There’s a lot to love about this year’s Outfest in Los Angeles, one of the nation’s largest LGBT-oriented film festivals. The stellar lineup kicks off today with the David Sedaris-inspired film C.O.G. and concludes on Sunday with the high school comedy G.B.F. Over 10 days, Outfest features 155 films from 28 countries, including dramas, comedies, documentaries, and shorts from both distinguished names and rising talent. As Los Angeles prepares for the stars of the rainbow screen to light up its theaters, The Advocate has compiled a list of 17 of our favorite films showing this year, for your consideration. Get the lowdown on all the films you can't miss at Outfest 2013 on the following pages.
Interior. Leather Bar.
Saturday, July 20, 7 p.m. at DGA 1
If you didn’t already love James Franco — the actor, director, art student, and LGBT advocate — this would be the movie that would change that. Co-directed by James Franco and Travis Mathews, the setup for Interior. Leather Bar. is compelling: The director of the 1980 film Cruising, in which Al Pacino starred as an undercover cop investigating a murder in New York's gay leather scene, was forced by the MPAA to cut 40 minutes of sexually explicit material in order to avoid an X rating. It was long rumored that those scenes included graphic gay sex scenes, including one in which Pacino himself was at least a watcher, if not a doer. Those 40 minutes have never been seen, so Franco and Mathews set out to re-imagine what might have happened in those lost scenes. But this film is not 40 minutes of porn. Instead, it’s a full film about the making of a film, with a mix of straight and gay actors and crew exploring the dynamics of what it means to perform in a sexually explicit gay film about BDSM. Listening to lead Val Lauren (the Pacino character) talk on the phone about Franco’s theory about challenging social sexual norms we all grew up with, and hearing his friend ask how Lauren, who is straight, will feel when Franco’s experimentation leads to a dick up his ass, is real, raw, and provocative. It’s an immensely watchable hybrid film that’s both radically transgressive and enjoyable to ponder for hours afterward. If you’re intrigued by this film, check out director Christina Voros’ documentery, Kink, which was produced by James Franco and follows the painful but oh-so-pleasurable world of five San Francisco–based BDSM workers, on July 18, 8:30 p.m. at Redcat.
Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf?
Friday, July 19, 7:15 p.m. at DGA 1
This hilarious all-female comedy stars Anna Margarita Albelo, who also directed the film, as a perpetually stuck middle-aged lesbian living in Los Angeles. Staring down the barrel of 40 years on this earth, Anna has no job, no girlfriend, and lives in a friend’s garage. Searching for meaning — and something to occupy her time — the eccentric filmmaker begins writing a lesbian remake of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. That’s when she meets Katia (played by True Blood and The L Word actress Janina Gavankar), who serves as Anna’s muse and leads the forlorn filmmaker on a journey of self-discovery, redemption, and creation. Keep an eye out for fellow queer favorite actors Guinevere Turner (Go Fish) and Carrie Preston (True Blood, The Good Wife).