With its dizzying lineup of 240 films and videos in 26 languages from 33 countries, Outfest 2019 will once again be sheer nirvana for LGBTQ movie-lovers. But where to begin in navigating its busy schedule, which runs for 11 full days from July 18 to 28? We’ve broken it all down to bring you the can’t-miss highlights for this 37th edition of LA’s beloved LGBTQ film fest.
Best gay coming-of-age tale: This Is Not Berlin
Teens Carlos and Gera discover the gay-friendly bohemian subculture of 1980s Mexico City.
Best lesbian coming-of-age tale: To the Stars
Loner Iris has her 1960s rural Oklahoma world rocked by carefree newcomer Maggie.
Best queer coming-of-age horror comedy: Bit
Small town trans girl Laurel moves to Los Angeles, where she’s courted by a group of feminist vampires.
Best gay romance co-starring Grindr: End of the Century
Argentine New Yorker Ocho and Spanish Berliner Javi find sex and love on the beaches of Barcelona.
Best gay thriller co-starring Grindr: Sequin in a Blue Room
An Australian teen obsessively searches for the mysterious man he hooked up with at an anonymous sex party.
Best famous lesbian bio-pic: Vita & Virginia
Authors Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West find turbulent love in 1920s London.
Best French farce about gay water polo: The Shiny Shrimps
Hilarity ensues when a homophobic French Olympic swimmer reluctantly takes a coaching job for a campy gay water polo team.
Best steamy polyamorous lesbian road movie: The Daughters of Fire
Three women set off in a van from southern Argentina on a liberating polyamorous journey.
Best doc about a gay porn star: Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life
Famed documentarian Tomer Heymann follows the life of Israeli porn sensation Jonathan Agassi.
Best doc about trans fatherhood: Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth
English trans man Freddy McCall faces myriad challenges as he carries his own child.
Best doc about an LA gay institution: Circus of Books
LA’s iconic gay bookstore is fondly remembered in this Outfest Opening Night Gala film.
Best drag race doc that doesn’t involve RuPaul: Why Can’t I Be Me? Around You
Albuquerque mechanic and drag race fan Rusty Tidenberg navigates transition against a conservative Southwestern backdrop.
Best Drag Race doc that does involve RuPaul: Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” champ and internet sensation Trixie Mattel is profiled in this behind-the-scenes look featuring many other “RPDR” queens.
Best doc about the movie Showgirls: You Don’t Nomi
How the 1995 movie “Showgirls,” once considered a colossal flop, went on to become a camp classic.
Best Roma lesbian love story: Carmen & Lola
Spanish teens Carmen and Lola find love despite the conservative traditions of their Roma families.
Best Chinese family drama with a gay twist: A Dog Barking at The Moon
Xiaoyu returns to China with her American husband, only to become embroiled in the feud between her gay father and her cult-inducted mother.
Best Judy Garland doc: Sid & Judy
A look at the rocky but resonating romance of Judy Garland and her third husband, Sid Luft.
Best love story involving mistaken trans identity: Adam
The younger brother of a queer NYC college student romances her female friend, who believes he’s trans.
In “Fireflies,” gay Iranian refugee Ramin explores freer life in Mexico; in “Label Me,” Syrian gay-for-pay hustler Waseem seeks asylum in Germany; and the American doc “Unsettled” follows LGBTQ refugees from Angola, Congo and Syria.
Best hetero-curious millennial love story: Straight Up
James Sweeney wrote, directed and stars as young gay Angeleno Todd, who’s determined to try to date women.
In José (winner of the Venice Film Festival’s Queer Lion), a poor Guatemalan teen explores his gay identity; in “Temblores,” a middle-aged man is forced into conversion therapy by his family.
Best one-country LGBTQ study: Queer Japan
The full spectrum of Japan’s LGBTQ rainbow is explored in this fascinating doc.
Best doc about trans athletes: Changing the Game
Three brave high school students blaze a path for young trans athletes.
Best gay Italian grandpa love story: An Almost Ordinary Summer
Wealthy Tony and blue-collar Carlo shock their families when they announce their engagement.
Best doc about preserving lesbian heritage: The Archivettes
A look at New York-based Lesbian Herstory Archives and the personal lives of its volunteer archivists.
Best doc about Brazil’s gay leather scene: Mr. Leather
São Paulo’s sexy leather scene takes center stage as five men vie for Mr. Leather Brazil.
The groundbreaking 1968 doc “The Queen,” featuring NYC drag legends Flawless Sabrina and Crystal Labeija, is screened in its newly restored Kino Lorber print; the iconic exploration of black gay maleness “Tongues Untied” celebrates its 30th anniversary; and marking three decades too is “Common Threads,” the Oscar-winning doc about the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Go to festival.outfest.org/2019 to purchase tickets and for more info on this year’s Outfest.