FICG in LA at OUTFEST 2015!

It’s the second year of the partnership between FICG in LA and Outfest, the venerable L.A.-based LGBT film festival, and I’d been asked to write about it while knowing little about the whys and hows of the collaboration and not much more about Outfest. I have friends and colleagues who’ve been lucky enough to screen there over the years and have attended a few parties, but little beyond that. Considering the recent (and long overdue) legal and cultural victories surrounding marriage equality, however, it was clear that my sparse knowledge and attendance of the festival really had no excuse, so an invite to catch the L.A. premiere of Peter Greenaway’s EISENSTEIN IN GUANAJUATO, co-sponsored by FICG in LA, was accepted enthusiastically.

Suspecting that, at this was a Greenaway film and they are always events, the place would be packed, I made sure to get to the DGA early enough to secure a seat. And yeah, it was packed, completely sold out with a growing line of poor souls waiting outside and in the heat of the standby line, probably the most nerve-wracking queue to be in at any festival. I made my way to will call and, after some confused looks as to my business there and some wrangling with various staff, I was finally presented with a comp ticket and an additional three more, for what reason (and for whom) I had no idea. My lucky day!

Feeling more than a little cavalier at my new bounty I made my way outside, toward the standby line and gave the extras to whoever wanted them…in other words, the first three people in line. Together my new friends and I made our way through various other lines and eventually into an already crowded theatre, where I run into Alexandra Cruz, FICG in LA’s wonderful Programming and Social Media Coordinator.

“Do you have our tickets?” she asks.

Oh. No.

Uh…

I explained what happened with the extra tickets and me playing Santa Claus and not knowing that anyone else from FICG was actually planning on coming…All I can say is, thank goodness she has a sense of humor. Eventually, by way of the generous and understanding Outfest staff, Alex and our equally tremendous Festival Coordinator Ana Angulo Umaran were able to make it into the screening. And yes, it was as thoroughly, unapologetically, wonderfully Greenaway as one would hope. To top it off, the adjacent after-party had the warm, inclusive vibe that’s lacking in too many other festivals: no “What I’m working on now is…” posturing, no resume rundowns, no name-dropping, just good conversation on great art. Lovely.

A few evenings later Alex and Ana were able to promote FICG at a booth set up by Outfest to support and promote sponsoring organizations. Though it had only been a few nights prior, it was an unexpected pleasure to be back in a space filled with real lovers of film, unapologetic and proud of their passions. Now I understood what I’d been missing.

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