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Alicia Silverstone & 19th-Century Lesbian Romance: Outfest Movies

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister
Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Clueless
Lio in The Evening Dress La robe du soir
Jane Lynch, A Gaythering Storm
Maxine Peake in James Kent's The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (top); Alicia Silverstone, Clueless (upper middle); Lio in Myriam Aziza's The Evening Dress (lower middle); Jane Lynch, A Gaythering Storm (bottom)

James Kent's The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, Amy Heckerling's 1995 sleeper hit Clueless, Myriam Aziza's La robe du soir / The Evening Dress, and the comedy shorts compilation “From Uranus to Titicaca” are some of the offerings at Outfest 2010, the 28th edition of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. The festival is headquartered at the Directors Guild in West Hollywood.

The made-for-British-TV The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister tells the story of a woman who defies 19th-century English conventions to have scandalous affairs with two other women. Maxine Peake stars as Anne Lister. Also in the cast: Anna Madeley, Susan Lynch, Gemma Jones, and Michael Culkin.

In Clueless, a reworking of Jane Austen's Emma, Alicia Silverstone plays a pampered Beverly Hills high-school student in dire need of a new set of values. Also in the cast: Paul Rudd, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Dan Hedaya, and Jeremy Sisto.

The Evening Dress features a 12-year-old tomboy (Alba Gaia Bellugi) who falls for her sexy schoolteacher, played by veteran pop singer/actress Lio.

Among the comedy shorts found in “From Uranus to Titicaca” is Lauren Palmigiano, Mike Rose, and Liz Feldman's A Gaythering Storm, a parody of the National Organization for Marriage's 2009 anti-gay marriage PSA that features Alicia Silverstone, Lance Bass, Jane Lynch, George Takei, and others.

Matthew Montgomery, Steve Callahan, Role/Play
Jake Yuzna's Open
Joe Wilson's Out in Silence
Julia Kots Nothing Happened
Steve Callahan, Matthew Montgomery in Rob Williams' Role/Play (top); Jake Yuzna's Open (upper middle); Joe Wilson's Out in Silence (lower middle); Julia Kots' Nothing Happened (bottom)

More at Outfest 2010 on Saturday, July 11: Rob Williams' Role/Play, Jake Yuzna's Open, Joe Wilson's Out in Silence, and the shorts program “Cherchez la Femme.”

Starring real-life partners Steve Callahan and Matthew Montgomery, Role/Play chronicles the emotional ups and downs of a recently outed soap opera actor (Callahan) and a recently divorced gay marriage activist (Montgomery) who meet at a Palm Springs resort.

Open is described as a movie that “blurs the borders of gender and sexuality.” In the film, two transgender women “alter their bodies to become a single Pandrogynous being,” while a young gay transman dates a “cisgender hipster.”

In the documentary Out in Silence: “The battle for gay rights hits small-town Oil City, Pa. when filmmaker Joe Wilson announces his same-sex marriage in the local newspaper. A woman whose gay teenage son is being abused at school reads the announcement and seeks help from Wilson.”

Among the shorts included in the “Cherchez la Femme” presentation is Julia Kots' Nothing Happened, in which girlfriends discuss sex, drugs, and dieting tips – but not one particular subject.

Gay Days, Yair Qedar
Yair Qedar's Gay Days

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister

Fans of Sarah Waters' (“Tipping the Velvet,” “Fingersmith”) period drama will adore this film based on the life and loves of Anne Lister. Set in 19th century England, this deeply engaging film follows the true story of the heiress and landowner who, in her courage to defy convention, became known as “the first modern lesbian.” Pieced together from Anne's encrypted, four-million-word diary, the film recounts her scandalous affairs with two women and the heartbreak over her one true love.


The Evening Dress

Like many of her male classmates, 12-year-old tomboy Juliette has a crush on Mrs. Solenska, a teacher distinguished by stylish attire and an uninhibited, provocative classroom demeanor. Juliette's fascination turns into all-consuming obsession, forcing revelations from both the girl and her teacher. A daring coming-of-age story, the film is elegantly commanded by director Myriam Aziza along with a fearless lead performance by young actor Alba Gaia Bellugi.



Filmmaker Rob Williams (MAKE THE YULETIDE GAY) returns to Outfest with this hot-button film starring Steve Callahan (EAST SIDE STORY) as a recently outed soap opera actor and Matthew Montgomery (PORNOGRAPHY: A THRILLER) as a recently divorced gay marriage activist. When their paths cross at a Palm Springs resort, they are forced to confront the price of fame and the fickle nature of celebrity within the gay community. Featuring David Pevsner and Jim Jay Bullock in fine supporting performances.



First-time feature director Jake Yuzna presents a beautifully shot, intense film that blurs the borders of gender and sexuality. As transwomen, Gene and Jay - inspired by artist Breyer P. Orridge (of Psychic TV fame) - alter their bodies to become a single Pandrogynous being. Syd, a young gay transman, deals with dating cisgender hipster Nick. OPEN is an uncommonly human and yet equally esoteric portrait of transgender men and women and the complexities of their relationships.

Macho Dancer, Lino Brocka
Deak Evgenikos, The Owls
Dean Cain, Andrew Keegan, The Broken Hearts Club
Lino Brocka's Macho Dancer (top); Deak Evgenikos, The Owls (middle); Dean Cain, Andrew Keegan, The Broken Hearts Club (bottom)

Monday at Outfest 2010:

Cheryl Dunye's The Owls is described as a mix of narrative thriller and documentary, featuring a quartet of middle-aged lesbians (Dunye among them) whose lives take a turn for the tragic when they befriend a much younger woman (Deak Evgenikos) who couldn't care less about older trailblazers.

“OWLs,” the Outfest site explains, is an acronym for “Old Wise Lesbians.” Cheryl Dunye, by the way, is the director of the 1986 cult classic The Watermelon Woman.

Featuring Ben Weber, Dean Cain, Timothy Olyphant, Zach Braff, Matt McGrath, and Andrew Keegan, Greg Berlanti's 2000 romantic comedy The Broken Hearts Club is set in West Hollywood, a place where boys play with both baseballs and with one another.

Also in the Broken Hearts Club cast: Jennifer Coolidge, Justin Theroux, Nia Long, Mary McCormack, veterans Diane McBain and John Mahoney, and The Twilight Saga: New Moon director Chris Weitz.

“Mastered from the sole surviving 35MM print of director Lino Brocka's original version, uncut and uncensored,” the 1988 cult classic Macho Dancer will be introduced by Brocka's nephew, Q. Allan Brocka. The film follows teenage sex workers in Manila's red light district. (Lino Brocka died in 1991 as a result of a road accident outside of Manila.)

Also on Monday, the shorts programs “Cherry Bombs,” “Boys Shorts,” and “Flesh 4 Fantasy.”

Synopses via & more information or to buy tickets at outfest.org.

Photos: Outfest

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