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Out on Film: Atlanta Film Festival

Out On Film, the Atlanta based LGBT Film Festival will host all their films at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. Photo by: Ralph Hernandez
Out On Film, the Atlanta based LGBT Film Festival will host all their films at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. Photo by: Ralph Hernandez

The best way to get diverse stories told and shown is to show them yourself. That includes creating the perfect platform for them.

That is what Jim Farmer and many more are doing with Out on Film, Atlanta’s answer for an LGBT film festival.

After this year’s event, Out on Film has been officially running for 28 years. Jim Farmer, the Festival Director, has been championing the event for seven years.

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“We are celebrating our 28th anniversary,” Farmer said. “For most of our existence, however, we were presented by the Atlanta Film Festival. The Atlanta Film Festival decided to focus on their own festival year-round in 2008 and decided to give the festival back to the LGBT community. I was one of the community members who stepped up and decided to take over.”

Out on Film lasts for eight days, beginning Oct. 1 and ending on Oct. 8. The occasion is held at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. Last year’s festival received more than 8,000 patrons and this year, they are hoping for around 10,000 attendees.

“We aim to get better at what we do each year, reach more people, have more films and filmmakers present,” Farmer said.

Along with the films, comes networking festivities for the entire week. Before and after screenings there are opportunities to meet some of the directors, actors and actresses. There are free noontime short films, extra matinees and guests every day of the event.

“We place a huge emphasis on visiting filmmakers and having them do Q and A after their movie and sometimes do panel discussions,” Farmer said. “We are doing a program this year called “Web is the New Black”-looking at the rise of web series.”

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While the event is a secure place for the LGBTQ community, in no way is it not encouraged and celebrated by people who don’t fall in that group.

“The films may be tied together by an LGBT theme, but they are all films that are universal and can be enjoyed by all audiences,” Farmer said. “Many people tell us it’s their favorite week of the year. It’s also great to see films by, for, and about our community with other members of the community together,”

The reasonings for Out On Film and other LGBT film festivals exist are for greater causes than simply being considered a separate category.

“We aim to put on a high-quality film festival and showcase the best in LGBTQ cinema,” Farmer said. “We want to have a festival that is as diverse as the community itself. We also aim to have positive images representing the entire LGBTQ experience,”

Jonathan Shapero is a regular at Out On Film and keeps on coming back every year.

“I return because of the great films I can’t see in mainstream theatres and the ability to see those films with an LGBT audience,” Shapero said.

The experience of watching the films are powerful enough. However, the camaraderie attending Out on Film remains a reason it can touch many people.  

“LGBT people can proudly be together to watch films that are their stories,” Shapero said. “Many come from small towns and areas where the LGBT experience is not as prevalent. Just for the community to be informed and entertained. This film festival is definitely a highlight of my life and I can’t imagine going a year without it.”

The Films

This year, Out on FIlm is showing close to a 100 projects. The genres span from narrative feature films to documentaries and short films.

Each year the submission process begins in Jan. and films are taken through July. In August, the films are evaluated and a schedule is made.

“With a festival dedicated to showcasing the different stories of the LGBTQ experience, the complexity shows the audience how all-inclusive the community is,” Farmer said.

Some of the noteworthy films are:

Fourth Man Out

Opening Night Feature

Oct. 1, 7:15 p.m.

Directed by: Andrew Nackman

“Fourth Man Out” is the opening film with actor Evan Todd to be in attendance and an after party at Mixx Atlanta.

In this twist on man-child comedy, A twenty-something mechanic enjoys stereotypically masculine pastimes and is also gay. “Fourth Man Out” examines small towns and blue-collar dynamics when the mechanic comes out to his friends and they attempt to find him a boyfriend. The cast includes: Chord Overstreet (“Glee”), Kate Flannery (“The Office”), Parker Young, Evan Todd

The Guy With The Knife

Oct. 2, 5:45 p.m.

Directed by: Alison Armstrong

“The Guy With The Knife” traces the unlikely kinship between a noteworthy gay rights activist and a convinced gay-bash murderer. The film deals with gay rights, victim’s rights, prisoner’s rights all in the state of Texas.

Addicted to Fresno

Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m.

Directed by: Jamie Babbit

In a dark comedy directed by Jamie Babbit of “But I’m a Cheerleader” fame, two co-dependent sisters work as hotel maids. One is a rather isolated lesbian and one is a recovering sex addict. Things become complicated when a dead body gets involved. The cast includes: Natasha Lyonne (“Orange is the New Black”, “But I’m a Cheerleader”), Judy Greer (“Archer”, “Jurassic World”), Aubrey Plaza (“Parks and Recreation”), Molly Shannon, Ron Livingston, Clea Duvall

54: The Director’s Cut

Oct. 3, 8 p.m.

Directed by: Mark Christopher

“54” was originally released in 1998 and received mixed reviews. Since then, Mark Christopher has taken the original footage, reworked it and re-edited it to a 30 minutes extra different version. “54” included a lot of familiar faces, many before they were famous. Since then, it has been received well. The story tells of the infamous Studio 54. Set in the 1970’s, a young man snags a job as bartender and falls into a love triangle, all the while juggling being immersed in the legendary disco. The cast includes: Mike Myers, Ryan Phillippe, Salma Hayek, Neve Campbell


Oct. 4, 7:15 p.m.

Directed by: Peter Sollett

Based on the 2007 documentary, “Freeheld” tells the story of a New Jersey lieutenant and their domestic partner who have to battle for pension benefits when one of them is diagnosed with terminal cancer. The cast includes: Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon, Steve Carrell

Kiss Me Kill Me

Oct. 7, 9:15 p.m.

Directed by: Casper Andreas

In the middle of accosting his unfaithful boyfriend, Dusty blacks out. After waking up, the boyfriend has been murdered and the best lead is him. The cast includes: Gale Harold from “Queer as Folk”, Van Hansis, Brianna Brown, Jai Rodriguez.

Special Mention: Proxy

Oct. 6, 5:20 p.m.

Directed by: Brandon Deyette

“Proxy” will be debuted at the festival. “Proxy” is directed and written by Brandon Deyette, who is a Georgia State alum. “Proxy” tells the story of of eight people becoming connected through the choices one man makes.

“‘Proxy’ is a film about relationships. It’s about how our choices can have that “butterfly effect” on other people’s lives, lives of people we may never meet,” Deyette said. “It’s a film that looks honestly through the characters’ eyes, at some of the issues in our relationships that we may not want to always see or discuss.”

The film is inspired by the Danish Dogme 95 movement, choosing different elements to strip down the script to its most basic and convey the story in its most complex form, still allowing it to be relatable to the audience.

“So many artists claim their best work is spawned from turmoil, I half believe this as truth and the other half of me feels it’s a crock of shit,” Deyette said. “That being said, this film was written after a very tumultuous breakup: stories inspired by real events in my life that created a great sense of catharsis.”

It was Deyette’s time at Georgia State that formulated his method of filmmaking when he was introduced to Dogme 95 Films.

  “I fell in love with the aesthetic while I was a student at Georgia State,” Deyette said. “That whole genre broke the mold for me, so to speak. I suppose being at GSU challenged me to think outside the box and exposed me to a different world of cinema than what I was used to.”

Deyette’s experience through the program aided him in his day to life more than originally thought. Even for things as simple as a lighting mix-up. 

“I remember a few years ago a client of mine asked me to order some lights for a commercial shoot we were doing,” Deyette said. “He sent me his list of lighting and I looked it over and realized there were a few mistakes. So I called him up and said, ‘Hey I think you got this wrong.’ He thanked me and said, ‘Man you know your lighting huh?’ Everything I’ve learned from this program I use every day of my professional work life and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.”

Making art is hard. Especially when you are amidst your college years and maybe working. However, according to Deyette, consistently working is one of the most essential efforts to make as an artist.

“Don’t stop doing. It’s really that simple,” Deyette said. “When you have down time: write. When you have access to equipment: use it. Always be challenging yourself. Volunteer at film festivals. Cold call producers. Always be hungry. My current film has been rejected from over 30 film festivals and accepted into 5. Out of those 5 film festivals we’ve won 5 awards. I learn from every situation and I won’t ever give up.”

Join In

Individual film tickets are being sold for $11.

All-Access Passes are available for $150, with a VIP membership for $200.

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