Encouragement and authenticity rung throughout the opening night of the annual Outfest at the Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles on Thursday.
Outfest alumni and LGBT filmmakers Aurora Guerrero, Andrea James, and Angela Robinson reminisced and praised their early days at the festival, now celebrating another milestone — 35 years.
“Seeing my five-minute parody [at Outfest] confirmed two things for me: one, that I had something to say and two, that other queer people will also want to see themselves represented on screen. Which is why Outfest was then, and still is, so amazing,” said Robinson.
The night was about pure support. Kristin Chenoweth and Zachary Quinto took the stage to give praises to “Hannibal” and “American Gods” creator Bryan Fuller, who was given the film festival’s achievement award.
“A true visionary of television whose gift for diversity and inclusivity is matched only by his skill at writing unforgettable characters and placing them within visual worlds that are like nothing we have ever seen before on the small screen,” said Quinto.
Upon accepting his award, Fuller stirred up the audience the only way he could — by hopping onto the stage, spreading his legs wide in order to reach the mic, and telling the audience, “I love the word ‘queer.'”
Fuller started out his speech remembering his older brother referring to him and his other brother as “queer” and “queer-bait.”
“When I could finally read I remember looking up the word ‘queer’ and being very pleased with what I found, since I had been told I was one,” Fuller added. “I thought, ‘Who wouldn’t want to be queer?’ Every synonym was something I aspired to be: strange, unusual, peculiar. All of them an achievement of their own right. An achievement shared by every filmmaker and storyteller represented at Outfest.”
The night concluded with director Francis Lee and actor Alec Secareanu introducing their British drama, “God’s Own Country.” Additional notables in attendance included “American Gods” stars Ian McShane, Orlando Jones and Crispin Glover as well as actors Beth Grant and Jonathan Tucker.