Title

Out-Standing

Director Javier Fuentes-Leon during Q&A at Outfest 2010.jpg

The 2010 Annual Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Outfest is in full force throughout Los Angeles until Sunday. The eleven-day extravaganza has included too many receptions, panels and public programs to count, and, when all is said and done, 147 films from 23 different countries will have been screened. The films shown so far have left audiences captivated by beautiful cinematography and amazing stories, highlighting the highs and lows that members of the gay and lesbian community face.

Among the standouts was director Javier Fuentes-Leon's Contracorriente (Undertow). Selected as the International Dramatic Centerpiece at this year's Outfest, Contracorriente is more than your basic love story or love triangle. It takes that love story and retells it from a point-of-view not often represented. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) (co-sponsor of that night's event, and - full disclosure! - one of my employers):

"Set on the rocky shores of Peru's coastline, "Undertow" tells the story of a husband and soon-to-be father, Miguel (Cristian Mercado) who struggles to keep separate but intact the family he cherishes and the affair he is having with solitary artist Santiago (Manolo Cardona). Miguel tries to have the best of both worlds until he has to risk everything in order to keep a promise made to Santiago.

The men's playfulness and joy combined with a heartbreaking situation, plus the beautiful imagery of cave arches, rocky shorelines and crashing waves, as well as a touch of magical realism, all intertwine to make this a moving and memorable film."

Read the entire review on GLAAD's blog.

GLAAD's Director of Spanish Media, Monica Trasandes noted that evening that films such as Contracorriente are key to representing the LGBT community. But perhaps the biggest compliment to the film, and its director, was when the sold-out crowd applauded non-stop for several minutes. One audience member even proclaimed that out all the Outfest screenings they had attended throughout the years, this film was by far the best. This is what Outfest is all about.

Outfest comes to a close this weekend, but enjoy these pictures, including stills from some of the 147 films included in this year's celebration of LGBT films and stories.

Photo credit goes to flickr user Outfest. Special thanks to Guido Götz and mPRm Public Relations.