By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Outfest Los Angeles Fetes Winners

 OUTFEST LOS ANGELES LGBT FILM FESTIVAL 
ANNOUNCES 2017 AWARD WINNERS

Los Angeles, July 16, 2017 – Outfest – the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization promoting equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBT stories on the screen – has announced the award winners of its 2017 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival, presented by HBO.

The nation’s leading LGBT festival ran from July 6-16.  The 2017 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival closes tonight with Trudie Styler’s comedic Freak Show, starring Bette Midler, Alex Lawther, AnnaSophia Robb, Abigail Breslin, Ian Nelson, Larry Pine and featuring a cameo from Laverne Cox.

Outfest Los Angeles 2017 Award Winners
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Audience Awards

Best Documentary Short Audience Award
Little Potato, Directed by Wes Hurley and Nate Miller

Best Documentary Feature Audience Award
Chavela, Directed by Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi

Best Narrative Short Audience Award
The Real Thing, Directed by Brandon Kelley

Best Narrative Audience Award
The Chances, Created by Shoshanna Stern and Josh Feldman, Directed by Anna Kerrigan

Best Experimental Short Audience Award
Pussy, Directed by Renata Gasiorowska

Audience Award for Best First U.S. Narrative Feature
A Million Happy Nows, Directed by Albert Alarr
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Grand Jury Awards

Documentary Grand Jury Prize
We award Best Documentary Feature to Chavela, for its artistic style that elegantly and poetically brings together raw archival footage, animation, editing, and sound design.

Documentary Special Mention
For Excellence in Filmmaking we award a Special Jury mention to Girl Unbound: The War to Be Her, for its brave, humorous, and inspired depiction of Maria, a world class squash player and her rock star family who live on their own terms and challenge misconceptions of feminism and Islam in the Muslim and Western worlds. This film illustrates Maria’s nonbinary journey, her quest for athletic excellence and her desire to show all girls everywhere that, “Fear is taught. That you are born free and you are born brave.”

U.S. Narrative Jury Prize Best Actor 
For his quiet intensity in a fresh and non-traditional coming of age role and his on-screen transformation both physically and emotionally, the US Narrative Jury honors Luka Kain for his outstanding performance in Saturday Church. 

U.S. Narrative Jury Prize Best Actress
In a cast of strong female performances, she not only supported the ensemble cast but stood out with her comic timing and effortlessly hilarious presence. The US Jury Prize for Best Actress goes to Ever Mainard in The Feels.

Best Screenwriting in a U.S. Feature
For its naturalistic yet spare and unforced dialogue, even in the most harrowing of situations the award for Best Screenwriting in a U.S. Narrative goes to Eliza Hittman for Beach Rats.

U.S. Grand Jury Prize
For a delightful, well-acted and incisive romp into Chicago’s multi-cultural neighborhoods and a moving exploration of the unique bonds between mothers and daughters. Its inspiring message of love and acceptance explodes with humor and heart. We award the Best US Narrative Feature Film prize to Jennifer Reeder for Signature Move.

U.S. Narrative Special Mention
The US Narrative Jury would like to present a Special Mention for amplifying unheard voices with authenticity, highlighting the contemporary life of queer black woman with flair, vibrancy and substance to 195 Lewis.

International Grand Jury Prize
This film breaks new ground through skillful storytelling and stunning cinematography and an unflinching focus on masculinities – toxic or otherwise. The Jury Award for Best International Narrative Feature goes to the South African film The Wound, directed by John Trengove.

International Special Mention
For authentic, grounded storytelling that successfully captures a universal tale of youth, the International Narrative Feature Special Mention for Directing goes to Marcelo Caetano for his work on Body Electric.

Best Documentary Short
For its elegant storytelling, its economical sweep of history, and its sensitivity to lovers together in the struggle, whose intimate point of view enlightens and moves us to see the intricacies of the personal & political victories we can achieve together. The Best Documentary short prize goes to: Bayard & Me byMatt Wolf.

Creatively employing the few surviving archival interviews to illuminate a forthright, outspoken, dynamic and sexy old school butch who was unstoppable in her quest for equality & fairness for lesbians, women and the queer community. The Best Documentary short prize goes to Jeanne Cordova: Butches, Lies & Feminism by Gregorio Davila.

Documentary Short Special Mention
The Special Mention goes to Al Otro Lado (The Other Side), directed by Rodrigo Alvarez Flores and Pedazos, directed by Alejandro Pena.

Best Narrative Short
Demonstrating restraint in both dialogue and narrative while also presenting a rich visual tapestry in a claustrophobic household, the film portrays an intense, simmering passion between two women yearning to break free from the norms of sexuality and caste (class) in a matriarchal Indian household. The Best Narrative Short Film Award goes to Goddess (Devi), directed by Karishma Dube.
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Special Programming Awards

Emerging Talent
This assured debut feature film combines dreamy cinematography, honest and energetic performances, and snappy, contemporary dialogue, heralding the arrival of a fresh new voice in queer Asian cinema, the 2017 Programming Award for Emerging Talent goes to Samantha Lee for Maybe Tomorrow

Freedom
This long overdue biography of a civil rights icon merges empathetic documentary filmmaking with the tenacity of investigative journalism to highlight the injustices that trans people still face today, the 2017 Programming Award for Freedom goes to David France and Victoria Cruz for The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson. 

Artistic Vision 
For a chilling tale that blends Hitchcockian suspense filtered through the eerie Icelandic countryside with a rumination on the lingering effects of past trauma, the 2017 Programming Award for Artistic Achievement goes to Erlingur Thoroddsen for Rift.

Fox Inclusion Feature Film Award
Boys For Sale, Directed by Itako

Fox Inclusion Short Film Award
Ma, Directed by Vera Miao

To download stills, please visit: http://bit.ly/2sxxuby

ABOUT OUTFEST
Founded by UCLA students in 1982, Outfest is the world’s leading organization that promotes equality by creating, sharing and protecting LGBT stories on the screen. Outfest builds community by connecting diverse populations to discover, discuss and celebrate stories of LGBT lives. Over the past three decades, Outfest has showcased thousands of films from around the world, educated and mentored hundreds of emerging filmmakers, and protected more than 35,000 LGBT films and videos. Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival is eleven days of world-class films, panels, and parties.

ABOUT HBO
Home Box Office, Inc. is the premium television programming subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. and the world’s most successful pay TV service, providing the two television services – HBO® and Cinemax® – to approximately 131 million subscribers worldwide.  The services offer the popular subscription video-on-demand products HBO On Demand® and Cinemax On Demand®, as well as HBO GO® and MAX GO®, HD feeds and multiplex channels. HBO NOW®, the network’s internet-only premium streaming service, provides audiences with instant access to HBO’s acclaimed programming in the U.S. Internationally, HBO branded television networks, along with the subscription video-on-demand products HBO On Demand and HBO GO, bring HBO services to over 60 countries.  HBO and Cinemax programming is sold into over 150 countries worldwide.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin