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Ten Days of Panels, Shorts, Features at Outfest 2015

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Outfest kicks off with its annual Opening Night Gala on Thursday, July 9, with the docu-comedy “Tig,” followed by 10 more days of eclectic films, panels and special screenings. LA’s LGBT film festival will also pay tribute to actor-writer John Cameron Mitchell (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”) at the Opening Night Gala, honoring him with the Outfest Achievement Award.

The opening festivities will be held in the ornate Orpheum Theater, bookended by star-studded pre- and after-parties featuring cocktails and cuisine from about 15 of LA’s top restaurants.

A sampling of films to watch for:

The film festival continues Friday through July 19, with features, shorts and panels, along with special screenings, such as the restored films from the Legacy Project, including “Parting Glances” and “Madonna: Truth or Dare.”

Perhaps in the most unique venue is “54: The Director’s Cut,” screening at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This sexy salute to the famed 1970s New York nightclub Studio 54 stars Ryan Phillippe, and includes 44 more minutes of director Mark Christopher’s footage. Screens Thursday, July 16, at 8:30 p.m. Bring a picnic.

“Jenny’s Wedding,” from writer Mary Agnes Donoghue (“Beaches,” “White Oleander”), gets its world premiere on Friday, July 10, at 7 p.m. in the DGA 1. This family drama features an all-star cast: Katherine Heigl in the title role of Jenny, who summons the courage to propose to her longtime girlfriend, Kitty (Alexis Bledel), while facing her conservative, less-then-enthusiastic parents, played by Tom Wilkinson and Linda Emond.

“Fourth Man Out” could resonate with mainstream audiences who are eager support their gay friends. A small-town, blue-collar guy comes out to his straight friends, who then try to match him up with a boyfriend. Stars Chord Overstreet (“Glee”) and Kate Flannery (“The Office”). Screens Saturday, July 11, at 4 p.m. at the DGA 1.

“Tab Hunter Confidential” is an intimate portrait of Hollywood’s All-American boy Tab Hunter. But the All-American boy had a secret. Screens Saturday, July 11, at 7 p.m. in DGA 1. (See more on “Tab Hunter Confidential” this week ag goweho.com.)

“Stuff,” from writer-director Suzanne Guacci, is another timely feature film, following the heels of the Gay Marriage decision. The story revolves around a married couple (Karen Sillas, Yvonne Jung) and their two daughters, whose happy home is threatened when grief over the loss of a loved one and a beautiful outsider (Traci Dinwiddie) arrive almost simultaneously at their doorstep. Screens Sunday, July 12, at 3 p.m. at the Harmony Gold.

“Do I Sound Gay?” is a documentary from journalist-filmmaker David Thorpe that attempt to get to the bottom of the “gay voice,” with interviews that include David Sedaris, Margaret Cho, Tim Gunn, Don Lemon and Dan Savage. Screens Monday, July 13, at 7 p.m. at the Harmony Gold.

“Addicted to Fresno” is veteran director Jamie Babbit’s latest film, reteaming her with her “But I’m a Cheerleader” star Natasha Lyonne (“Orange Is the New Black”). Also starring Judy Greer and Aubrey Plaza, this dark comedy has a sex addict (Greer) leaving rehab and joining her sister (Lyonne) as a hotel housekeeper. Things go horribly wrong. Screens Friday, July 17, at 7 p.m. in DGA 1.

“Naomi & Ely’s No Kiss List” follows lifelong guy-and-girl friends who vow never to kiss the same guy, in the film adaptation of the hit novel by writers Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. The film stars Victoria Justice (“Victorious”) and Pierson Fode (“Jessie”) and is directed by Ovation Award-winner Kristin Hanggi. The world premiere is Friday, July 17, at 8 p.m. at the Montalban Theater.

“Those People” proves that a life with drugs, sex and uninterrupted play on Manhattan’s famed Upper East Side are not always the keys to happiness, when a young painter obsessed with his best friend is pulled into his self-destructive behavior. Screens Saturday, July 18, at 2:00 p.m. at DGA 1.

“Deep Run,” a documentary executive produced by Susan Sarandon, examines the trials of trans life in rural North Carolina, where 17-year-old Spazz has no one to lean on, until she falls in love and summons up the courage to become Cole, a strong-willed trans man. His candid humor and steadfast, all-inclusive Christian beliefs counter the bigotry he experiences daily in the Bible Belt. Screens Saturday, July 18, at DGA 2.

“The New Girlfriend” from François Ozon (“Swimming Pool”) is the gender-bending Closing Night film, that blends the macabre with a heartfelt romance. After mourning the loss of Laura, her childhood friend (and unrequited love), Claire comes across Laura’s husband David (Romain Duris), dressed in his wife’s clothes.

Screens Sunday, July 19, at 8 p.m. at the Theatre at Ace Hotel. French with English subtitles.

For the complete lineup and ticket info, see www.outfest.org.

Journalist Laurie Schenden covers the entertainment industry, with many of her notable celebrity interviews appearing in the Los Angeles Times and other national and international publications. As a longtime columnist and feature writer for the LA Times, she also covered events and California destinations for the lifestyle, Outdoors and Travel sections. Laurie Schenden's international pieces include the long-running Where Are They Now celebrity feature for Spotlight Magazine, published in five languages. Laurie has also contributed to numerous documentary films, and is currently producing a documentary for her own company, Saving Grace Films.

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