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Outfest has just announced its opening and closing films.
Outfest Los Angeles, the LGBTQ+ film festival taking place from July 13-23, is one of the biggest annual festivals for LGBTQ+ movies, and this year won’t be any different. The festival’s opening film has now been announced as the highly anticipated YA drama Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.
Based on the best-selling YA novel by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante centers on the friendship between two teen Mexican-American boys in 1987 El Paso. They explore “a new, unusual friendship and the difficult road to self-discovery.”
Max Pelayo and Reese Gonzales star in the lead roles, alongside Eugenio Derbez, Eva Longoria, Veronica Falcón, and Kevin Alejandro. It premiered at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival and currently has a 100 percent Tomatometer critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Pelayo plays Aristotle, also known as Ari Mendoza. He’s described as “a bored and lonely teenager” who seeks out companionship and finds it in Dante. Gonzales plays Dante Quintana, who teaches Ari how to swim, talks to him about literature and poetry, and shows him how to better connect with people.
With Aristotle and Dante opening the festival, and the documentary Chasing Chasing Amy closing it, it marks the first time in Outfest’s history that both the opening and closing films will be made by trans filmmakers (Aitch Alberto for Dante and Sav Rodgers for Chasing Chasing Amy).
Chasing Chasing Amy investigates the legacy of Kevin Smith’s 1997 indie movie Chasing Amy, its influence on queer culture, and the movie’s trans filmmaker. Both Alberto and Rodgers are alumni of Outfest’s Artist Development programs.
“Although in many ways this moment is bigger than myself, or any individual, I feel ready to step into it as a representation of what’s possible when we refuse the naysayer,” Alberto, the director and writer of Aristotle and Dante said in a statement. “To step into it as a representation of what is possible when we refuse to let our identity hold us back. I stand as an example that anything is possible when we move with intention, resilience, and purpose to show that we are more than what you define us as. How fitting to get to do it with this story, a story rooted in the invitation to see the love around us and to stand in our very truth. I can confidently say that on Outfest’s opening night I will be standing in my truth. I’m forever grateful to this important organization and for this opportunity to celebrate.”