For the first time ever, IMDb ratings were used to select Outfest Los Angeles Audience Award winners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Tuesday August 24, 2021 – Outfest — the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization promoting equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBTQ stories on the screen — has announced the award winners of its 2021 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival, presented by WarnerMedia and automotive sponsor Hyundai.


Outfest Los Angeles extends with an Encore of the festival through midnight on Wednesday, August 25. Catch the winners below streaming at

The nation’s leading LGBTQ festival ran from August 13th to August 22nd.  The 2021 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival hosted its closing night at the iconic Orpheum Theatre with a screening of Fanny: The Right to Rock – a film about the first female rock band to release an album with a major label- as well as an Awards Ceremony to honor award-winning actor Elliot Page who received the prestigious Outfest Annual Achievement Award and Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer who received the prestigious Outfest Annual James Schamus Ally Award.

New this year, Outfest Los Angeles collaborated with IMDb (, the world’s most popular and authoritative source for movie, TV and celebrity content, marking the first time a festival has used IMDb fan ratings to select its official audience award-winning titles. IMDb customer ratings, which help entertainment fans discover a new generation of LGBTQ+ stories and storytellers on a year-round basis, helped determine some of the breakout films at this year’s festival that most resonated with audiences. Among other prizes and recognition, eligible Outfest Los Angeles winners received a one-year membership to IMDbPro (, the essential resource for entertainment industry professionals, to continue advancing their careers.

The winners of the Grand Jury Prizes for Best U.S. Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short, and Best International Narrative Short all receive a $2000 cash prize awarded in partnership with Entertainment Partners. In addition, the U.S. and International Narrative Short Grand Jury prize winners are now Academy Award eligible.


The jurors for Outfest Los Angeles represented a diverse cross-section of filmmakers, artists, journalists, and industry executives:

U.S. Narrative Features Jury


Anna Kerrigan – Filmmaker, COWBOYS

Caleb Ward – Vice President of Acquisitions, Highland Film Group


Tony Zosherafatain – Filmmaker, TRANS IN TRUMPLAND

International Narrative Features Jury

Manuel Betancourt – Journalist

Omar Zuñiga Hidalgo – Filmmaker, LOS FUERTES

Liliana Rodriguez – Artistic Director, Palm Springs International Film Society

Documentary Jury (Features and Shorts)

Robert Chang – Coordinating Producer, America ReFramed at American Documentary, Inc.

Jen Rainin – Filmmaker, AHEAD OF THE CURVE

Alex Schmider – Film Producer, CHANGING THE GAME

International Narrative Shorts Jury

Alonso Duralde – Journalist & Critic

Valeria Castillo Martinez – Filmmaker, DEATH AND NINTENDO

Jason Ishikawa – Senior Executive, Cinetic Media

U.S. Narrative Shorts Jury

Malin Kan – Programmer, AFI Festivals

Erica Tremblay – Filmmaker, LITTLE CHIEF

Em Weinstein – Filmmaker, IN FRANCE MICHELLE IS A MAN’S NAME

“The incredible response from this year’s festival has been beyond heart-warming and rewarding for our board, staff and volunteers to watch as thousands of our members, fans, filmmakers and audiences participated in this year’s festivities from around the world.  As we come together a final time to celebrate our winners from 2021 – I want the world to know that Outfest the organization is committed to continuing our fight to improve accessibility, to continue expanding our visibility and to identify where new opportunities lie for us.  As I said at our Opening Night Gala – To my trans, intersex and non-binary siblings, we see you.  To my black lesbians, trans and gay men – we hear you, to my Latinx primos – we stand by you – to my asian queer family – we will do better –  to my disabled storytellers and dreamers – we won’t leave you behind – for my indigenous artists and visionaries – we will never forget – to my middle eastern colleagues – we will climb with  you – and to all of those generations before us who knocked down those first blocks – we can never repay you,”  commented Outfest Executive Director Damien Navarro.

Outfest Los Angeles 2021 Award Winners

Audience Awards

Documentary Short Audience Award

RIGHT TO TRY, Directed by Zeberiah Newman

Documentary Feature Audience Award

THIS IS JESSICA, Directed by Andrea Meyerson

Narrative Short Audience Award

AND THEN, Directed by Jenn Ravenna Tran

Narrative Feature Audience Award

DEATH AND BOWLING, Directed by Lyle Kash

Experimental Short Audience Award

JUPITER & EUROPA, Directed by Milo Ferguson

Grand Jury Awards

Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize


The Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize goes to NO STRAIGHT LINES: THE RISE OF QUEER COMICS for preserving an important history of the evolution of queer creators in comics. This film highlights the often invisible work of building community through the creative process, and has the potential to unite queer community across generations through learning our shared history and the lines that can be drawn to unite us.

Documentary Feature Special Mentions

SEDIMENTS, Directed by Adrián Silvestre & NORTH BY CURRENT, Directed by Angelo Madsen Minax

The jury would like to acknowledge two standout documentary features – SEDIMENTS and NORTH BY CURRENT –  that lean into the messiness of relationships and life journeys with their artistic risk-taking, aspirations, and unexpected storytelling impact.

U.S. Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize

FIRSTNESS, Directed by Brielle Brilliant

The U.S. Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize goes to FIRSTNESS for its fresh and compassionate perspective on a community of folks that live on the periphery of mainstream society. This immersive film had such a strong point of view, great cinematography, and a beautifully cohesive cast.

U.S. Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize for Best Performance

Pooya Mohseni in SEE YOU THEN

The Grand Jury Prize for Best Performance in a U.S. Narrative Feature goes to Pooya Mohseni in SEE YOU THEN for an excellent portrayal of a character who simultaneously takes responsibility for their past while also honoring their true self.

U.S. Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize for Best Screenplay


The Grand Jury Prize for Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature goes to Wes Hurley for POTATO DREAMS OF AMERICA for his unique non-traditional portrayal of a gay immigrant’s transition to America and his relationship to his mother.

U.S. Narrative Feature Special Mention

THE SIXTH REEL for Ensemble Performance, Directed by Charles Busch & Carl Andress

A Special Mention for Ensemble Performance goes to Charles Busch & Carl Andress’ film THE SIXTH REEL for the wackiest and most entertaining ensemble of characters we’ve seen in a while; we had such a wonderful time romping around lower Manhattan with this group of folks.

International Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize

A DISTANT PLACE, Directed by PARK Kun-young

The International Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize goes to A DISTANT PLACE for exploring and expanding our notions of queer fatherhood with a narrative so wholly rooted in its bucolic rural community.

International Narrative Feature Special Mention

Cloris Leachman in JUMP, DARLING for Performance

A Special Mention goes to the inimitable Cloris Leachman for a reminder of the genius of a legendary performer whose wit remained as sharp as ever and who so effortlessly mined the heartbreak and melancholy of an unforgettable grandma.

International Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize for Best Screenplay

LOVE, SPELLS, AND ALL THAT, screenplay by Ümit Ünal, for its playful and enchanting approach to long-lost love whose twists and turns kept us guessing throughout.

International Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize for Best Performance

Nell Barlow for SWEETHEART for her ability to emote even under a pair of sunglasses and a bucket hat, and for crafting a distinctly empathetic and really funny performance that’s a brilliant calling card for a long career ahead.

Best International Narrative Short Grand Jury Prize

SQUISH, Directed by Xavier Seron

The Grand Prize for Best International Narrative Short Film goes to SQUISH for its brilliant combination of black humor and a blisteringly satirical take on bourgeois comforts, and its outrageous ability to shock audiences into horrified laughter.

International Narrative Short Special Mention

PRIVATE PHOTOS, Directed by Marcelo Grabowsky

A Special Mention goes to PRIVATE PHOTOS for its empathetic portrait of a relationship on the rocks and its incisive use of sex to portray its characters’ innermost desires.

Best Documentary Short Grand Jury Prize

NARCISSISTER BREAST WORK, Directed by Narcissister

The Grand Prize for Best Documentary Short Film Award goes to NARCISSISTER BREAST WORK for a film that gets under your skin as a way of fighting back against the harm that society inflicts on all of us around our bodies and asks the audience to question their reaction to it and the impact of why they are.

Documentary Short Special Mention

F1-100, Directed by Emory Chao Johnson

A Special Mention goes to F1-100, a visually masterful film that feels far ahead of its time. Our recognition is honoring not only the creativity of the film itself, but also the filmmaker who we really believe is someone to watch.

Best U.S. Narrative Short Grand Jury Prize

GIRLS & THE PARTY, Directed by Paloma Lopez

The Grand Jury Prize for Best U.S. Narrative Short goes to GIRLS & THE PARTY for its nuanced and carefully handled evocation of queer girlhood.

U.S. Narrative Short Special Mention

THE RECORDER, Directed by Justine Lupe

The Special Mention goes to THE RECORDER for its brilliant comedic performances.

Special Programming Awards

Emerging Talent

The 2021 Programming Award for Emerging Talent goes to Joseph Sackett for HOMEBODY, an assured directorial feature debut that inventively and sensitively explores gender identity with nuance and displays his mastery of the craft, balancing a tight script, character work, a whimsical score, comedic timing, emotional notes, and a handsome visual palette.


The 2021 Programming Award for Freedom goes to Whitney Skauge and Terence Smith for their collaboration on the short documentary THE BEAUTY PRESIDENT, a reflection on the legacy of a young, black drag queen who, at the height of the AIDS crisis, brazenly ran against George H. W. Bush for president on the Queer Nation Party Ticket in 1992.

Artistic Achievement

The 2021 Programming Award for Artistic Achievement goes to Bo McGuire for SOCKS ON FIRE for combining lyrical poetic reflections, old VHS footage, intimate interviews, and dramatic reenactments in drag to push the boundaries of non-fiction cinema in a lush Southern Gothic.


Founded by UCLA students in 1982, Outfest is the world’s leading organization that promotes equality by creating, sharing and protecting LGBT stories on the screen. Outfest builds community by connecting diverse populations to discover, discuss and celebrate stories of LGBT lives. For nearly four decades, Outfest has showcased thousands of films from around the world, educated and mentored hundreds of emerging filmmakers, and protected more than 40,000 LGBT films and videos. Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival is ten days of world-class films, panels, and parties.


IMDb is the world’s most popular and authoritative source for information on movies, TV shows and celebrities. Products and services to help fans decide what to watch and where to watch it include: the IMDb website for desktop and mobile devices; apps for iOS and Android; and X-Ray on Prime Video. IMDb also offers a free streaming channel, IMDb TV, and produces IMDb original video series and podcasts. For entertainment industry professionals, IMDb provides IMDbPro and Box Office Mojo. IMDb licenses information from its vast and authoritative database to third-party businesses worldwide; learn more at IMDb is an Amazon company. For more information, visit and follow @IMDb.


Warner Media is a leading media and entertainment company that creates and distributes premium and popular content from a diverse array of talented storytellers and journalists to global audiences through its consumer brands including: HBO, HBO Max, Warner Bros., TNT, TBS, truTV, CNN, DC, New Line, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies and others. The organization also includes Xandr’s suite of advanced advertising solutions designed to help to improve advertising for brands, publishers, and consumers.


Hyundai Motor America focuses on ‘Progress for Humanity’ and smart mobility solutions. Hyundai offers U.S. consumers a technology-rich lineup of cars, SUVs and electrified vehicles. Our 820 dealers sold more than 620,000 vehicles in the U.S. in 2020, and nearly half were built at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. For more information, visit