Outfest Makes History with Opening and Closing Films Directed by Trans Artists

The 41st annual Outfest, Los Angeles’ premier LGBTQ+ film festival, is making history with its 2023 lineup.

The festival (July 13-23) will for the first time open and close with films created by trans artists: “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” (directed by Aitch Alberto) will kick off the festivities on July 13, with the 11-day event closing with “Chasing Chasing Amy” (directed by Sav Rodgers). The Opening Night Gala will screen at the Orpheum Theatre, with the Closing Night Gala screening at The Montalbán Theatre. More films in the lineup will be announced soon.

These events also represent a homecoming for both Alberto and Rodgers, both of whom are alumni of Outfest’s Artist Development programs.

“Aristotle and Dante,” based on Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s beloved young adult novel, centers on the friendship between two teenage Mexican-American boys in 1987 El Paso. Max Pelayo and Reese Gonzales star along with Eugenio Derbez, Eva Longoria, Veronica Falcón, and Kevin Alejandro. The film was acclaimed out of the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival and will be released by Blue Fox Entertainment in the U.S. later. Alberto was named among IndieWire’s 22 female directors to watch in 2022 and among Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch that same year.

Meanwhile, the documentary “Chasing Chasing Amy” examines Kevin Smith’s cult 1997 indie’s complicated legacy to the LGBTQ+ community. The film followers director Rodgers as he investigates the film’s history and how it profoundly changed his own queer journey as a trans man. Smith, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee, and Guinevere Turner participate in the documentary. Outfest Executive Director Christopher Racster, Andrew Ahn, Princess Weekes, Trish Bendix, and Bob Hawk are also among the talking heads. The film world premieres at Tribeca Festival in New York this month.

Tickets and passes to Outfest Los Angeles will be available beginning June 20. Visit OutfestLA.org for more information.

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