Watch trailers for key entries at Out on Film 2021

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After a triumphant pivot against COVID last year, Atlanta’s LGBTQ film festival returns to in-person screenings on Sept. 23 – Oct. 3, but with a hybrid festival that keeps some online elements intact and even adds an art installation.

“It’s wonderful to be back in theaters this year, and its equally wonderful knowing we have such an expansive, international lineup of films to present both in-theater as well as virtually,” said Out on Film Festival Director Jim Farmer.

As usual, the festival presents a packed slate of sought-after titles across filmmaking genres. The slate also represents a span of LGBTQ communities to draw diverse audiences, and it features big-name stars as well as newcomers in star-making roles.

Centerpiece films include the slick, sexy Opening Night selection Firebird, about a forbidden love triangle during the Cold War. Not to be outdone, Closing Night brings the world premiere of Keep the Cameras Rolling: The Pedro Zamora Way, about the influential young AIDS activist and MTV star of The Real World.

Out on Film also chose three Centerpiece Film selections this year. Invisible: Gay Women in Southern Music interviews with “No. 1” country songwriters, as well as some of the artists they helped make famous. Jump, Darling follows an aging drag queen to the country and includes Cloris Leachman in her final starring role. No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics follows five comic book artists who found worldwide acclaim, including Alison Bechdel and Howard Cruse.

‘Along Came Wanda’ makes its world premiere at Out on Film.

Ever more, despite challenges

Par for the Out on Film course, there are more than 100 other titles as well, from feature-length narratives and documentaries to web series and shorts. Features are split between online offerings and in-person screenings at Midtown Art Cinema.

The tireless festival board and committee remain grateful that their perseverance paid off. They remain satisfied to keep their forward momentum during the global challenges of the pandemic, Farmer said.

“As one of the few film festivals that are still growing despite all of the challenges, we are thrilled with this international lineup, including our world premieres and more films we can’t wait to introduce our audiences to,” he said.

Also on tap for 2021, out-and-proud Native Atlantan and Married with Children actress Amanda Bearse will accept the festival’s Trailblazer Award virtually. Local artist Matthew Terrell created an interactive exhibit about his Hate Shield Project that blocked protestors of the 2019 Atlanta Pride Parade.

Visit Out on Film online for festival passes and more information. Watch trailers and clips for some of the best titles below, followed by synopses of more slated films. Even more titles will be announced in September.

The web series based on the popular film ‘Boy Culture’ screens its first two episodes during Out on Film.

Out on Film 2021 highlights

Firebird Opening Night Feature
In-Person Screening

Jump, Darling Centerpiece Film
In-Person Screening

Mascarpone U.S. Premiere
In-Person Screening

Keep the Cameras Rolling: the Pedro Zamora way
In-Person Screening

All Boys Aren’t Blue
In-Person Screening

No Straight Lines
In-Person Screening

A Sexplanation
Virtual Screening

My Fiona
In-Person Screening

One Four Three World Premiere
In-Person Screening

Along Came Wanda World Premiere
In-Person Screening

Raw! Uncut! Video!
In-Person Screening

Boy Culture Web Series
Virtual screening of first two episodes

Visit Out On Film for more information, more films and festival passes.

‘Straight Lines’ profiles queer comic book artists, including Alison Bechdel.

Additional film synopses (In Person)

Being Bebe
Directed by Debra Branham
Countries: USA/Cameroon, Running Time: 90 min

This crowd-pleasing film, lovingly directed by Debra Branham, captures the incredible rise of the first ever winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the legendary BeBe Zahara Benet. Winner of the 2021 Best Documentary Award at the Provincetown International Film Festival.

Beyto
Directed by Gitta Gsell
Country: Switzerland, Running Time: 98 min

A talented swimmer and motivated apprentice, Beyto is in the midst of life with a bright future ahead of him. But when the only son of a Turkish migrant family falls in love with his coach Mike, an ideal world falls to pieces.

Bliss
Directed by Henrika Kull
Country: Germany, Running Time: 91 min

In a world where their femininity is considered a commodity, two sex workers fall in love with each other. Together – and yet each on her own – they experience the one moment when happiness seems possible, but their love is threatened by different ideas of life and their own abysses.

Boulevard! A Hollywood Story
Directed by Jeffrey Schwarz
Country: USA, Running Time: 85 min

When Gloria Swanson, the iconic star of Sunset Boulevard, saw an opportunity to parlay her silent film glory into a new phase of her career, she began to envision a musical stage adaptation of her most famous film. Enter Dickson Hughes and Richard Stapley, two struggling songwriters (and romantic couple) looking for their big break. The men find themselves whisked away by Swanson to a sumptuous house in Palm Springs, where the trio set to creating the musical from the ground up.

As the days wear on, a triangle begins to take hold that goes beyond mere creative partnership. From the dark alleys of L.A. to the desert nirvana of Palm Springs to the posh New York theater world, ‘Boulevard!” is the tale of three individuals who attempt to share a melody with all those people out there in the dark and how the music of that moment defined the rest of their lives.

Boy Meets Boy
Directed by Daniel Sanchez Lopez
Country: Germany, Running Time: 75 min

Harry has been partying for 48 hours when he meets Johannes on the dance floor of a club in Berlin. With 15 hours until his flight home, Johannes offers to help him print his boarding pass. This mundane task leads to a day together wandering the city. The contrasts in their lives and values force each one to confront their own truths. Boy Meets Boyis a feature length mumblecore about the journey of a brief encounter and the mark left by a fleeting moment of joy.

Down in Paris WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Anthony Hickling
Country: France, Running Time: 102 min

Richard, a filmmaker in his forties, is suddenly overwhelmed by anxiety during filming. He walks off set and wanders through the Paris night in search of answers, comfort and inspiration. During his sleepless night, he meets many people, some friendly, some disturbing, some known, some unknown. Richard has to confront his fears and question his deepest desires until the first light of dawn.

Forgotten Roads
Directed by Nicole Ruiz Benavides
Country: Chile, Running Time: 71 min

Claudina is a traditional woman from the countryside. After the passing away of her husband, she gets into a lonely routine. Having a difficult economic situation, Claudina has to move with her dearest grandson, Cristobal and her daughter Alejandra, knowing that both women have a distanced relationship. Living together, Claudina meets the neighbor Elsa, an independent and married woman who sings at a hidden bar calle Porvenir (The Future). Claudina starts a relationship with Elsa, falling in love. She then develops a journey of self-knowledge to be free

From the judgment of her daughter and friends on a religious and conservative little town, which is obsessed with a UFO sighting.

Isaac
Directed by Angeles Hernandez and David Matamoros
Country: Spain, Running Time: 84 min

Based on the Spanish stage play by Antonio Hernández, Isaac follows two old friends, Denis and Nacho, who meet again, 16 years after having an intense relationship as teenagers.

Landlocked
Directed by Timothy Hall
Country: USA, Running Time: 80 min

A man reunites with his estranged, transgender father as they journey to scatter his late mother’s ashes off the Georgia coast. Landlocked marks the feature film debut of transgender actress Delia Kropp in the lead role of Briana.

Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back
Directed by John Carluccio
Country: USA, Running Time: 93 min

Maurice Hines; Bring Them Back is a compelling portrait of a trailblazing entertainer who navigates the highs and lows of his lengthy showbiz career and a complex relationship with his superstar brother, tap dance legend Gregory Hines.

No Ordinary Man
Directed by Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt
County: Canada, Running Time: 83 min

American jazz musician Billy Tipton developed a reputable touring and recording career in the mid-twentieth century, along with his band The Billy Tipton Trio. After his death in the late ‘80s, it was revealed that Tipton was assigned female at birth, and his life was swiftly reframed as the story of an ambitious woman passing as a man in pursuit of a music career. The genre-defying documentary No Ordinary Man seeks to correct that misrepresentation by collaborating with trans artists. As they collectively celebrate Tipton’s story as a musician living his life according to his own terms, they paint a portrait of a trans culture icon. No Ordinary Man features leading voices and breakout stars in the trans community, including Marquise Vilsón, Scott Turner Schofield, Susan Stryker, C. Riley Snorton, and Thomas Page McBee.

Potato Dreams of America
Directed by Wes Hurley
Country: USA, Running Time: 95 min

Potato Dreams of America, based on the award-winning short film, is an autobiographical dark comedy about a gay boy growing up in the Soviet Union, his mail-order bride mother and their adventurous escape to America. The rich ensemble cast includes Jonathan Bennett and Lea Delaria.

Rebel Dykes
Directed by Harri Shanahan and Sian A. Williams
Country: UK, Running Time: 82 min

Rebel Dykes is a full-length documentary about the explosion that happened when punk met feminism, told through the lives of a gang of lesbians in the riotous London of the 1980s.

Sweetheart
Directed by Marley Morrison
Country: UK, Running Time: 103 min

Socially awkward and environmentally conscious teen ‘AJ’ has a few things on her mind. Mostly how the methane from all the cows is destroying the planet, and how she would rather be anywhere in the world than on holiday with her painfully uninspiring family. Following AJ’s suspension from school, mum Tina has dragged AJ out of her bedroom and driven four hours to the family’s favorite coastal holiday park in Dorset.

Joining them is AJ’s neurotic and heavily pregnant older sister Lucy, their curious younger sister Dayna and Lucy’s foot-rubbing, attentive boyfriend Steve. For AJ, the only thing worse than spending an entire week with her uniquely ‘un-woke’ family is being in a holiday cabin with no Wi-Fi.

She’s determined to have the worst week of her life, but her plan comes unstuck when she meets carefree lifeguard Isla who sees through AJ’s uniquely adopted persona. With echoes of My So-Called Life and Juno,Sweetheart is a quirky, nostalgic coming-of-age tale for a new generation.

Trans in Trumpland
Directed by Tony Zosherafatain
Country: USA, Running Time: 101 min

A trans Iranian American journeys across the country, uncovering the complexities of being trans in the Trump era. He meets four trans Americans facing unique challenges, intertwining the personal and political during an unprecedented time in the United States. Amidst growing injustice, each character’s story is a powerful testament to self-discovery, resiliency and the promise of freedom.

Two (Shtaim)
Directed by Astar Elkayam
Country: Israel, Running Time: 75 min

Two follows a couple as they set out on the long road to conception and realize their dream of having a baby.

We Need to Do Something
Directed by Sean King O’Grady
Country: USA, Running Time: 97 min

After Melissa and her family seek shelter from a storm, they become trapped. With no sign of rescue, hours turn to days and Melissa comes to realize that she and her girlfriend Amy might have something to do with the horrors that threaten to tear her family – and the entire world – apart in this unnerving thriller.

Additional film synopses (Virtual)

Disruptor Conductor
Directed by Sharon Lewis
Country: Canada, Running Time: 47 min

Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser is an unlikely hero on a mission to create live orchestral music. In Disruptor Conductorthe out composer is on a mission to break down institutional walls and bring live orchestral music to young people, the LGBTQ community, people on the autism spectrum and prison populations — anyone who might not have had access to it or who may have felt unwelcome in traditional spaces.

A Distant Place
Directed by Kun-Young Park
Country: South Korea, Running Time: 117 min.

A Distant Place takes us into the rural life of Jin-woo, a sheep rancher who lives a humble existence with his adorable niece, Seol, and the kindly family who employs him. When Hyeon-min, an old friend from university shows up, Jin-woo finds himself facing feelings he had long locked away. Things become even more difficult when his estranged sister Eun-yeong returns wanting custody of Seol. Told against the spectacular backdrop of the rolling Korean countryside, the film is a beautiful, delicate drama that probes the complex psyche of a solitary man

 

Emergence: Out of The Shadows
Directed by Vinay Giridhar
Country: Canada, 80 min

For Kayden, Jag, and Amar, awakening to and expressing their sexuality within conservative South Asian families was a lonely and terrifying experience. Denial, shame and despair haunted

their youths, even threatening their lives. Yet, they’ve emerged. In the feature documentary Emergence: Out of the Shadows, the disparate journeys of Kayden, Jag and Amar converge around a shared sense of compassion and healing as they bravely convey their often heart-wrenching stories. Confronted with tradition and taboo in their Punjabi Sikh cultures, Jag’s parents and Amar’s mother choose love and support for their children, offering courage and inspiration to individuals and communities struggling with acceptance.

Euromerica
Directed by Steven Norris
Country: USA, Running Time: 57 min

In 2020, the global market research firm IPSOS determined that only six percent of Americans had ever seen the Eurovision Song Contest – despite the fact that the annual event is the most watched live music event in the world, second in viewership only to World Cup Soccer. After the 2019 edition of the contest, the organizers at the European Broadcasting Union announced the contest would be expanding to America. Then COVID-19 happened. During the height of the pandemic, Eurovision was canceled for the first time in the contest’s 65-year history. These changes and challenges offered a perfect launching point for Atlanta filmmaker Steven Norris to find American superfans who’ve been following the contest each year.

The Fandom
Directed by Ash Kreis
Country: USA, 88 min

The Fandom dives headfirst in the imaginative world of “furries,” the often-misunderstood internet subculture of fans of the anthropomorphic arts. Using a bountiful collection of archival tapes and images, this documentary traces the evolution of the furry fandom from its roots in the 1970s to the expansive, international community it has become today. Join a host of charming characters (including the grandparents of the fandom itself) on this heart-warming journey through the decades. Witness the many triumphs and challenges that shaped “furry” into the most unique fandom of all time

The Greenhouse
Directed by Thomas Wilson-White
Country: Australia, Running Time: 97 min.

Grieving the death of her mother Lillian, Beth Tweedy-Bell wakes one night to find a portal to the past in the forest surrounding her family home. Swept away by visions of her idyllic upbringing with her three siblings and two loving Mums, Beth becomes mesmerized by the past, unable to see the dangers that lie ahead

  

Iftah
Directed by Moti Rachamim
Country: Israel, 42 min

Iftah deals with the life of a gay man who tears his family apart due to his sexual orientation.

Gemmel & Tim
Directed by Michiel Thomas
Country: USA, 86 min

In 2017 and 2019 respectively, Gemmel “Juelz” Moore and Timothy “Tim” Dean, two gay black men, both died of a meth overdose at the now-infamous Laurel Street apartment of Ed Buck, a once influential Democratic donor, businessman and LGBTQ+, animal, and political activist.
The deaths sent shockwaves through LA’s LGBTQ+ community and particularly West Hollywood, LA’s gay mecca. The ensuing media circus cooked up a spicy concoction of sex, drugs, race and politics, but had no appetite for the in-depth human stories of who Gemmel and Tim truly were.This documentary looks at Gemmel and Tim’s parallel walks of life through the eyes of their extended families: memories, correspondence, things they did and didn’t share with each other, and the reasons that led them to their tragic fate.

The Novice
Directed by Lauren Hadaway
Country: USA, 94 min

An obsessive novice rower climbs the ranks of her college’s rowing team in this acclaimed psychological thriller, winner of the Best U.S. Narrative Feature Film at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival.

P.S. Burn This Letter Please
Directed by Michael Seligman and Jennifer Tiexiera
Country: USA, 100 min

A box of letters, held in secret for nearly 60 years, ignites a five-year exploration into a part of LGBT history that has never been told. The letters, written in the 1950s by a group of New York City drag queens, open a window into a forgotten world where being yourself meant breaking the law and where the penalties for “masquerading” as a woman were swift and severe.

Using original interviews, never-before-seen archival footage and photographs and stylized recreations, “P.S. Burn This Letter Please” reconstructs this pre-Stonewall era as Lennie, Robbie, George, Michael, Jim, Henry, Claude, Tish and Terry—former drag queens now in their 80s and 90s—reveal how they survived and somehow flourished at a time when drag queens were both revered and reviled, even within the gay community. The government sought to destroy them, then history tried to erase them. Now they get to tell their story for the first time. 

See You Then
Directed by Mari Walker
Country: USA, 75 min

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. See You Then focuses on the universal truth that no matter how much you change, a part of you will always stay the same.

(NEW) The Sixth Reel
Directed by Carl Andress and Charles Busch
Country: USA, 94 min.

A down-on-his-luck movie collector discovers a legendary lost film and becomes entangled in an outrageous adventure to deliver it to the right hands before it is lost forever. Co-directed by and starring the legendary Charles Busch, this clever comedy also stars Margaret Cho, Tim Daly and André De Shields

Yes I Am – The Ric Weiland Story
Directed by Aaron Bear
Country: USA, 62 min

Narrated by Zachary Quinto and produced by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (World of Wonder), the story of Ric Weiland’s life and legacy can be measured in incredible milestones. He was one of the first employees at Microsoft. He helped focus and organize their early successes. It made him wealthy and influential at an early age. He never felt overly comfortable with his wealth, as he didn’t feel that he deserved it. Other people had worked harder for what they had, he thought. So, to quiet the nagging doubt, he turned to philanthropy. Out and proud since the ‘70s, Ric was a champion for gay rights. During his life, he donated more than $20 million to fund more than 60 non-profit organizations. His efforts to establish representation and resources for the LGBT community still have a profound impact today.

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