Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Reverend's Preview: A Fusion of Films

The acceptance of GLBT people in Black, Latino and Asian cultures has been especially daunting but progress has been made. Contributing to this over the last decade is the proliferation of movies depicting the experience of being GLBT in these different ethnic groups. Los Angeles’s Outfest Fusion GLBT People of Color Film Festival has annually highlighted such works for the past 11 years. Its 2014 edition, presented by HBO, will take place March 14th-16th at the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. 

“The films this year are about our sense of humor, our courage and vitality, our faith and resilience, whether we’re gay dads, women in Morocco or teens in our own backyard,” said Tajmika Paxton, Outfest Fusion programmer. “Fusion means great films and diversity at its best.”

Blackbird, the eagerly awaited new film by Patrik-Ian Polk (Noah’s Arc), will open the fest on Friday, March 14th. Based on the 1986 novel by Larry Duplechan, it is about a young gay man’s coming of age in his small southern community. The movie’s impressive cast includes Academy Award winner Mo’Nique (Precious), Isaiah Washington (perhaps seeking to atone for his anti-gay remarks in 2007 on the set of Grey’s Anatomy) and, in the leading role, newcomer Julian Walker.

Actor-comedian Alec Mapa, known as “America’s Gaysian Sweetheart,” will be honored with the 2014 Fusion Achievement Award on Saturday, March 15th. Mapa has turned in memorable performances in Broadway’s M. Butterfly as well as on TV’s Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty, among many other roles.

“Alec’s performances and comedy have made us laugh, think and, most importantly, they have inspired us,” states Outfest’s Executive Director, Kirsten Schaffer. “He has contributed so much to GLBT arts and media visibility, and we are incredibly excited and happy to honor him with this award.” The award will be presented to Mapa by Golden Globe-winning actress Sandra Oh (Sideways, Grey’s Anatomy) just prior to the world premiere screening of his one-man concert film, Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy.

Additional world premieres during this year’s Fusion will be out director Quentin Lee’s Secrets & Toys, about a mother and daughter who discover each other’s secrets through a comedy of errors, and You Are Dead to Me, a dramatic short film starring trans actress Harmony Santana (Gun Hill Road).

Outfest Fusion 2014 will also feature the US debut of Korean filmmaker Leesong Hee-il’s White Night and the LA premiere of the lesbian feature What It Was, by Daniel Armando. Jonathan Menendez’s enlightening documentary Gay Latino LA: Coming of Age will also be screened.

Complete information and ticket sales can be accessed at the Outfest Fusion website.

Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Rage Monthly Magazine.

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