If the recent selection of Hollywood movies has become too boring and hackneyed, this weekend’s OUTrageous! film festival might be just the thing tired theater-goers will be crazy to come out for.
The 14th Annual Santa Barbara Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Film Festival – dubbed OUTrageous! – starts today in the MultiCultural Center (MCC) with a collection of short films focusing on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. With the exception of tonight’s free show at 8 in the MCC, the festival’s six films will be screened at the Fiesta 5 Theatre on State Street through Sunday. Afternoon shows cost $6, while evening and night shows are $7.50 student, $10 general.
“The main reason for the festival is to bring awareness to the community, because Santa Barbara has very few gay-related events,” said Randy Arnowitz, one of 11 members of the festival selection and organization committee.
Heather Stevenson, the festival’s committee chair, said OUTrageous! has become increasingly popular and nearly sells out its shows every year. Unlike many Hollywood films, the themes and plots of the selected movies directly mirror issues queer community members face in everyday life, she said. Some of the movies’ topics include coming out to family members, domestic violence between same-sex partners and sex changes.
“We don’t get to see our lives on the big screen very often,” Stevenson said. “This is a chance to see something which reflects our own experiences.”
Two feature films will be shown on each day of the festival. Saturday, like tonight’s event, will also feature a compilation of short films. The festival will conclude with the film “Loggerheads,” which revolves around the life of a young gay man whose parents fight over whether to accept his identity. “Loggerheads” will be shown Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
“The film ‘Loggerheads’ is opening nationally, and it’s got a great lineup of people starring in it,” Arnowitz said. “I’m very excited about seeing that particular film.”
Several local businesses are sponsoring the festival, the largest of which is the Pacific Pride Foundation, an organization that provides health, legal and social services for the gay community of Santa Barbara, Arnowitz said. Other sponsors include the Santa Barbara Independent, UCSB and the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission.
Local companies have also donated prizes, such as free dinners, plane rides and haircuts, to be raffled off before the beginning of each film, Arnowitz said. Raffle tickets will be sold before each film.