Out on Film and Atlanta Pride have announced the lineup of films for a special Out on Film Spring Fest, taking place April 3-6 at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. Featuring films that have already made an impact on this year’s film festival circuit, titles will include Lisa Cortes’ Little Richard: I Am Everything, Maryam Touzani’s The Blue Caftan, Georgia Oakley’s Blue Jean, D. Smith’s Kokomo City, and Eva Vitija’s Loving Highsmith.
The film series is the latest innovative presentation by Out on Film, which has built a reputation on that spirit, following last year’s celebrated 35th Anniversary edition of the Atlanta-based LGBTQIA+ film festival. The Oscar® qualifying film festival, recently included on MovieMaker Magazine’s “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” list, is both one of the nation’s longest running festivals presenting queer cinema, but also a leader among all United Sates-based fests in terms of exploring new ways to reach audiences and connect them with filmmakers.
Out on Film Festival Director Jim Farmer said, “I am very happy that Out On Film can present a spring series of five exceptional films, as well as a well-received shorts program from our 2022 festival. This series celebrates filmmaking and filmmakers from around the world, and two of our documentaries celebrate Georgia and Atlanta subjects. Coming so soon after our record-setting 2022 film festival, I believe our audiences will be quite impressed with this special series.”
Lisa Cortes’ Little Richard: I Am Everything comes to Atlanta after wowing Mississippi and Utah following screenings as the Opening Night Gala at the Oxford Flm Festival, and a smash debut at the Sundance Film Festival last month. The entertaining (and how could it not be, considering its subject) documentary gives a startlingly frank look at the life and career of the rock n’ roll icon who still influences music artists today as it shines a light on the Black, queer origins of rock ’n’ roll, and profiles the man behind the music. D. Smith’s documentary Kokomo City took two awards at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, including the NEXT Audience Award and the NEXT Innovator Award, and recently screened at the Berlin Film Festival as well. The film chronicles the experiences of four Black trans women sex workers living in New York and Atlanta. The film’s subjects are a charismatic and compelling combination of personalities, whose stories and testimonies are beyond compelling.
Maryam Touzani’s The Blue Caftan is a multiple award winner, having picked up awards at Cannes (the FIPRESCI Prize at Un Certain Regard), Chicago International FF (Best Director), and the Athens International FF (International Competition Audience Award and the Greek Film Critics Association Award), among others. The quietly captivating film follows a couple running a caftan store whose careful balance of their life (including his homosexuality) and their business, is disrupted by a new apprentice. Georgia Oakley’s Blue Jean has taken several awards on the international festival circuit, including last year’s Venice Film Festival (Giornate Degli Autori’s People Choice Award), Thessaloniki Film Festival (Best Actress), and the Belfast FF (Breakthrough Performance). The riveting drama follows a teacher leading a double life in Margaret Thatcher’s homophobic Britain in the late 1980’s. Eva Vitija’s Loving Highsmith looks at the personal life of the prolific author (author of “Strangers on a Train” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” among others) revealing the romantic via tender confidences underneath her legendary tough exterior.
The Out on Film Spring Fest will also include a special shorts program presentation, “For the Ladies”, which will feature short films that previously screened at Out on Fest, and made an impact on the film festival circuit, including Aleksandra Odic’s Frida, which won Cannes’ Queer Palm and the Ligts on Women Award, and Krizz Gautier’s Keep/Delete, which won awards at the Charlotte and Paradise film festivals.
The 2022 Out on Film Spring Fest official selections:
The Blue Caftan
Director: Maryam Touzani
Country: Morocco, Running Time: 124 min
Halim has been married to Mina for a long time, with whom he runs a traditional caftan store in the medina (old town) of Salé, Morocco. The couple has always lived with Halim’s secret – his homosexuality – about which he has learned to keep quiet. However, Mina’s illness and the arrival of a young apprentice upsets this balance. United in their love, each will help the other face his fears.
Director: Georgia Oakley
Country: UK, Running Time: 97 min
In this extraordinary new drama, Jean, a PE teacher, is forced to live a double life. When a new student arrives and threatens to expose her, Jean is pushed to extreme lengths to keep her job and her integrity.
Little Richard: I am Everything
Director: Lisa Cortes
Country: United States; Running Time: 98 min
Like a quasar burning past the gaslight, director Lisa Cortés’ eye-opening documentary explodes the whitewashed canon of American pop music. Little Richard: I Am Everything shines a clarifying light on the Black, queer origins of rock ’n’ roll, and establishes the genre’s big bang: Richard Wayne Penniman.
Director: D. Smith
Country: USA, Running Time: 73 min.
Four Black transgender sex workers from New York and Gorgia explore the dichotomy between the Black community and themselves while confronting issues long avoided.
Director: Eva Vitija
Country USA, Running Time: 83 min.
Loving Highsmith is a unique look at the life of celebrated American author Patricia Highsmith based on her diaries and notebooks and the intimate reflections of her lovers, friends, and family. Focusing on Highsmith’s quest for love and her troubled identity, the film sheds new light on her life and writing. Most of Highsmith’s novels were adapted for the big screen; the best known of these are Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Carol, a partly autobiographic novel, was the first lesbian story with a happy ending to be published in 1950s America. But Highsmith herself was forced to lead a double life and had to hide her vibrant love affairs from her family and the public. Only in her unpublished writings did she reflect on her private life. Excerpts from these notes voiced by Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones, Top of the Lake), beautifully interwoven with archive material of her and her most famous novel adaptions, create a vivid, touching portrait of one of the most fascinating female writers.
“FOR THE LADIES” SHORT FILM PROGRAM
Director: Aleksandra Odic
Country: Germany, Running Time: 21 min.
An encounter between a young nurse and her patient Frida, who is the same age, on the border of professional distance and desire for closeness.
Director. Krizz Gautier
Country: USA, Running Time: 19 min.
In a future world where memories are handled like computer files, two lovers decide to undergo a procedure and have their entire relationship wiped from their brains.
Director: Jillian Junco
Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min.
Eve, a Filipino-American girl, has decided she’s going to kill herself and leaves a suicide note for her mother. When she leaves to get cigarettes for one last smoke, she meets Dawn who pulls her into a fun ride. While her mother discovers her suicide note, she rediscovers life.
Director: Emanuela Boisbouvier
Country: USA, Running Time: 16 min.
In Los Angeles, during the tumultuous BLM movement, an interracial queer couple, Kai and Lucie, navigate the difficulties of supporting and protecting each other through the complexities of racial inequality and immigration issues.
Directors: John Klein, Kate Black-Spence
Country: USA, Running Time: 28 min.
Jamie is a young woman living in rural Indiana struggling to figure out her place and identity. When she inadvertently stumbles across a frequency on her ham radio and makes contact with astronaut Noa currently orbiting Earth, the two women are presented with the opportunity to find meaningful connection, even while worlds apart.