Today, Outfest announced the Opening and Closing Night gala film selections for the 41st edition of the Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ+ Film Festival, taking place from July 13 – 23 in Los Angeles, presented by Warner Bros. Discovery and Genesis Motor America. The festival will open with Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, directed by Aitch Alberto, and the 11-day event will close with Chasing Chasing Amy, directed by Sav Rodgers. The Opening Night Gala will screen at the Orpheum Theatre, with the Closing Night Gala screening at The Montalbán Theatre.

This marks the first time in Outfest’s history that both Opening and Closing night will feature films made by trans artists, underlining the deep roster of trans, non-binary, and intersex talent working in the entertainment industry as well as the diversity of trans storytelling at this moment in history. These events also represent a homecoming for both Alberto and Rodgers, both of whom are alumni of Outfest’s Artist Development programs. Alberto took part in the Outfest Screenwriting Lab in 2007 and has returned to mentor young filmmakers in Outfest’s programs, while Rodgers is an alum of both OutSet – Outfest’s filmmaking lab and mentorship program for LGBTQ+ youth (16-24) to share their stories in film – and the 2021 Outfest Screenwriting Lab with his and Taylor Gates’ narrative screenplay I Love You, Margot Robbie.

Based on Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s beloved and best-selling young adult novel, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe centers on the friendship between two teenage Mexican-American boys in 1987 El Paso who explore a new, unusual friendship and the difficult road to self-discovery. The film stars Max Pelayo and Reese Gonzales in the lead roles, with Eugenio Derbez, Eva Longoria, Veronica Falcón and Kevin Alejandro rounding out the cast.

The film is produced by Dylan Sellers and Chris Parker of Limelight Productions, Big Swing Productions’ Valerie Stadler, Ben Odell and Eugenio Derbez of 3Pas Studios, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 5000 Broadway Productions. Limelight funded the film along with Boies/ Schiller Entertainment. Zack Schiller, David Boies, Kyra Sedgwick, Meredith Bagby also served as executive producers on the film along with Alberto. The film premiered at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews, and is currently 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and will be released in the U.S. by Blue Fox Entertainment.

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