By Anthony King | SDUN Assistant Editor
Organizers of this year’s FilmOut LGBT Film Festival, now in its 14th year, will be screening 22 short and 16 feature-length films beginning Wednesday, May 30 at the Birch North Park Theatre. Among the films, including four world premieres is a special screening of “Sordid Lives,” written and directed by Del Shores. Shores, who will attend the screening on Thursday, May 31 at 8:30 p.m., is receiving a Career Achievement Award.
“We try to include a wide range [of films] that will appeal to all LGBT audiences,” said FilmOut Festival Programmer Michael McQuiggan. “This year, [we] were trying to secure a lineup that included world premieres, U.S. premieres and West Coast premieres.”
McQuiggan said FilmOut will present the community with “a great five-day festival, with over 40 films … that generally will not play theatrically in San Diego.” The festival runs through June 3.
FilmOut receives support from other San Diego film festivals, McQuiggan said, as well as local business sponsorships. “The San Diego Latino Film Festival and San Diego Asian Film Festival [have been] on board for over five consecutive years,” he said. “We are proud to continue to provide this film festival to our communities and hope that, as a collective, it is appreciated, embraced and supported.”
For this month’s LGBT festival, the Latino Film Festival is co-presenting the June 3 Best of Latino Shorts program, and the Asian Film Festival is co-presenting the feature, “Speechless,” also on June 3.
McQuiggan, who said Shores was selected for the award because of his work in multiple aspects of film, added that several cast members from “Sordid Lives” will be in attendance at the festival. Scheduled to attend are Ann Walker, Rosemary Alexander and Newell Alexander. Drag comedian Dixie Longate will perform before “Sordid Lives” screens, and present Shores with the award.
The Shores tribute is being co-presented by the South Park Business Group and Chris Shaw, owner of the Uptown establishments Urban Mo’s, Baja Betty’s, Gossip Grill and the upcoming Hillcrest Brewing Company.
Marsha Smelkinson, spokesperson for the South Park Business Group, said she was grateful to Jeffrey Parish of South Park’s Junc Life & Style for organizing the sponsorship. “The merchants of South Park are all local, independent businesses,” Smelkinson said.
“They’re a close-knit group of neighbors and friends who work together to support events that attract people to our community and that foster the indie-spirit of creativity and inclusion,” she said. “The FilmOut festival in nearby North Park is right up our alley.”
Opening the festival is “Cloudburst,” a romantic road-trip movie starring Academy Award-winning actresses Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker. Calling “Cloudburst” a hidden gem and one of the best films of the festival, McQuiggan said Dukakis’ “performance alone is worthy of admission.” Other highlights, he said, are the Boys Centerpiece category film, “Morgan”; the Girls Centerpiece category film, “Three Veils”; and the selection of international films.
McQuiggan also said FilmOut was proud to include the comedy, “That’s What She Said,” directed by Carrie Preston and starring Anne Heche, which recently showed at the Sundance Film Festival. Screening June 2, the film is produced by San Diego residents Mark Holmes and James Vasquez. Vasquez recently directed Diversionary Theatre’s “Next Fall” and last year’s “The Rocky Horror Show” at the Old Globe Theatre.
Saying he is looking forward to meeting all the filmmakers and actors who will be attending this year’s festival, McQuiggan also said he expects both the opening night party at North Park’s Claire de Lune Sunset Temple and closing night party at West Coast Tavern to be a success. Claire de Lune is located at 2906 University Ave. and West Coast Tavern is located at 2895 University Ave.
All films will be screened at the Birch North Park Theatre, located at 2891 University Ave. Tickets for individual films are $10, with special prices for the opening and closing night events. The Del Shores tribute is $20, and a festival pass, which allows attendees into each film, as well as all parties and tributes, is $125. For ticket information, visit filmoutsandiego.com.