‘Firstness,’ ‘Right to Try’ and ‘No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics’ Win Big at Outfest

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Outfest announced the winners of its 2021 edition, including Vivian Kleiman’s “No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics” for documentary feature and Brielle Brilliant’s “Firstness” for U.S. narrative feature.

The Los Angeles LGBTQ film festival also honored Pooya Mohseni with the grand jury prize for best performance in a U.S. narrative feature for her performance in “See You Then,” while Wes Hurley won best screenplay for “Potato Dreams of America,” a non-traditional portrayal of a gay immigrant’s transition to America and his relationship with his mother.

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Park Kun-young was awarded best international narrative feature for “A Distant Place,” and Ümit Ünal won best international screenplay for “Love, Spells, And All That.” “Sweetheart” actor Nell Barlow took home the award for best performance in an international narrative feature “for her ability to emote even under a pair of sunglasses and a bucket hat.”

Xavier Seron won best international narrative short for “Squish,” which combines Black humor and a satirical take on bourgeois comforts, and Narcissister won best documentary short for “Narcissister Breast Work.” “Girls & The Party,” directed by Paloma Lopez, was awarded with best U.S. narrative short.

Of the special programming awards, Joseph Sackett won for emerging talent, Whitney Skauge and Terence Smith won for freedom, and Bo McGuire won for artistic achievement.

The audience award for documentary short went to director Zeberiah Newman’s “Right to Try,” while Andrea Meyerson won the documentary feature audience award for “This Is Jessica.” Jenn Ravenna Tran won the narrative short audience award for “And Then,” Lyle Kash won the narrative feature audience award for “Death and Bowling” and Milo Ferguson won the experimental short audience award for “Jupiter & Europa.”

Right to Try” tells the story of casting director Jeffrey Drew’s (above left with Newman) participation in an experimental trial for an HIV cure. Octavia Spencer joined the project as a producer after first reading about the film in Variety.

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