Out on Film presented by WarnerMedia announces film lineup and special events for this year’s 33rd edition of the film festival (September 24-October 4). Cindy Abel’s SURVIVING THE SILENCE is the Opening Night selection, and Monica Zanetti’s ELLIE AND ABBIE (& ELLIE’S DEAD AUNT) gets the Closing Night nod Margaret Cho will receive the Out on Film Icon Award, Kevin Williamson will take part in a “Conversation of Film,” and Del Shores and cast will participate in a 20 th Anniversary screening of SORDID LIVES.
Out on Film presented by WarnerMedia announced the lineup of films and events for the 33rd edition of the Atlanta-based LGBTQIA+ film festival today, its first as an Oscar ® qualifying film festival. One of the few film festivals on the regional circuit that has grown in recent years (expanding from an 8-day event to an 11-day event), this year’s film festival will be a virtual edition taking place September 24-October 4.
Highlights will include the Opening Night screening of Cindy Abel’s celebrated documentary SURVIVING THE SILENCE, the Closing Night screening of Monica Zanetti’s crowd-pleasing prom comedy ELLIE AND ABBIE (& ELLIE’S DEAD AUNT), special anniversary screenings, the presentation of Out on Film’s Icon Award to Margaret Cho, and a “Conversation of Film” with SCREAM and Dawson’s Creek scribe Kevin Williamson.
Out on Film will once again offer a rich selection of LGBTQIA+ films curated from around the world. 39 features (24 narrative films, 15 documentaries), 15 shorts programs with 82 films and a webseries representing 20 countries will be screened this year.
Out on Film Festival Director, Jim Farmer, said, “2020 has been a challenging journey thus far for all of us, so along with the films that we have found from world cinema titles to award-winners, and films that have been popular thus far at other film festivals, the theme of the journey struck us for our special events with Margaret Cho and Kevin Williamson. She is a certified LGBTQIA+ icon (thus the award we will present to her) and he shaped pop culture in a major way during a heady period writing for film and television. Both have had a fascinating journey leading up to the peak of their cultural influence and beyond. As one of the longest running LGBTQIA+ film festivals, we embrace connecting those dots through our history as well as celebrating and presenting the best of the new films and filmmakers today.”
Out on Film will screen Abel’s documentary SURVIVING THE SILENCE as its opening night selection on Thursday, September 24. The Atlanta resident’s latest film focuses on the landmark 1992 military review of Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer for admitting she was a lesbian.
Presiding over the military review board was Colonel Pat Thompson, a decorated army nurse, who, herself, was a closeted lesbian. The screening will be followed by a Q&A including Cindy Abel, and the documentary’s principal subjects, Colonel Pat Thompson, Barbara Brass and Margarethe “Greta” Cammermeyer.
The Closing Night selection is Monica Zanetti’s Australian comedy ELLIE AND ABBIE (& ELLIE’S DEAD AUNT) which follows 17-year-old Ellie, who struggles to find the courage to ask her classmate, Abbie, to the formal. Luckily her Aunt Tara, a lesbian who died in the 80’s has shown up as a “Fairy Godmother” to dish out advice, whether Ellie wants it or not.
The recipient of this year’s Out on Film Icon Award, Margaret Cho has been an unstoppable entertainment force since she arrived on the comedy scene more than two decades ago. Cho’s stand up career began in the 90s and quickly reached the point where she had performed over 300 concerts within two years. Her groundbreaking, controversial, and short-lived ABC sitcom, All-American Girl (1994) soon followed. In 1999, her off Broadway one-woman show, I’m The One That I Want, toured the country to national acclaim and was made into a best-selling book and feature film of the same name. In 2001, she embarked on her Notorious C.H.O. smash-hit 37-city national tour that culminated in a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall. In March of 2003, Revolution yielded a CD recording which was nominated for a Grammy for Comedy Album of the Year. 2007 brought about the True Colors Tour with Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry and Erasure and others, benefiting the Human Rights Campaign.
Cho returned to TV in 2008 with the VH1 series, The Cho Show. After an international tour with her show Beautiful, it subsequently aired as a special on Showtime in 2009, and then released as both a DVD and a book. In 2009 she starred in the comedy/drama series Drop Dead Diva, which aired for six seasons on the Lifetime network and was filmed in Atlanta. Next up was Dancing with the Stars, and then 2010 culminated with her second Grammy Award nomination for “Comedy Album of the Year” for Cho Dependent, her incredibly funny collection of music featuring collaborations with Fiona Apple, Andrew Bird, Grant Lee Phillips, Tegan & Sara, Ben Lee and more. In 2012, she received an Emmy nomination for “Best Guest Performance” on Thirty Rock. In 2015, Cho was one of the hosts of TLC’s All About SEX, and debuted her Showtime special/DVD psyCHO. 2016 included the release of her next studio album, American Myth, and she was named special co-host of E!’s Fashion Police. Most recently, she has been a frequent presence on TV with appearances on everything from The Masked Singer to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Known for its special events, Out on Film will again deliver on that front with a 20-year anniversary screening of Cho’s classic comedy concert film I’m The One That I Want (2000), followed by a virtual interview with Cho, touching on aspects of her career, activism, and relationship with the LBTQIA+ community, a 20-year anniversary look at acclaimed writer/director Del Shores’ beloved comedy SORDID LIVES (2000), including a post-screening Q&A with Shores and TBA cast members. Out On Film favorite Chad Darnell (BIRTHDAY CAKE, and the upcoming THE UNDERTAKER’S WIFE) directs an all-star cast reading of beloved Atlanta playwright Topher Payne’s award-winning “Perfect Arrangement,” benefiting Rainbow House Coalition in Atlanta.
Another highlight will be Out on Film’s presentation of a special “Conversation on Film” with Kevin Williamson. The writer and major creative force behind Dawson’s Creek, The Vampire Diaries, and the SCREAM films, among countless others will talk about growing up gay in the South, his career, the relationship the LGBTQIA+ community has with horror, and why he believes they have responded so favorably to his work through the years.
Additional film highlights include; former Atlantan Anthony Bawn’s AS I AM, about a young man who makes an unexpected discovery about himself while trying to run form his past; Mike Mosallam’s romantic comedy BREAKING FAST, about a practicing Muslim still reeling from heartbreak, who makes a unforeseen connection with an All-American guy; Matt Fifer and Kieran Mulcare’s CICADA about a man who comes out to the world after trying to suppress his reality and date women, who develops an intense relationship with a man of color struggling with deep wounds of his own; Todd Verow’s GOODBYE SEVENTIES, a drama about a young man experiencing the golden age of gay pornography in New York City will make its world premiere; and one of Out on Film’s favorite filmmakers, Lisa Donato, making her feature film directorial debut with GOSSAMER FOLDS, about a boy uprooted and unwillingly moved to the suburbs of Kansas City, who bonds with his transgender next door neighbor (played by Empire’s Alexandra Grey). Each screening will be followed by Q&As with the filmmakers and cast.
Among the featured documentaries that will include Q&As with their directors and the films’ subjects include; Jen Rainin and Rivkah Beth Meadow’s AHEAD OF THE CURVE about the beginnings and growth of Curve magazine and founder Franco Stevens; Asaf Galay’s ARMY OF LOVERS IN THE HOLY LAND, a Best Documentary winner at the Haifa International FF, about the transition and life change the queer disco-pop band Army of Lovers went through when frontman Jean-Pierre Barda uprooted his existence to move from Sweden to Israel Eammon Ashton-Atkinson’s STEELERS: THE WORLD’S FIRST GAY RUGBY CLUB, which looks at London’s first gay rugby club and its beginnings in the mid 90s; and Posy Dixon’s KEYBOARD FANTASIES: THE BEVERLY GLENN-COPELAND STORY, which follows the curious story of Keyboard Fantasies, a recording of folk-electronica hybrid music that decades since its creation in obscurity in the mid-80s has unearthed fans today interested in its creator.
For information on purchasing passes, tickets, and additional details on Out on Film, please go to: outonfilm.org.