August 26, 2020 at 6:27 pm PDT | by Dan Allen
8 great movies you can still catch at Outfest’s first virtual festival

August 30 is Closing night at Outfest 2020’s Under the Stars Drive-in at Calamigos Ranch & Resort in Malibu will feature “Two Eyes,” Travis Fine’s new film starring Benjamin Rigby, Kiowa Gordon, Uly Schlesinger, Jessica Allain, Ryan Cassata, and Kate Bornstein.

Outfest 2020 is already entering its final stretch, but thanks to the flexible format of its first-ever virtual lineup, there’s still plenty of excellent queer cinema and related programming on tap in the coming days—and indeed in the coming year, since the all-access pass grants access not just to the 11-day festival itself, but also to a full 12 months of Outfest Now, its new year-round screening platform.

For those who’re itching to safely get out of the house and catch some choice LGBTQ flicks on the big screen, the festival is also presenting several select movies under the banner “Outfest LA Under the Stars,” with six more drive-in screenings this weekend at the beautiful Calamigos Ranch in Malibu.

Access to this year’s virtual Outfest screenings can be purchased individually, but the all-access pass is a steal at just $49.99—especially since it also includes the year-long access to Outfest Now. Digital screenings (available for 72 hours from time of release) can be viewed at OutfestNow.com and across most popular platforms, including iOS, Android, FireTV, AppleTV and Roku. Tickets for drive-in screenings are $30 per vehicle, plus $8 per occupant.

Here are our top picks for the films still on tap at Outfest 2020:

The Capote Tapes: Dir. Ebs Burnough | USA | 2019 | English | 91 mins

The Capote Tapes
Truman Capote was one of the most famous—and infamous—gays of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, the talented writer of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood” whose addictions to booze, fame, high society and bitchy gossip left his continued literary promise unfulfilled. Based on a series of never-before-heard audio interviews made by George Plimpton for his 1997 oral biography of Capote, this enlightening documentary, at turns deliciously fun and darkly tragic, reilluminates one of the 20th century’s most fascinating queer figures.
Available on Outfest Now from 12:01am on Friday, August 28 until midnight Sunday, August 30

The Obituary Of Tunde Johnson: BREAKTHROUGH CENTERPIECE: Dir. Ali LeRoi | USA | 2019 | English | 104 mins

The Obituary Of Tunde Johnson
To call director Ali LeRoi’s debut feature timely would be a colossal understatement. Filmed last year but eerily set on May 28, 2020—the same week as George Floyd’s murder—this is the powerful tale of Black Los Angeles teenager Tunde Johnson, stuck in an unending “Groundhog Day”-like loop of coming out to his parents in the morning, hooking up with his female best friend’s boyfriend during the day, and being gunned down by LAPD officers in the evening. As he continues to live out the same fateful day, Tunde finds that he can change his behavior, but probably not the racism that shapes his destiny.
Available on Outfest Now until midnight Saturday, August 29

Ahead Of The Curve: Dir. Jen Rainin | USA | 2020 | English | 97 mins

Ahead of the Curve
Just over 30 years ago, 23-year-old Franco Stevens envisioned a successful glossy magazine written by the world’s lesbians for the world’s lesbians. Franco’s funding path may have been unconventional (she pulled cash from several brand new credit cards, then took that wad to the racetrack), but her betting prowess and her subsequent tenacity resulted in the longest-running global lesbian magazine of all time, Curve (or Deneuve, as it was known until a 1996 lawsuit by the same-named French actress). Looking back on the three decades since, Franco and others (including current editor Merryn Johns) reflect on the magazine’s legacy and its future.
Available on Outfest Now from 12:01am on Friday, August 28 until midnight Sunday, August 30. Also screening live at “Outfest LA Under the Stars” on Friday, August 28 at 7:45pm

P.S. Burn This Letter Please: Dir. Jennifer Tiexiera, Michael Seligman | USA | 2019 | English | 101 mins

P.S. Burn This Letter Please
After a box of juicy old letters is discovered in the storage bin of a recently-passed Hollywood luminary, filmmakers Michael Seligman and Jennifer Tiexiera set about finding the letters’ long lost writers—and in doing so uncover the vivid underworld of 1950s New York City drag royalty. Originally slated for world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival until the pandemic struck, this tender and truly fascinating doc reveals a real-life cadre of fierce and brazen big city queens, as remembered by their still-feisty and powerfully endearing octo- and nonagenarian selves.
No longer available on Outfest Now, but screening live at “Outfest LA Under the Stars” on Saturday, August 29 at 8:00pm

Minyan: Dir. Eric Steel | USA | 2020 | English, Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian, German with English subtitles | 118 mins

Minyan
Samuel H. Levine from the London and New York stage hit “The Inheritance” stars in this portrait of David, a 1980s Brooklyn Yeshiva student whose coming of age coincides with the advent of the AIDS crisis. Director Eric Steel’s first narrative feature delicately explores David’s quest to balance family, tradition and his own budding identity, as showcased through the subtle cinematography of Ole Bratt Birkeland, who also shot last year’s “Judy.”
Available on Outfest Now from 12:01am on Friday, August 28 until midnight Sunday, August 30. Also screening live at “Outfest LA Under the Stars” on Friday, August 29 at 7:45pm

Freedia Got A Gun: Dir. Chris McKim | USA | 2020 | English | 89 mins

Freedia Got A Gun
Already a veteran documentee through her Fuse series “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce,” here New Orleans’ Big Freedia turns her attention directly toward the issue of gun violence, made very personal by the tragic 2018 murder of her younger brother. Freedia walks us through her journey, and shares how gun violence has impacted her life—not limited by any means to her brother, as Freedia estimates that she’s known between 60 and 70 people killed by guns—and the lives of so many other Black residents of New Orleans. The film is executive produced by New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, who also provides wider context for the ongoing national plague of gun violence.
Available on Outfest Now until midnight Saturday, August 29

Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt): Dir. Monica Zanetti | Australia | 2020 | English | 80 mins

Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt)
In this comically haunted twist on the coming out story, Australian teen Ellie seems to be at the top of her game, pulling perfect grades and mustering the courage to ask out her classmate Abbie. The sudden arrival of the ghost of Ellie’s dead lesbian aunt seems at first to turn her world upside down, but ultimately her new “fairy” godmother helps Ellie navigate the timeless trials of learning to live honestly and falling in love.
Available on Outfest Now from 12:01am on Friday, August 28 until midnight Sunday, August 30

Two Eyes
Outfest 2020’s Closing Night film is the world premiere of Travis Fine’s long-anticipated directorial follow-up to the 2012 Alan Cumming-starrer “Any Day Now.” In this trio of interwoven Western stories, a young artist finds inspiration from the perceptions of his Native American guide while exploring 19th century Montana; a questioning teen in 1970s Barstow finds motivation in the free spirit of a newly-arrived exchange student; and a trans teen in present-day Wyoming finds solace in the understanding of his non-binary therapist (played by the iconic Kate Bornstein). The connective tissue of these three stories speaks to the healing power of community, especially among queer people.
Available on Outfest Now from 12:01am on Sunday, August 30 until midnight Tuesday, September 1. Also screening live at “Outfest LA Under the Stars” on Sunday, August 30 at 8pm

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