Spotlighting the best in LGBTQ cinema, the Out On Film festival kicks off its 28th season tonight at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. The weeklong festival continues to nudge the needle with provocative programming featuring over 50 works from local and international filmmakers. With so many choices, CL cherry picked a few must-sees for you viewing pleasure.
The festival starts off with Fourth Man Out (7:15 p.m.) a smart, romantic comedy that revolves around Adam (Evan Todd), a twenty-something auto mechanic who comes out to his straight best friends and in return, they try to help hook him up. This is immediately followed by the local debut of Naz and Maalik (9:30 p.m.) from newcomer, writer-director, Jay Dockendorf. Shot as a day-in-the-life drama, the film focuses on two young, black Muslim men coping with the rigors of their secret relationship in a post-Sep. 11 New York City.
>> Friday marks the debut of Addicted to Fresno (7:30 p.m.), a dark, caper comedy starring Natasha Lyonne (“Orange Is the New Black”), and Judy Greer (Jurassic World, The Descendants) as sisters; one a recovering sex addict, the other a disgruntled lesbian, working as hotel maids whose lives spiral out of control when a dead body gets thrown in the mix.
>> On Saturday morning, the festival has a free showing of the documentary, The Year We Thought About Love (10:30 a.m.). This heartwarming yet bold film chronicles the True Colors Out Youth Theater, a troupe of LGBT teens producing their first touring stage performance.
>> Expect long lines on Sunday as Peter Sollet (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist) makes a return to the screen with Freeheld (7:30 p.m.). Packed with star power, the emotional drama features Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a New Jersey police lieutenant and her domestic partner fighting for benefits when one is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
>> Two award-winning international films make their debut on Monday. First off is How to Win at Checkers (Every Time) (7:30 p.m.) from Thailand, an adaptation from the best-selling book, Sightseeing. This story follows revolves around 11 year-old Oat (Ingkarat Damrongsakkul) and his brother, two orphans whose lives are thrown into turmoil as his brother must submit to Thailand’s annual military draft. From Chile we get, In the Grayscale (9:30 p.m.), director Claudio Marcone’s cinematic debut. This stylized, provocative film focuses on the seemingly almost perfect life of a young, talented architect, Bruno (Francisco Celhay), who decides to leaves his family to rediscover himself.
>> If Fifty Shades of Grey left you wanting more, on Tuesday you may want to check out S&M Sally (7:15 p.m.). Written, directed, and starring Michelle Ehlen, this clever, tongue-and-cheek comedy explores the annals of sadomasochism through a series of misadventures involving lesbian couple, Jamie (Ehlen) and Jill (Jen McPherson).
>> Wednesday offers a toss up as two great films screening simultaneously. If you are a fan of “Rupaul’s Drag Race,” we recommend Drag Becomes Him (9:20 p.m.). The film is writer-director Alex Berry’s candid look into the life of entertainer Jerick Hoffer, known to the drag world as Jinkx Monsoon, winner of season five of Rupaul’s hit show. But if you are in the mood for a good murder mystery, check out Kiss Me, Kill Me (Wed., 9:15 p.m.). Written by David Michael Barrett (Bad Actress) and directed by Casper Andreas (Violent Tendencies), in this thriller, Dusty (Van Hansis) confronts his unfaithful boyfriend, Stephen (Gale Harold), and mysteriously blacks out. When he awakens, his lover is dead and he’s the prime suspect in the murder.
>> On Thursday, the festival wraps up with a full day of compelling documentaries including Deep Run (5:00 p.m.) – the story of a young Bible belt transgendered female; Scrum (5:30 p.m.) – chronicling the lives of three gay Australian rugby teammates; and Game Face (6:30 p.m.) – an in-your-face look at LGBTQ athletes and their acceptance in society. The Festival’s closing night film, Guidance (8:30 p.m.) is a laugh-out-loud comedy written, directed and starring Pat Mills. In the film Mill plays David Gold, a failed former child star that decides to reinvent himself as a high school guidance counselor.