Outfest Fusion showcases queer, trans, people-of-color filmmakers

Outfest Fusion will turn 19 this year.

A part of the long-running LGBTQ+ film festival Outfest, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year, Outfest Fusion is back this year, running April 8-17 with in-person and virtual programming.

Showcasing seven features, 52 short films, three episodics, and a “One-Minute Movie” contest, Outfest Fusion highlights stories by queer, trans, Latinx, and people-of-color filmmakers.

“As we find ourselves back in a moment where our rights as LGBTQIA+  people are being taken away and our very existence silenced, we know these moves have a greater impact on LGBTQIA+ communities of color,” Damien S. Navarro, Outfest’s executive, said in a statement.

“We have continued to evolve Outfest Fusion in ways we hope empower the next generation of storytellers to reshape their own narrative and to drive cultural change,” he said.

‘Functional’ webseries spotlights queer Latinx experiences

Artistic director Faridah Gbadamosi added: “The programming at Outfest Fusion exists to challenge and close the systemic access gap for LGBTQIA+ people of color.”

Here’s a rundown of the feature-length films.

  • “Black As U R”

In the wake of Black Lives Matter, filmmaker Michael Rice addresses the trans/homophobia within the Black community by magnifying the stories of Black LGBTQ+ people and their contributions to the Black liberation movement.

  • “Finlandia”

Belonging to a community of muxes — untethered by the gender binary — Delirio, Amaranta, Mariano traverse their past, present, and future.

  • “Keep the Cameras Rolling: The Pedro Zamora Way”

He was clever, articulate, and handsome. At only 22, Pedro Zamora, a gay Cuban immigrant, had the American public at the palm of his hands as he stepped into the limelight on MTV’s “Real World.” After contracting HIV as a teenager, he dedicated his life to destigmatizing the narrative around the illness – and being the sympathetic beauty on national television helped do that. While “Keep the Cameras Rolling” is an exhibition of Zamora’s most joyous moments, like his televised wedding, it also explores the role of the media in shaping a generation’s understanding of social issues. An amalgam of home videos, archival footage, and interviews with the Zamora family, “Real World” cast members, and various activists, the film examines the legacy of a young man who helped change the face of AIDS in America.

  • “Mustache Mondays”

“Mustache Mondays,” a roving LGBTQ nightclub event in Los Angeles during the early 2000s, became a quasi incubator for some leading contemporary artists. The film examines the space and how it helped shape the region’s queer cultural fabric.

  • “Transversals”

Émerson Maranhão’s documentary brings together the stories of five transgender people living in the Brazilian state of Ceará, recounting stories of being fearless alongside their absolute commitment to thrive.

  • “White Frog”

Nick, a teenager on the Autism spectrum, is a high school freshman who idolizes his older brother Chaz, a popular straight-A student whose future seems set. When Chaz is killed in a tragic accident, Nick attempts to reconstruct his brother’s left, uncovering secrets that threaten to rip their family apart. This mystery examines loss and redemption at the intersections of queerness and Asian-American identity.

  • “Wildhood”

Two brothers embark on a journey to find their birth mother after their abusive white father had lied for years about her whereabouts. During their trip, they reconnect with their indigenous heritage and make a new friend.

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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