Atlanta’s LGBT film festival Out On Film will open its 27th annual international event on October 2 with the film “Blackbird,” starring Academy Award winner Mo’Nique, Isaiah Washington (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and newcomer Julian Walker. The film is directed by Patrick-Ian Polk (“Noah’s Arc”) and based on a Larry Duplechan book.

“We are absolutely delighted to be able to screen ‘Blackbird,” says Jim Farmer, festival director of Out On Film, in a prepared statement. “It’s an exceptional film that will resonate with audiences everywhere, especially here in the South. When we saw it we knew we wanted it as our opening night film. Patrik has made a beautiful film with a terrific ensemble cast.”

Washington courted controversy after being dropped from the cast of “Grey’s Anatomy” for allegedly using a homophobic slur against gay actor T.R. Knight. He has since made a comeback in recent years and was invited back to the show for a guest appearance.

Read on for more details from an Out On Film press release and view a trailer for the film below.

‘Blackbird” stars Walker as 17-year-old Randy, a devout choir boy living in a conservative Mississippi town, struggling to understand his sexuality while also caring for his mother following his sister’s disappearance. The film is the first starring role for Mo’Nique following her Oscar-winning performance in “Precious” and features Washington as Randy’s absentee father. Several of the cast/crew members will be in attendance for the screening. Already confirmed are Julian Walker, Torrey Laamar (Todd) and Nikki Jane (Crystal).

“I am beyond excited that “Blackbird” is heading to Out On Film in Atlanta,” says Walker. “I hope everyone enjoys this beautiful film of love, understanding and the many trials teens face while figuring out who they really are.” “It’s quite the privilege to be a part of such a ground-breaking film as ‘Blackbird,’ says Laamar. “ And to have its Southeastern debut at the Out On Film festival in front of the Atlanta community is an honor. This film will have an air of familiarity on a multitude levels for every audience member, regardless of sexual orientation, race, or creed. It’s a message of growth and love with a dream to inspire acceptance.”

Out On Film runs October 2 – 9 at Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema. The full schedule will be announced on August 15th. Tickets to the event will go on sale on August 22.

Started in 1987, Out On Film has grown to become one of the largest LGBT film festivals in the country. Last fall, the festival was one of only two LGBT film festivals in the United States to receive a grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. For more information, visit www.outonfilm.org

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