The 2021 Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Film Festival is set to honor I May Destroy You icon Michaela Coel with the Fusion Achievement Award while The United States vs. Billie Holiday star and Oscar nominee Andra Day will be honored with the James Schamus Ally Award on April 17. The hybrid fest will take place April 16-20.
The Fusion Achievement Award, which recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to LGBTQIA+ stories, arts, and media visibility, will honor Coel’s body of work. She is in good company as previous recipients of the honor include Nisha Ganatra, Angela Robinson, Rose Troche, Wilson Cruz, Alec Mapa, Patrik-Ian Polk, Cheryl Dunye, Brickson Diamond, and Rikki Beadle-Blair.
“Coel’s work in Chewing Gum, I May Destroy You, and more portray complex characters who have helped open the door for more empathetic conversations about the issues facing members of this QTBIPOC community,” said Festival Executive Director, Damien Navarro. “Outfest Fusion believes that honoring one of the most incredible, talented, and inspiring voices and storytellers of our generation will inspire Outfest Fusion’s Black creators, across all mediums, and also send a strong message within the industry that we need to include, support, and finance exponentially more independent voices.”
Musician-turned-actress Day will receive the James Schamus Ally Award which recognizes a great ally to the LGBTQIA+ community. Day has been a longtime supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and many have embraced her song “Rise Up” as an anthem for their own struggles and victories. With her Oscar-nominated portrayal of Billie Holiday in The United States v. Billie Holiday, Outfest Fusion is spotlighting her commitment to capturing all the life of the titular cultural icon.
In addition to these honorees, Outfest Fusion will also present a variety of panels and workshops, live and pre-recorded, for filmmakers and the general public to attend throughout the five-day festival. All of the panels will be available free starting April 17 at 6am PDT. See the complete program below.
April 16: 6 PM PDT | Outfest Fusion Opening Night Poetry Showcase
- Join us as we celebrate the start of this year’s festival with a virtual poetry showcase that is sure to be uplifting with its theme of joy.
- Master of Ceremonies: féi hernandez
- Appearances by: Yosimar Reyes, Tyris Winter, Bella BAHHS, jade Phoenix
April 15: 4 PM PDT | HOW TO MAKE A MOVIE ON YOUR SMARTPHONE WITH LAUREN NEAL
- Have a story to tell but don’t know where to start? Come learn tools and techniques in this crash course on how to make high-quality short films using what you already have. Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival’s 2020 One Minute Movie Contest winner Lauren Neal will give you expert techniques and tricks for how to put your ideas in front of the camera. You will leave inspired and ready to create your own film
April 16: 1 PM PDT | STRETCH THAT BUCK: FILM BUDGETING 101 WITH SEED&SPARK
- How much should you crowdfund for? As much as you need to move your project forward! In this workshop, we’ll teach you how to build a budget, utilize loans to make up your budget (conceptually as well as literally), navigate the ask, break down your script, and get creative with ways to cut costs without sacrificing your vision.
April 17: 1 PM PDT | EARLY CAREER NETWORKING SESSION
- A film or TV set is filled with numerous roles, from gaffers to hair stylists to colorists, but there is not always clarity on how to get these roles. During this workshop, you will hear from established industry members about how they got into their fields and what their jobs are really like. Film professionals of all levels are encouraged to attend. Participants will include Barbie Leung, Cinematographer and Camera Department (Hysterical); Jason Orion, Hair Department (Moxie); Marc Kelly, 1st Assistant Director (Summertime); Cheyenne Ford, Art Department (Shiva Baby).
April 18: 3 PM PDT | DOCUMENTARY 101: A GUIDE TO NON-FICTION FILMMAKING WITH PJ RAVAL
- Whether a first-time documentarian or a veteran truth seeker, we all could use some help along the way. PJ Raval (Call Her Ganda, Before You Know It) shares his personal journey to creating powerful documentaries and the resources he’s used to get his ideas onto the screen.
April 19: 1 PM PDT | CROWDFUNDING TO BUILD INDEPENDENCE WITH SEED&SPARK
- Most people think about crowdfunding simply as a fundraising tool, but we’re going to show you how it’s so much more than that. Discover how to have a successful crowdfunding campaign… and career! You’ll learn how to find your audience, structure your crowdfunding campaign, pick the right goal and incentives, and more.
April 19: 3 PM PDT | PRODUCING A PODCAST WITH DOMINO SOUND
- Starting a podcast can seem arduous with not a lot of clarity on where to start. What type of podcast should it be? What gear should you buy? What gear can you afford? Where should you record? All of these questions and more will be answered in this helpful workshop designed to get you started on your podcasting journey with Kenya Denise and Alexandra di Palma from Domino Sound!
April 20: 6 PM PDT | HOW TO CRAFT THE PERFECT PITCH WITH DAVID SIGURANI
- Discover the best way to present your project in order to hook a producer, actor, or executive. Having developed and sat through way too many pitches, queer Latinx producer and creative executive David Sigurani will work you through the elements of an undeniable story pitch. From your story’s world, theme, and tone to your beats and characters, stir up all the necessary ingredients to establish why you should be the one to make the next hit film or TV series! Participants in this workshop are encouraged to prepare a three-minute pitch of their current project for potential feedback.
OUTFEST FUSION’S RISING STARS
If you don’t know them yet, you will soon. For the second year in a row, Outfest Fusion gathers some of the most exciting up-and-coming QTBIPOC acting talent for a probing discussion about the state of their industry, their individual pathways to success, and their advice to young hopefuls seeking to follow in their footsteps. Despite the hard road any aspiring actor faces on their way up, and despite the past year of uncertainty, these rising stars all continue to turn out inspiring work. Tune in to hear how they made it happen! Moderated by David Artavia, Editor in Chief of Out, panelists includeIan Alexander (Star Trek: Discovery), Sherry Cola (Good Trouble), Shalita Grant (Search Party; You), Harvey Guillén (What We Do in the Shadows), and Vico Ortiz (Vida).
AARP FIRESIDE CHAT
Stars shine brightly, no matter their age. A conversation on longevity in a youth centric business. Where a change of scenery can change the trajectory of a career and where persistence can prevail in the high-speed industry that is Hollywood. A conversation about aging, work and film.
APRIL 18: 11 AM PDT | YEARNING TO BREATHE FREE: LGBTQIA+ IMMIGRATION & ASYLUM SEEKERS
According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, there are an estimated 289,700 undocumented people in the United States who identify as LGBTQ+, facing unique barriers compounded by discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Reflected in Outfest Fusion 2021 feature films NOWHERE and CAUGHT, from navigating complications of love and career when your legal status hangs in the balance to defending your rights in the midst of transphobic violence, trafficking, sex work, and persecution, it is clear that the promise etched onto the Statue of Liberty to welcome the huddled masses doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone.
Join these filmmakers along with experts in the field for an urgent and frank discussion where we will tackle the issues facing queer and trans immigrants and asylum-seekers — from perspectives of policy, legal protections, and mental health — sharing experiences and resources in a safe and supportive space.”
BUILDING A BETTER NORMAL: A MEDIA ROUNDTABLE
- The only constant is change, but how do we ensure that the change that is coming is inclusive and equitable? As the world navigates the changing media landscape, questions of what gets covered and who has access to coverage are front and center as a new normal is defined. This discussion will address the current system and look at ways to improve the space of media journalism.
- Marissa Wallace, VP, BPRS-LA; Director of Multicultural Communications, Rogers & Cowan PMK
- Stephen Macias, EVP, Multicultural Marketing & Communications, Rogers & Cowan PMK
- Latashia DeVeaux, President, BPRS-LA; Talent Relations Consultant, BET Networks
- Valerie Complex, freelance writer; Bylines: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Collider, Conde Nast, Harper’s Bazaar and many others
- Beandrea July, freelance writer; Bylines: The Hollywood Reporter, New York Times, NPR, Time, Parade, Level, Cherrypicks, Hyperallergic and many others