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Outfest launched its 2016 edition Thursday night with quiet determination and Clea DuVall‘s comedy-drama “The Intervention” at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

“It’s hard to find a safe place,” said Outfest exec director Christopher Racster, acknowledging the June 12 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Florida that left 49 victims dead.

“But for 34 years, Outfest has stood for a safe place for the LGBT community to come together,” he added. “Love wlll always be stronger than hate. Thanks for not letting hate win.”

Actor Wilson Cruz offered a heartfelt tribute to the organization: “We’re here tonight to celebrate storytelling and that’s why Outfest exists — to support the LGBT experience.”

The pre-screening ceremonies were capped by the presentation of the Outfest Achievement Award to Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper, the former Outfest director of programming.

Cooper was moved to tears in his acceptance speech, concluding with the assertion, “The world is ready for more of us and together we can make that happen.”

A beaming Cooper was in fine form on the bright pink carpet earlier, noting that festival trophies usually go to actors rather than programmers.

DuVall, who makes her directorial debut with “The Intervention,” said on the red carpet that the story of four couples on a weekend getaway that goes off the rails is what she had in mind all along — aside from Cobie Smulders breaking her leg just before production started.

Smulders said the fracture didn’t heal until after production in Georgia had concluded. “It gave me a lot of empathy for people who have to deal with really severe injuries,” she added.
Jason Ritter, who portrays a patient fiancé to Melanie Lynskey’s erratic character in the movie, said his takeaway from the film was simple: “Meddling in other people’s lives isn’t the best thing.”
(Pictured: Rose Troche, Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper, Outfest exec director Christopher Racster)