August 2, 2017 at 11:08 pm PDT | by Dan Allen
Outfest 2017 best of show

David France (‘How to Survive a Plague’) probes the mysterious death of early LGBT activist Masha P. Johnson. (Photo by Amanda Rubin)

2017’s Outfest is now in the rearview mirror and the race is now on to find a way to capitalize on the show.  Directors and producers, after being awarded, will continue on the film festival circuit and some will wide-release while others will continue looking for distribution deals. 

But there were clearly some great competitors and entries.

After 11 hot and heady July days of premieres, parties, stars, screenings, talks, tears, laughter and applause, Outfest’s fantastic 35th anniversary edition is now a wrap. But if you missed any of the festival’s film highlights, never fear: Many of Outfest 2017’s top selections, including several of its Jury and Audience award winners, are coming back soon to theaters, TVs and monitors near you.

Here’s what to watch for, and when.

4 DAYS IN FRANCE (Jours de France)

Opens August 11, Ahrya Fine Arts

With Grindr as one of its main plot-drivers, this quirky French dramedy follows 30-something Pierre as he curiously leaves Paris to head into the countryside for a series of random social and sexual encounters, while his distraught partner Paul tries to track him via the gay dating app.

BEACH RATS

Opens August 25, theater(s) TBA

Writer-director Eliza Hittman took home the Outfest prize for Best Screenwriting in a U.S. Feature for this outer-edge-Brooklyn tale of 19-year-old Frankie (talented UK hottie Harris Dickinson), whose raging manlust is at odds with the working-class bro life he cultivates with his boardwalk-hanging buddies.

WHITNEY. “CAN I BE ME”

Prmeieres August 25, Showtime

This controversial documentary delves into some of the biggest behind-the-scenes rumors about Whitney Houston’s life, including her allegedly intimate relationship with long-time assistant Robyn Crawford, and attempts by the star and others to battle her addictions.

THE WOUND (Inxeba)

Opens September 8, Laemmle Royal

Outfest’s International Grand Jury Prize went to this powerful South African story of Xolani (out musician Nakhane Touré), who, during his annual pilgrimage to his rural tribal homeland to help initiate boys into manhood, has his deepest secret threatened by a rebellious young ward.

KEVYN AUCOIN: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST IN ME

Premieres September 14, Logo

Celebrity makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin is profiled in this biography that’s both fabulous and touching, largely made with footage Aucoin himself shot while making up some of the world’s top models and celebrities, including Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Cher, Janet Jackson, Liza Minnelli and Tina Turner.

STRONG ISLAND

Opens September 15, Monica Film Center

Winner of the Special Jury Award for Storytelling at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, this moving doc is trans filmmaker Yance Ford’s exploration of his brother’s murder on Long Island 25 years ago, and its permanent repercussions on his family.

CHAVELA trailer from Aubin Pictures on Vimeo.

CHAVELA

Opens October 6, theater(s) TBA

Iconic Mexican singer Chavela Vargas is fondly remembered in this film — winner of Outfest’s Audience Award for Best Documentary — that traces her life as an unapologetically macho and woman-loving belter of poignant ranchera ballads who was nearly silenced at one point by her own hard-drinking ways, only to have a late-career rebirth of even greater international fame.

GOD’S OWN COUNTRY

Opens October 27, theater(s) TBA

In this very male romance that’s been called “the British BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN,” young Yorkshire sheep farmer Johnny has resigned himself to a bleak and loveless life, until the arrival of studly Romanian migrant worker Gheorghe changes everything. The film won the World Cinema Directing Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON

Opens in October, exact dates & theater(s) TBA; later to Netflix

When the body of pioneering LGBTQ rights activist Marsha P. Johnson was found in the Hudson River in 1992, her death was deemed a suicide by the NYPD. This long overdue documentary, which picked up Outfest’s Programming Award for Freedom this year, traces Johnson’s courageous life, and reinvestigates the possible causes of her death.

 

FREAK SHOW

Opens in November, exact dates & theater(s) TBA

This crowd-pleasing Outfest 2017 closing night film stars Alex Lawther (THE IMITATION GAME) as the unapologetically flamboyant Billy Bloom, who shakes things up at his conservative Florida school by running for homecoming queen. Bette Midler and Laverne Cox costar in the adaptation of a James St. James story.

 

SIGNATURE MOVE

Opens late 2017, dates & theater(s) TBA

The winner of Outfest’s Best US Narrative Feature Film prize this year is the lighthearted and tender story of somewhat-repressed thirty-something Chicagoan Zaynab, who falls for extroverted Mexican-American Alma, all the while discovering lucha libre wrestling as a release from the pressures of taking care of her Pakistan-born mother (played by Indian actress Shabana Azmi, who starred in the groundbreaking 1996 Indian lesbian-themed film FIRE).

 

RIFT (Rökkur)

Opens late 2017, dates & theater(s) TBA

Icelandic director Erlingur Thoroddsen won this year’s Programming Award for Artistic Achievement for his taut and beautiful thriller, in which Gunnar follows his ex-boyfriend Einar into Iceland’s rugged and haunting countryside, where, as they re-face the forces that drove them apart, someone or something is out to get them.

THE UNTOLD TALES OF ARMISTEAD MAUPIN

Opens late 2017, dates & theater(s) TBA

Director Jennifer M. Kroot (TO BE TAKEI) profiles author Armistead Maupin in this loving documentary, tracing his journey from Southern aristocrat to closeted conservative to chronicler of San Francisco gay culture, via his newspaper-serial-turned book-series Tales of the City.

I DREAM IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE (Sueño en otro idioma)

Opens late 2017, dates & theater(s) TBA

When a young university linguist travels to a small Mexican jungle town to save a dying language, he discovers that its last two native speakers haven’t spoken to each in decades — because, he finally realizes, they were once in love.

 

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