FilmOut festival has crowd-pleasing lineup

Starting with an expected crowd-pleaser and closing with a documentary about a literary celebrity, FilmOut San Diego’s 19th Annual LGBT Film Festival will present a wide variety of shorts and full-length movies in between.

The festival will be held at the Observatory North Park June 9-11. The first and last films will be followed by celebrations, which will feature food from local eateries and include members of some of the films’ casts and crews.

“Our opening night film, ‘A Very Sordid Wedding,’ is the sequel to the smash cult film, ‘Sordid Loves’,” said Michael McQuiggan, FilmOut San Diego’s program director. “So it has a built-in audience awareness already.

“The Boys Centerpiece, ‘Something Like Summer’ and the Girls Centerpiece, ‘Signature Move,’ are making significant waves in LGBT film festivals worldwide and are diverse in their casting. They are both extremely entertaining.”

McQuiggan also pointed to other noteworthy cinematic efforts, including “Pushing Dead,” which stars Danny Glover, Khandi Alexander and James Roday. Roday plays a HIV-positive man faced with an extremely serious health-insurance dilemma - and it’s a comedy.

“The Lavender Scare” documents a U.S. government-sponsored program launched in the 1950s that resulted in thousands of gay men and lesbians being fired from their jobs. “Even Lovers Get The Blues” is an adult drama from Belgium. Other films explore such themes as early-onset Alzheimer’s (“A Million Happy Nows”) and coping in high school (“Handsome Devil”).

FilmOut San Diego: 19th annual LGBT Film Festival

When: Various times June 9-11

Where: Observatory North Park, 2891 University Ave., North Park

Tickets: $10 individual films; $125 all-access pass; opening film and party $45; closing film and party $25.

Phone: 619.665.1029


The closing film, “The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin,” showcases the popular and controversial writer. Maupin is best known for his San Francisco Chronicle columns, “Tales of the City” and the novels and PBS miniseries that it spawned. The documentary won an audience award at this year’s South By Southwest Film Festival, which delighted its director Jennifer M. Kroot.

“It was great seeing the film resonate with the audience,” Kroot said. “Audience awards are the nicest ones to get. Armistead’s story and his take on what he calls ‘logical family’ is something everyone can relate to. It’s the idea of finding your own family.”

Kroot, a 48-year-old woman married to a man, considers this film to be the third in her trilogy of documentaries about artistic gay men in their golden years. She directed 2014’s “To Be Takei,” about actor/activist George Takei and 2009’s “It Came From Kuchar,” about twin underground filmmakers George and Mike Kuchar.

The Maupin documentary explores his conservative Southern childhood, his professional work and sexual adventures, as well as his current life with his husband, Christopher Turner. Actors Laura Linney and Sir Ian McKellen, authors Neil Gaiman and Amy Tan, as well as other celebrities, share their observations and recollections about Maupin.

His “Tales” introduced characters in what we now know as the LGBT community to the general public.

“When I was a child in the ‘70s in the Bay Area, my parents and their adult friends talked about ‘Tales of the City’,” Kroot recalled. “I was curious about it. I read it in 1994 and it resonated with me, living in the city and seeing inclusivity - LGBT and straight people living together. He’s the patron saint of San Francisco.”

Wood is a San Diego freelance writer.