July 13, 2018 at 10:43 am PST | by John Paul King
Your daily guide to Outfest 2018: July 13

Matt Smith stars as “Mapplethorpe,” screening tonight at Outfest. Image courtesy Interloper Films.

Outfest is a great event for LA film fans, but it can be a little intimidating.  With so many films and events to choose from, it can be difficult to even know where to start.  That’s why the Los Angeles Blade is here to break it all down for you, on a daily basis.

For the duration of the festival, we’ll be posting a daily roundup here with a brief look at the selections of the day.  Whether you’re a hard-core movie buff who plans to see as many screenings as possible, or a casual moviegoer looking for a date night treat, we’ve got you covered!

Just take a look at the offerings of the day and then head on over to www.outfest.org for ticket information.

You’re welcome!

The venues for tonight are:


DGA 1 and DGA 2, at Director’s Guild of America, 7920 Sunset Blvd., L.A., 90046

Harmony Gold Theatre, 7655 W. Sunset Blvd., L.A., 90046

REDCAT: Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theatre at Walt Disney Concert Hall, 631 W. 2nd St., Downtown L.A., 90012


Mapplethorpe (7pm, DGA 1): Ondi Timoner directed this unflinching biopic of the life and career of iconic artist Robert Mapplethorpe, the renegade queer photographer made famous by his striking black-and-white images of phalluses and flowers.  Starring Matt Smith (“Doctor Who,” “The Crown”) as Mapplethorpe, and set in the gay leather communities and highbrow galleries of New York City in the 70s and 80s, the film takes a chronological look at the influences and practices that captured male homo-erotic desire so poignantly in the face of the devastating toll of the AIDS crisis.  This one promises to be a must-see, but it will have a second screening on Sunday, July 22 – so unless you want to attend the post-show reception afterwards, you might opt instead for one of this evening’s one-night only offerings.


“Bitter Melon.” Image courtesy of Outfest.

Bitter Melon (7pm, Harmony Gold):  The latest film from director H.P. Mendoza, best known for his micro-budget work as screenwriter, composer and lyricist on “Colma: The Musical (2006), and his follow-up directorial debut, “Fruit Fly (2010).  Declan returns home to spend the holidays with his Filipino-American family and finds that the insensitive way they treat his sexuality is the least of his worries; as he and his siblings tiptoe around his freeloading brother’s volatile personality, long-buried secrets are revealed to set in motion a hilarious plan of revenge.  Described as a “black comedy with heart,” this outrageous entry deftly explores toxic masculinity and abuse— both emotional and physical—with absurdity and true empathy.  Preceded by “He Drinks” (Dir: Michael Varrati, 6 min.).




“Cake,” part of “Crazy Kinky Cool.” Image courtesy of Outfest.

Crazy Kinky Cool (DGA 2, 7:15pm):  Sexy, unpredictable, and playing by nobody’s rules but their own, this program of kinky girls’ shorts, curated by Charlie Hidalgo, is guaranteed to get your blood pumping and keep you up all night. From a home delivery sexbot, to a raunchy bathroom rendez-vous, over the course of these six films imagination transforms into reality as our fearless heroines take pleasure into their own hands and discover that desire can be found where they least expect it.  Dragonfire (Dir: Michelle Ehlen, 4 min.), Cake (Dir: Anne Hu, 10 min.), Dressed For Pleasure (Je Fais Où Tu Me Dis) (Dir: Marie de Maricourt, 17 min.), Girl Talk (Dir: Erica Rose, 17 min.), Library Hours (Dir: Jim Vendiola, 11 min.), The Toilet Line (Dir: Goodyn Green, 13 min.).


Our Future Ends (REDCAT, 8:30pm):   This darkly comedic satire connects threats of extinction to wildlife and marginalized communities by asking: “Will queer culture go out with a stylish bang, or will the spirits of Lemuria inspire us to preserve our fabulousness?”  Springing from the creative mind of trans director, writer, and animator Clement Hil Goldberg, this multimedia and multidisciplinary satire envisions both near-extinct lemurs and long-lost Lemuria.  Lemuria (a precursor to the occult city of Atlantis) was an imagined site of catastrophic loss populated by Lemurians, queer prehistoric entities that went extinct alongside the Atlanteans.  Goldberg’s work illuminates the at-risk nature of queer spaces as well as the world’s most endangered mammal, the lemur. While Lemurians confront their crystals, pill-popping lemurs struggle to survive as parallel extinction stories unfold through stop-motion animation, and live performance.  Come with them all to this dance party on the brink.


“Alone in the Game.” Image courtesy of Outfest.

Alone in the Game (DGA 2, 9:30pm):  Directed by Natalie Metzger and Michael Rohrbaugh, this inspirational documentary follows a number of LGBTQ athletes, including Robbie Rogers (Major League Soccer), Layana White (NCAA basketball player), Gus Kenworthy (freestyle skier and Olympic silver medalist), Megan Rapinoe (soccer, Olympic gold medalist), and Trevor Betts, a trans high school athlete, charting their social and legal challenges within the schools, sports leagues, and within their own families, as well as their triumphs in the face of great adversity.  A landmark look at the experience of being queer in the world of sports, this AT&T-produced movie can be viewed on demand on their Audience Network – but it’s worth seeing on the big screen, and there’s a pre-show reception in the DGA atrium starting at 7:30pm.


Looking For? (你找什麼?) (DGA 1, 9:45pm):  Young Taiwanese filmmaker Tung-Yen Chou is a native of Taipei, Taiwan who works primarily in videos and theatre. In this charming, infectious documentary, he explores the mysteries of dating apps, searching for a love of his own as he questions gay men around the world about their intimate experiences on hookup apps. Can Grindr lead you to the love of your life? This refreshingly raw and far too relatable look into digital romance is a snapshot of the moment that lays out all the sexy details on the table.  Preceded by: “Queer Cruising: Gay Semiotics & Avemaria” (Dir: Jeff Verlanic, 20 min.).


“Bonding.” Image courtesy of Outfest.

Bonding (Harmony Gold, 9:45pm):  An episodic series about two long-lost high school BFFs, Pete (Brendan Scannell), a recently out gay man, and Tiff (Zoe Levin), a grad student, who hope to pick up right where they left off. But Tiff has a secret: she’s one of NYC’s top dominatrixes, and she’s about to tie Pete up in her underground world of sexual secrecy and BDSM. The dramedy series is loosely based on the life experiences of Rightor Doyle (HBO’s “Barry,” FX’s “You’re the Worst”), who wrote, directed, and executive produced the series.  The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the cast and crew.


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