Today, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m., marks the kickoff of the 21st annual LGBTQ Film Festival, OUTrageous! Students and community members will gather tonight in the UC Santa Barbara’s MultiCultural Center to watch a free showing of multicultural shorts that showcase the LGBTQ experience from around the world. The festival features a wide selection of feature films, documentaries and shorts from Germany, Cuba, Spain, France, Switzerland, Brazil, Sweden, Australia, Japan, Uganda, Canada and the United States.

According to their website, OUTrageous! was started in 1991 by a group of volunteers and continues to be operated almost entirely by volunteers from Santa Barbara’s Pacific Pride Foundation. The festival provides a diverse selection of films and videos that entertain, challenge and educate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities as well as allies while also providing filmmakers with opportunities to screen works that might not otherwise be seen locally.

This year is the festival’s largest and most ambitious to date with a total of 14 programs fitting the theme “Personal, Inspirational, Provocative.” Mixed multicultural shorts include “Mila Caos,” a piece set in Havana that depicts a seventeen-year-old drag queen longing for his mother’s acceptance. Another short made in Spanish, “Ursula’s Victory,” is a gorgeous film about family secrets with strong fairy-tale elements.

The festival will continue outside of the MCC at the Metro 4 Theatre on State Street from Friday, Nov. 9 through Sunday, Nov. 11. “Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean” opens on Friday at 6:30 p.m. This work is a beautiful and imaginative recreation of the life of James Dean before he rose to fame. Director Matthew Mishory, a UCSB alumnus, will be present at the screening.

Part of the goal of the festival is to shed light on social issues, and this year it focuses on the plight of African LGBTQ communities with a 1:30 p.m. presentation on Sunday of “Call Me Kuchu,” a powerful portrait of David Kato and his tiny band of activists as they fight for LGBTQ rights in homophobic Uganda. A panel discussion will follow.

All-access passes for the festival, which include priority entry, are only $50, and single-ticket price for most screenings is $10. For more information on the festival and to purchase passes, visit or Hope to see you all there!