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San Diego's FilmOut LGBTQ Film Festival re-emerges in 2021 with its best movies ever

"Everybody's Talking About Jamie" at FilmOut San Diego
Photo credit:
"Everybody's Talking About Jamie" --- More2screen

Film festivals were one of the casualties during the great pandemic of 2020, and San Diego's LGBTQ festival, FilmOut, was no exception. However, this September it will return with its most acclaimed movies ever. This night of entertainment has, not one, but two beautiful new venues.

Since 2005, FilmOut has been at the forefront of San Diego's celebration of queer moviemakers and their stories. From memorable titles like "Hellbent" or "Ideal Home," this festival has broadened the reach of great movies either by world premieres or word-of-mouth or both.

This year that trend continues with top-shelf titles, maybe some of the best in its history. Movies such as "Firebird" and "Everybody's Talking About Jamie" are already getting buzz, while "Jump, Darling" and "Dangerous Drugs of Sex" are set to become offbeat favorites. 

Filmmakers and casts are always invited to FilmOut for Q&As after the screenings of their respective films. But they aren't just there for business, they also like to mingle with fans if they can. This year they will join attendees in theaters at the San Diego Natural History Museum (NAT) and Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) in beautiful Balboa Park. 

Let's take a look at some of the standouts this year for FilmOut 2021:

Thursday, September 9, 2021, 7 pm at The NAT


Blending a Cold War thriller and a true story of secret love, director Peeter Rebane’s Firebird begins with the steamy passions of young gay romance in an environment where expressing it is deadly. 

Tom Prior (The Theory of Everything) stars as Sergey, an Estonian military private awaiting the end of his duty in the Soviet air force in the late 1970s. He falls for the dashing officer Roman (Oleg Zagorodnii), arousing suspicions as they hide their romance from their fellow officers.

The pair soon realize that pursuing a clandestine affair, let alone openly declaring their love, means risking their safety, Roman’s career in the Soviet military, and their relationship with their most beloved friend from the academy, Luisa (Diana Pozharskaya). Co-written by Prior and Rebane, Firebird is a gripping, and cinematically beautiful, story of love and freedom thwarted by an oppressive regime during a harrowing time, detailing the human costs of living an authentic life.

This film is based on a true story. 

Friday, September 10, 2021, 3 pm at MOPA

"See You Then"

A decade after abruptly breaking up with Naomi (Lynn Chen), Kris (Pooya Mohseni) invites her to dinner to catch up on their complicated lives, relationships, and Kris’ transition. Over the course of a one-night encounter, they engage in a series of increasingly intimate and vulnerable conversations, before a shocking revelation is unveiled. 

See You Then focuses on the universal truth that no matter how much you change, a part of you will always stay the same.

Also on Friday, at 5 pm, there is the International LGBTQ Shorts presentation. 

Friday, September 10, 2021, 7 pm at MOPA

"BOULEVARD! A Hollywood Story (Festival Spotlight)"

We welcome back filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz (I Am Divine, Vito, Tab Hunter Confidential, and The Fabulous Allan Carr) with his latest documentary. In 1950s Los Angeles, Dickson Hughes and Richard Stapley — two young songwriters and same-sex romantic partners — find themselves caught in movie star Gloria Swanson’s web when she hires them to write a musical version of Sunset Boulevard.

Friday, September 10, 2021, 9:15 pm at MOPA

"Music For Bleeding Hearts"

Set in present-day San Paulo, Brazil, a trio of young hearts are about to break. Ricardo (Victor Mendes) has both a steady boyfriend and a wandering eye for a new coworker. Isabella (Mayara Constantino) is taking a break from her boyfriend and best friend Ricardo. And hopeless romantic Felipe (Caio Horowicz) has suddenly found himself caught between the two of them. The three have big dreams, yearning passion and opinionated acquaintances, but they’re unprepared for what’s to come from Cupid’s arrows.

Saturday, September 11, 2021, 11 am at MOPA:

A San Diego LGBT News sponsored day:

First, at 11 am, there is the LGBTQ shorts track.

These bite-sized films are big on entertainment. From tales of political unrest to sci-fi love stories the LGBTQ Shorts track usually fills up quickly. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021, 1 pm at MOPA:

"My Fiona"

How do you navigate the world when your best friend inexplicably takes her own life? For Jane (Jeanette Maus), she finds herself drawn to Fiona’s (Sara Amini) wife and child, seeking solace and perhaps more in the relationship that gently unfolds. The question of grief and tenderness and the catastrophic consequences of blending the two come to a head in Jane’s life as she attempts to pick up the pieces, heal and move on, but life isn’t so easy as to tie everything up with a bow.

This feature will also include the French short First Love

Saturday, September 11, 2021, 3 pm at MOPA:

"Everybody's Talking About Jamie"

Much anticipated film adaptation of the award-winning West End hit musical that is inspired by true events. Jamie New (Max Harwood) is a teenager from Sheffield, who dreams of life on stage. While his classmates plan their livelihoods after they leave school, Jamie contemplates revealing his secret career ambition to become a fierce and proud drag queen. His best friend Pritti (Lauren Patel) and his loving mum (Sarah Lancashire) shower him with endless support, while local drag legend Miss Loco Chanelle (Richard E. Grant) mentors him toward his debut stage performance. But Jamie also has to contend with an unsupportive father (Ralph Ineson), an uninspired careers advisor (Sharon Horgan), and some ignorant school kids who attempt to rain on his sensational parade. In rousing and colorful musical numbers, Jamie and his community inspire one another to overcome prejudice, be more accepting, and to step out of the darkness into the spotlight.

Saturday, September 11, 2021, 5:15 pm at MOPA:

"Potato Dreams of America"

Struggling to survive in the USSR during the turbulent years of Perestroika, Lena (played by Marya Sea Kaminski Sera Barbieri) and her gay son, Potato (played by Tyler Bocock & Hersh Powers), escape into a fantasy world of pirated American movies, but soon the movies are not enough and Lena decides to become a mail-order bride to discover America for herself.

Saturday, September 11, 2021, 7:15 pm at MOPA:

"Boy Culture: The Series"

Be the first to watch the first several episodes of the brand new series based on the smash gay film, Boy Culture created by Matthew Rettenmund, directed by Q. Allan Brocka.

Saturday, September 11, 2021, 9:30 pm at MOPA:

"Dangerous Drugs of Sex"*

Adapted from a Japanese BDSM manga, Makoto Katsuragi (Sho Watanabe) has a successful office job when he unexpectedly falls from grace and tries to commit suicide in a drunken despair. He awakens to find a mysterious man, Ryuji Yoden (Takashi Kitadai), appearing to help. However, it's only the beginning of a long and arduous sexually-violating physical and mental-training imprisonment that has consequences for both men.


Sunday, September 12, 2021, 11 am at MOPA:

RAGE presents an afternoon of Short Films Volume 2. 

Sunday, September 12, 2021, 1 pm at MOPA:

"Beautiful Dreamer"

This contemporary dramedy is about a group of Bay Area friends in their early 40s navigating life-moments together: expecting a surrogate baby, a long and deep friendship in jeopardy, two women (Erin Daniels, Kathryn Smith-McGlynn) finally deciding to marry after years of living together, and a novelist with crippling writer's block. Capturing the next uncharted chapter of their extended family, Beautiful Dreamer explores the messy secrets and complicated nature of parenthood and the modern family, all while testing the boundaries of love and friendship. With Jennifer Mudge, Louis Ozawa Changchien, Tate Moore and the always fabulous Wendie Malick.

Sunday, September 12, 2021, 3 pm at MOPA:

"Lust Life Love"

Veronica (Stephanie Sellars) is a bisexual polyamorous sex blogger in NYC who seems to have it all until she falls for monogamous Daniel (Jake Choi). Seduced by the challenge, she attempts to cultivate a triad relationship with him and her friend Maya (Makeda Declet), but unexpected jealousy causes her heart and identity to turn inside out, forcing her to face the frightening truth about herself.

Sellars co-directed, produced, wrote the screenplay and acts in this wonderfully bold, enlightening and overall entertaining world that is rarely presented today within the LGBTQ film experience. And with a diverse cast, two additional female producers and a predominantly female-identifying crew, we hope this tale of polyamory and bisexuality will kick open the door for even more diversity in the 2020 decade.

Sunday, September 12, 2021, 5:15 pm at MOPA:

"Give or Take"

When Martin (Jamie Effros), a disillusioned New Yorker's father dies, he goes home to Cape Cod to prepare the house for sale while learning about Ted (Norbert Leo Butz), his father's late-in-life, live-in boyfriend. With nothing to separate them they are forced to negotiate how to remember and move on from the man they both loved. Also starring Emmy nominee Cheri OteriJoanne Tucker (The Report) & Louis Cancelmi (The IrishmanBoardwalk Empire).

Sunday, September 12, 2021, 7:30 pm at MOPA:

"Jump, Darling"

Half-prepped before a dressing room mirror in the back of a bustling city gay bar, Russell (Thomas Duplessie), an actor turned drag queen, struggling to find his voice, is given a wrenching ultimatum.

Overcome by indecision, he escapes to his grandmother’s house in the country. There he finds sardonic Margaret (Cloris Leachman, in her final starring role) in steep decline. In a perfect, if not a precarious, solution for both of them, he moves in to protect her from her greatest fear—the local nursing home. In no time, Russell is lighting up the local college bar with his alter ego Fishy Falters.

Antagonized by his overprotective mother (Linda Kash), a sexy-though-mysterious college boy, a cockney city gay bar owner, and the specter of his failed-artist grandfather, Russell struggles to realize a bold new identity. All while, Margaret fights to retake control despite her faltering mind.

FilmOut: The San Diego LGBTQ Film Festival happens from September 9 through September 12, 2021.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click HERE

The NAT is located at 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101

MOPA is located at 1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101