Movie buffs will delve into some reel and pressing queer issues this week; that is if they come out for the OUTrageous Film Festival.

The 15th Annual Santa Barbara Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Film Festival, which runs from Nov. 2 to 5, includes award-winning gay and lesbian movies, a panel discussion on methamphetamine use in the queer community and a reception featuring the directors and stars of several of the films shown. As part of the week’s kickoff, a free showing of the documentary, “Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema,” premiers tonight at 8 in the UCSB MultiCultural Center.

Mashey Bernstein, spokesman for the festival, said the event is an opportunity for the queer community to gather together and see the work of its peers.

“It’s about connecting the community,” Bernstein said. “It’s a chance for us to get together, to be together and to enjoy the films made for us.”

Most of the films will be shown at the Fiesta Five Theater at 916 State St. For more information, see the festival’s website at

Although the central focus of the event is distinctly queer, Bernstein said, the program addresses a broad scope of issues. From the story of a secret love affair of two men under Nazi occupation to a high school comedy that was deemed “the gay ‘American Pie,'” the festival offers entertainment for all tastes.

“We have a variety of films,” he said. “We try to keep a balance because we have a diverse audience. We try to show films that might not be shown otherwise. Some make it to the big time, but most don’t.”

All the films shown during the festival are independent productions, Bernstein said, and are a great encouragement to amateur directors. He said the creators of the film “The Gymnast,” to be shown later in the week, took out a mortgage on their house to finish production.

Bernstein said movies focusing on queer topics do not typically produce much of a profit.

“Every once in a while, you get a ‘Brokeback Mountain’,” Bernstein said. “It’s pretty rare though.”

Despite the dearth of fiscal security currently found in the genre, Bernstein said the festival will continue bringing contemporary gay and lesbian cinema to Santa Barbara, as it has done for the last 15 years.

“Every year, we continue to succeed,” Bernstein said. “Fifteen years ago, there weren’t as many gay and lesbian films around. They didn’t have the variety we have today. These days, the atmosphere is much more comfortable, we’ll see more of these movies in the future.”