Individual tickets and festival passes now available
by: Morgan M. Hurley | Editor
FilmOut, San Diego’s LGBTQ film festival, has announced the lineup for their 23rd annual event, which will take place Thursday, Sept. 7 through Sunday, Sept. 10. Festivities will be held in two locations, both in Balboa Park: The opening night film and its associated opening night party will take place at the San Diego Natural History Museum (The NAT), and the rest of the films will be screened at the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA).
Featured films of the four day festival include works that have already received accolades at Sundance, SXSW, and the Berlin film festivals, as well as other independent films and short films. The FilmOut board has spent countless hours over the past year screening hundreds of films to curate the unique selections chosen for the festival.
“This year we received over 350 submissions, making it a challenge to narrow it down to a few dozen films,” said festival Program Manager Michael McQuiggan. “That being said, we are truly offering a diverse selection of feature films, short films and documentaries. From films that represent local San Diego filmmakers to highlighting many U.S and International films, there is something for all to enjoy at FilmOut’s 23rd LGBTQ film festival.”
In a recent press release, the organization also stated: “FilmOut San Diego annually affirms the ongoing integrity and boundless imagination of our community and the artists who tell our stories. The Board of Directors believes its work is an integral part of an ongoing effort to build a vibrant, affirming and sustainable LGBTQ community in San Diego County.”
Several filmmakers and cast members of various films plan to attend the festival and participate in audience Q&A’s immediately after their respective screenings.
All films can be seen individually for $15 each, except the opening ($50) and closing ($30) films, allowing you to create your own festival experience; or attendees can purchase an “all access pass” for $150, which includes all films, shorts, and both parties.
Special note, there will be no food or drink in any of the festival areas at MOPA; only water will be allowed. However, organizers state that there is a deli outside MOPA’s lobby, where attendees can grab a soda or sandwich. Also, there are several eating establishments in Balboa Park within walking distance, where you can have a full meal and even cocktails.
OPENING NIGHT FILM
The Opening Night Film, “Glitter & Doom,” a USA/Mexico selection directed by Tom Gustafson, starts at 7 pm on Thursday, Sept. 7, at The NAT, located at 1788 El Prado, which is across the fountain from the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. Run time is 115 minutes. “Glitter” will be shown with the animated short film, “Aikane.” An opening night party will follow the screening and last until 11:30 pm. Everything is included in the ticket price.
Note: Thursday night is the only time a festival screening will take place at The NAT. All other aspects of this four-day event will take place at MOPA, located at 1649 El Prado (just a short walk from The NAT) next to the San Diego History Museum.
- The festival continues Friday, Sept. 8, at 1 pm with “Eismayer,” an 87-minute 2022 film from German filmmaker David Wagner. This film brings back the anguish of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” with Austrian Army Sergeant Major Eismayer trying to reconcile his unexpected feelings for a male recruit and his career. This story is based on real events.
- At 3 pm, “Studio One Forever” is a 2023 USA film directed by Marc Saltarelli, which runs 94 minutes. This film explores how a West Hollywood disco club became a “mecca” for gay men seeking their identity between the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s. It became a “staging ground” for LGBT activists for the fight for our rights and the AIDS crisis. Cameos include Chita Rivera, Melissa Rivers, Lance Bass, Bruce Vilanch, Thelma Houston, and many others.
- At 5 pm, the 2022 French film, “Lie With Me (Arrete Avec Tes Mensonges)” by Olivier Peyton, will screen for 98 minutes. A brand ambassador returns to his hometown for the first time in decades and meets his first love’s son, bringing up passionate memories. $15.
- At 7 pm, “The Mattachine Family,” a 2023 USA film by director Andy Valentine, was named Festival Spotlight. A gay couple fosters a child for a year but then changes take place which make them reassess their lives. Stars Heather Matarazzo, Emily Hampshire, Jake Choi, Garrett Clayton and runs 99 minutes. “Mattachine” will be shown with the short film, “Honey & Milk.”
- At 9:15 pm, the Israeli film, “In Bed (Keilu Ein Mahar)” from director Nitzan Gilady screens. “An unflinching look at party culture with a fast-paced electronic soundtrack … and immersive cinematography.” This 85-minute erotic gay thriller is for adults only due to its sexually explicit content.
On Saturday, Sept. 9, which is proudly sponsored by LGBTQ San Diego County News, films will be screened for a full day, with the following schedule:
- At 11 am, come see the “Best of LGBTQ Shorts” with eight different LGBTQ short films, all less than 20 minutes each. This year’s selections include a thriller, a couple comedies, and several poignant dramas. Total run time is 120 minutes.
- At 1 pm, the Women’s Centerpiece, “Silver Haze,” will be presented. Directed by Sacha Polak, this 102-minute, 2023 film from Netherlands/UK is the coming of age story of two young women with anger, volatility, and revenge as back drops in their lives. Shown with the short film, “Nature’s Bounty.”
- At 3 pm, the festival’s U.S. Spotlight, “Our Son,” stars Billy Porter, Luke Evans and Phylicia Rashad. This 2023 film was directed by Bill Oliver and runs 103 minutes. Described as a “gay Kramer vs. Kramer,” “Our Son” explores long term relationships and parenting amidst the challenges of individual journeys, career changes, friendship circles and romantic pursuits.
- At 5 pm, “Commitment to Life,” directed by Jeffrey Schwarz, screens. The documentary film uses first-person interviews to explore Los Angeles’ critical role in the battle against HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and how movie stars, studio moguls, activists and doctors came together for change.
- At 7:15 pm, the Men’s Centerpiece, “Shoulder Dance.” This USA film directed by Jay Arnold has a 103-minute screening time and will be shown with the short film, “Polywood.” The film is about two best friends who have not seen each other in decades and a reunion sparks passion, despite one of them being in a long term relationship.
- At 9:30 pm is another sexually explicit film, “Trace of Your Lips (La Huella de unos Labios).” Directed by Julian Hernandez, it explores two men who live across the hall from each other during the pandemic who find ways to connect virtually until they must meet in person.
On Sunday, Sept. 9, another amazing day of LGBTQ cinema awaits.
- Starting at 11 am, “Intersectional Lens: The Black, Queer, and Trans Experience,” a 2022 film about the challenges of being black in San Diego. Named this year’s San Diego Filmmaker Spotlight, this hour-long documentary is the work of the San Diego Black LGBTQ+ Coalition and tells the story of those who are Black and identify with San Diego’s LGBTQ community. Directed by Pamuela Halliwell and Todd A. Jackson, the film is shown with two short films “Diving for Rays,” and “Bistro #1.”
- At 1 pm, “Chasing ‘Chasing Amy;” screens, and this documentary focuses on the 1997 cult-classic film by Kevin Smith, which was not that well-received by the LGBTQ community. Directed by Sav Rodgers – who identifies the film as “life saving” for his young queer self – interviews with the cast and crew as well as thought leaders within the LGBTQ community as both a tribute and an analysis of the film. Shown with the short film, “Her Curve.”
- At 3 pm, the film chosen as the International Spotlight, “Three Nights a Week (Trois Nuits Par Semaine),” was directed by Florent Gouelou and explores the drag scene in Paris, where a straight man falls for a drag queen while pursuing a project. The 103-minute French film will be shown with the short film, “Your Scissors in My Ear.”
- At 5 pm, the 90-minute, USA film, “Big Boys” screens, telling the coming-of-age story of a young teen on a camping trip with an older girl he thought he loved, until she brings her boyfriend along. Directed by Corey Sherman, the film is described as both “hilarious and heartwarming.” “Big Boys” will be shown with the short film, “Toe Tag.”
- Sunday’s closing night film to end the festival will be “Golden Delicious,” by Jason Karman. “Golden Delicious” will start at 7:15 pm, and has a run time of 115 minutes. Attendees are welcome to attend a dessert reception after the screening at MOPA until 10:30 pm.
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
At 7 pm, get ready for the Closing Night Film, “Golden Delicious,” a 120-minute, Canadian film by Jason Karman about a high school senior being pulled in different directions, none of which he is not ready for; enter a new high-school aged neighbor who helps clarify his path in more ways than one. Shown with the short film, “The Dalles.” Following this film is the Closing Night Dessert Reception at MOPA. Everything is included in the individual or all access ticket price.
There are various parking areas at Balboa Park, so parking should not be a problem, and festival goers can also find ample parking along Park Boulevard.
For complete festival ticket info, screening updates, much more detail on each feature-length and short film, sponsorships and volunteer information, visit FilmOutSanDiego.com. You can also follow them on Facebook at FilmOut San Diego or on Instagram/Twitter at @FilmOutSD.
—Morgan M. Hurley is the editor-in-chief of this newspaper. You can reach her at [email protected].