Outfest 2019: 7 things you need to know about the LGBTQ film festival

Circus of Books Documentary Outfest 2019

Husband and wife team Karen and Barry Mason owned the iconic Circus of Books in West Hollywood for more than 30 years. The Masons and their brick-and-mortar gay erotica emporium and bookstore are the subject of the documentary “Circus of Books,” which is the opening night film at Outfest 2019. Photo: Outfest.

HOLLYWOOD — Outfest — the LGBTQ film festival — opens Thursday and closes July 28.

Here are seven things you need to know.

What is Outfest?

Outfest is Los Angeles’ largest and longest running LGBTQ movie festival. Outfest includes 11 days of film screenings, networking, parties, and panel discussions.

But Outfest is more than a film festival. It’s a non-profit group that inspires filmmakers and storytellers, builds community, uses the power of movies to promote equality, and ensures that the stories of LGBTQ people are created, shared, and protected. Outfest was founded in 1982 by UCLA students.

In its 37 years, Outfest has educated and mentored hundreds of emerging filmmakers and protected more than 40,000 LGBTQ films and videos.

How many queer films?

Outfest will spotlight more than 200 movies from 33 countries and in 26 languages. Also, for the second consecutive year, ⅔ of the movies are directed by women, people of color, and transgender movie makers. The categories include galas films, documentaries, feature narratives, and shorts.

The festival will include a dedicated Episodic Programs section that will spotlight queer TV series.

The LGBTQ films

  • The festival opens Thursday at the Orpheum Theatre with “Circus of Books,” a documentary about West Hollywood’s iconic, brick-and-mortar gay erotica emporium and bookstore Circus of Books.
  • The festival will feature 28 world premieres. Here are a few of them.
  • “Tu Me Manques”(July 27 at 4:15 p.m.), a feature film inspired by Rodrigo Bellott’s smash-hit play from Bolivia.
  • “Pier Kids” (Sunday at 4:15 p.m.), Elegance Bratton’s documentary about the queer and transgender youth of color who gather at New York City’s Christopher Street pier.
  • “The Archivettes” (Sunday at 4:45 p.m.), a profile of New York’s Lesbian Herstory Archives.
  • “Holy Trinity” (Friday at 9:30 p.m.),  a John Waters–style absurdist comedy from Molly Hewitt that features Chicago’s queer-artist community.

Don’t miss these films

  • “Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts” (July 24 at 8:30 p.m.), a documentary about  “RuPaul’s Drag Race” favorite Trixie Mattel, who will give a live performance before the screening.
  • “Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story” (July 25 at 8:30 p.m.), the comedian will introduce her concert film and host a pre-show conversation.
  • “Gay Chorus Deep South” (July 26 at 8:30 p.m.), this documentary follows a San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus tour through Southern red states to bring a message of love, inclusion, and acceptance to areas affected by anti-LGBTQ legislation.
  • “Sid & Judy,” (July 27 at 8:30 p.m.), a documentary about Judy Garland’s career seen through the eyes of her third husband, Sid Luft.

Watching the movies

The films will be screened at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres and various venues throughout Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Los Angeles, including John Anson Ford Theater, Laemmle Music Hall, Harmony Gold Theatre, Plaza de la Raza, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theater, and the American Film Institute.


Here’s a list of venues, maps, and parking.

Buying tickets, film schedule

Tickets can be purchased at outfest.org, and here’s a complete film schedule.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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