Outfest announces ‘God’s Own County,’ ‘Freak Show,’ ‘Strangers’ to have gala screenings

Tomo (Rinka Kakihara, right) is only 11, but she find herself maturing a lot quicker than her peers due to her mother’s fickle nature. Tomo’s uncle Makio (Kenta Kiritani, left) takes her in during her mother’s absence, and Tomo then meets Makio’s trans girlfriend. Photo: “Close-Knit”

LOS ANGELES — A drama about a Japanese transgender family, a documentary about a legendary makeup artist and the West Coast premiere of a TV series featuring a lead bisexual character will be among the opening and closing gala screenings at Outfest.

The LGBTQ film festival, celebrating 35 years, will open July 6 and close 16. Gala screenings will take place at the Orpheum Theater and Ace Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

Also, television producer Bryan Fuller ( “American Gods” and “Pushing Daisies”) will be the recipient of Outfest’s Achievement Award.

“From the unabashed queer aesthetic in ‘Pushing Daisies’ to the groundbreaking sex-scene between two Muslim, gay men in ‘American Gods,’ Bryan has decidedly put LGBT lives into America’s living rooms,” Outfest Executive Director Christopher Racster said in a statement. “It is through his unapologetic storytelling – its newness, its frankness, and its honesty –  that audiences have not only accepted these stories, but also asked for more.”

The films represented in the gala screenings showcase complex and inclusive storytelling, Lucy Mukerjee-Brown, Outfest’s director of programming, said in a statement.

“We’ve chosen to spotlight the scope of these groundbreaking journeys, from the Japanese trans family in ‘Close Knit’ to the relationship between two men in our opening night gala film ‘God’s Own Country’,” she said. “These stories of hope blossom despite the intolerance that surrounds them.”

Here’s a quick look at the gala screenings. Advance tickets can be found here.

“Behind The Curtain: Todrick Hall”

Todrick Hall, who got his start on “American Idol,” documents his life behind the curtains. This documentary gives a behind-the-scenes look at Hall’s growing up in a small Texas town and his close relationship with his conservative-Christian mother.


Tomo (Rinka Kakihara) is only 11, but she find herself maturing a lot quicker than her peers due to her mother’s fickle nature. Tomo’s uncle Makio (Kenta Kiritani) takes her in during her mother’s absence, and Tomo meets Makio’s trans girlfriend, Rinko (Toma Ikuta). The trio become a family unit as Tomo takes her uncle’s last name, but she also faces bullying by her peers and the government as this unconventional family is thrown into the public sphere.

“Freak Show”

Based on the novel by James St. James, flamboyant teenager Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther) is bullied by his school peers who don’t know what to make of his colorful personality. In an effort to show the school who he is, Bloom runs for homecoming queen against a Bible-hugger mean girl.

“God’s Own Country”

The mundane life of a 25-year-old sheep farmer in Northern England (Josh O’Connor), who takes care of his ailing father and passes the time drinking and engaging in drunken hook ups,  takes a turn when a Romanian migrant (Alec Secareanu) comes into his life.

“Kevyn Aucoin Beauty & The Beast In Me”

This documentary follows celebrity makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin and his transformation from being a rural Louisiana boy to the most sought after makeup artist of his time. With clients like Naomi Campbell, Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson, Aucoin’s switch from unknown to known is documented through interviews with Aucoin’s inner circle as well as his own archival footage shot.


In an effort to keep her beloved home, newly single and bisexual, Isobel (Zoe Chao) rents out her spare room and shares her life with a number of colorful characters that open her eyes to new adventures. From developing her first relationship with a woman to dealing with her career, Isobel finds herself through strangers.

About the author

Stephanie Thai

Hailing from San Francisco, Stephanie Thai is a Southern Californian transplant. She spends her time writing, reading, and eating wherever she can, though not in that order. On her downtime, Thai takes 12-hour cat naps, hikes urban trails, and frequents travel websites to entertain her expensive hobby of traveling the globe.

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