Michaela Coel and Andra Day to be Honored at 2021 Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival

Thursday April 8, 2021

Academy Award nominee Andra Day will be honored at the 2021 Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival
Academy Award nominee Andra Day will be honored at the 2021 Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival  (Source:The 2021 Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival)

The following is a press release from the 2021 Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival:

The 2021 Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Film Festival announced that it will honor Michaela Coel with the Fusion Achievement Award and Academy Award nominee Andra Day with the James Schamus Ally Award on Saturday, April 17th.

The film festival kicks off next week with five days of entertainment, education, and a celebration of international voices who will share their stories at screenings, community workshops, a One Minute Movie Contest, music performances, and networking events. Outfest is proud of its reputation as the vanguard of queer media arts and a champion of underrepresented voices, and will continue this work by honoring Michaela Coel and Andra Day at this year's hybrid festival drive-in events.

The 2021 Fusion Achievement Award, which recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to LGBTQIA+ stories, arts, and media visibility will honor Coel's body of work. Past recipients of the Award include Nisha Ganatra, Angela Robinson, Rose Troche, Wilson Cruz, Alec Mapa, Patrik-Ian Polk, Cheryl Dunye, Brickson Diamond, and Rikki Beadle-Blair.

"Coel's work in 'Chewing Gum,' 'I May Destroy You,' and more portray complex characters who have helped open the door for more empathetic conversations about the issues facing members of this QTBIPOC community" said Festival Executive Director, Damien Navarro. "Outfest Fusion believes that honoring one of the most incredible, talented, and inspiring voices and storytellers of our generation will inspire Outfest Fusion's Black creators, across all mediums, and also send a strong message within the industry that we need to include, support, and finance exponentially more independent voices."

Outfest Fusion will honor Andra Day with the James Schamus Ally Award which recognizes a great ally to the LGBTQIA+ community. Day has been a longtime supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and many have embraced her song "Rise Up" as an anthem for their own struggles and victories. And due to Day's exquisite, Academy Award-nominated portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lee Daniels' "The United States v. Billie Holiday," Outfest Fusion is spotlighting her commitment to capturing all the brave, authentic complexities of Ms. Holiday's life.

"Too often in fictionalizing historic lives our LGBTQIA heroes remain closested robbing our understanding of how complex their lives were and how long there has been a community supporting the fluidity of sexual desire. Ms Day's honest performance does not shy away from these truths. Her vulnerability and strength in Lee's [Daniels'] film gives our community the historic dignity it deserves,'' commented Navarro.

An additional highlight is Outfest Fusion's Rising Stars panel, a roundtable discussion with five immensely talented actors from the QTBIPOC community whose careers are poised for major success. The pre-recorded panel, moderated by Out magazine's Editor in Chief David Artavia, will be available free of charge on the Outfest Now streaming platform and will include Harvey Guillén (who recently made history as the first queer Latinx actor to be nominated for a Critics Choice award in his category for his role in FX's "What We Do in the Shadows"); Tony nominee and breakout star of "Search Party" Season 4 Shalita Grant; Vida cast member Vico Ortiz, soon to be seen on season 2 of Freeform's "Everything's Gonna Be Okay"; "Star Trek: Discovery"'s Ian Alexander, the first out trans actor to be cast in the franchise's history; and actor and comedian Sherry Cola, who stars on Freeform's "Good Trouble."

In addition to these honorees, Outfest Fusion will also present a variety of panels and workshops, live and pre-recorded, for filmmakers and the general public to attend throughout the five-day festival. Additional guests and panels, including ones curated by some of the amazing community partners that Outfest Fusion has, will be announced later on the website. All of the panels will be available free starting April 17th at 6 am PDT.

For more information, go to outfestfusion.com.

Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival

This story is part of our special report titled Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival . Want to read more? Here's the full list.

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