly queer write-in candidates. Today, Terence Smith, the man behind the persona, reflects back on his place in gay rights history at the height of the AIDS crisis.
THE INCREDULITY OF JACOLBY SATTWERWHITE directed by Lorena Alvarado
- Celebrated digital artist Jacolby Satterwhite contemplates some of the most fundamental questions around the relationship between an artist and the works they create.
THE LIGHTS ARE ON, NO ONE’S HOME directed by Faye Ruiz
- A woman wanders a maze of gentrified streets and the last memories of her time there as she searches for her childhood home.
THE ROGERS directed by Dean Hamer & Joe Wilson
- An intimate glimpse of the first visible group of transgender men in the Pacific: the Rogers of Samoa.
THE WAY WE ARE directed by Amanda Ann-Min Wong
- Through an immersion into old photographs and memories, four queer Asian women tell their personal stories of life, love, and growth.
THIS IS THE WAY WE RISE directed by Ciara Leinaala Lacy Kwock
- A portrait of Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, a Kanaka Maoli wahine poet, activist, and academic, and her continued work towards justice for Hawaii’s native population.
THƠ directed by Heather Muriel Nguyen & Jake Villadolid
- As Thơ ventures into romance as a panromantic asexual/ace, her boyfriend Dylan pressures her to be both sexual and straight
TO YOU MY LOVE directed by Olivia Gastaldo
- An investigation into the visual poetry of a love letter.
TRIPS, FRIENDS, NIGHT & DESTINY directed by Gabriel Ordonez & Gabriel Marin
- Two strangers meet, and decide to spend an adventurous evening together.
UNLIVEABLE directed by Matheus Farias & Enock Carvalho
- Marilene searches for her daughter Roberta, a trans woman who went missing. While running out of time, she discovers a hope for the future.
VALIENTE (BRAVE) directed by Miguel Melo
- Victor finds the courage to disclose his HIV status to his partner.
The Festival includes the One-Minute Movie Contest sponsored by Hyundai, a democratic way to discover new voices and bring them into the Outfest Fusion family. Aspiring and established filmmakers use their cell phones or cameras to shoot one-minute short films on a pre-determined topic. The top submissions are screened on the second night of drive-ins, followed by the announcement of the winners, who receive a cash prize and will go on to play the Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival in August . For complete listings and to purchase tickets, log on to OutfestFusion.com. Outfest Fusion 2021 is presented by Comcast NBCUniversal and automotive sponsor Hyundai. Premiere Sponsors include AARP, The Fight Magazine, Gilead, LA Times, Rainbow Media Co., and Variety.
ABOUT OUTFEST FUSION QTBIPOC FILM FESTIVAL
The Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Film Festival curates and exhibits films, and other cultural and creative expressions from QTBIPOC creators that range from seasoned vets to exciting new voices. Founded in 2004 amongst a circle of community organizers and Outfest Board Members, the Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival is a response to the need for more inclusive spaces where storytellers and filmmakers of color could receive the opportunities and the visibility they struggle to find for themselves and their work. Diverse LGBTQIA+ audiences, from regional to international, were also finding a lack of inclusive spaces and celebrations that featured expertly curated and exhibited films, stories and art that reflected the unique lives of themselves. To date Outfest Fusion has showcased over 10,000 works to nearly 250k audiences and impacted over 2500 community members and industry career climbers with its Fusion workshops and events.