Outfest Celebrates Queer TV with 'OutFronts'

Friday June 4, 2021

'Veneno' is featured at The OutFronts
'Veneno' is featured at The OutFronts  (Source:Outfest/The OutFronts)

Outfest, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization dedicated to creating visibility for diverse LGBTQIA+ stories and empowering tomorrow's artists and storytellers, has announced a brand-new fan-forward event: The OutFronts with presenting sponsors Hyundai; IMDb ( www.imdb.com ), the world's most popular and authoritative source for information on movies, TV shows and celebrities; and IMDbPro ( www.imdbpro.com ), the essential resource for entertainment industry professionals.

The Inaugural event will kick off Pride Month, beginning Friday, June 4th through Tuesday, June 8th, and will bring together the very best in queer episodic television to connect fans with all things LGBTQIA on television and streaming.

The OutFronts will be a five-day digital festival filled with free-to-view panel discussions and exclusive members-only premieres featuring the talent from some of the most exciting LGBTQIA+ programs available on television today.

Streamed on Outfest Now, the festival's lineup includes a discussion with the creator and talent from HBOMax's breakout Russell T Davies limited series "It's a Sin," a talk that will also bring in Jonathan Murray ("The Real World"), Daniel Franzese ("Looking"), and Patrik-Ian Polk ("Noah's Arc") to discuss how depictions of HIV/AIDS on television have evolved over four decades; HBOMax will also feature a talk with the creators of the smash hit Spanish series "Veneno," moderated by "Pose" and "American Horror Story" star Angelica Ross, as well as a conversation with the producers and the cast of "Genera+ion."

Other featured panels include "The L Word: Generation Q" from Showtime, "Everything's Gonna Be Okay" and "Motherland: Fort Salem" on Freeform, a talk with the past four seasons of Miss Congeniality winners from VH1's "RuPaul's Drag Race" moderated by Carson Kressley, "Special" on Netflix, David Makes Man on OWN, a look back at the legacy of Patrik-Ian Polk's series "Noah's Arc" and more. Special panel appearances will also be made by Jake Borelli ("Grey's Anatomy"), Gina Yashere (Bob Hearts Abishola), Ben DeLa Creme ("RuPaul's Drag Race"), and more.

"Outfest has had a tradition of being a place where the networks have come to premiere and discuss their queer stories on network and streaming television - from 'Ugly Betty,' 'Brothers and Sisters,' 'Glee,"' 'Transparent,' 'Love Victor,' 'The Twenties,' 'David Makes Man,' and more. We are now in an incredible place in television with LGBTQ content and overwhelming fan support. I remember when it wasn't too long ago that the only place to go for cutting edge queer stories and content would be in cinema and independent films. More often now it's on television, streaming and digital content, making it much more accessible to various audiences. Instead of fitting these shows into one of our film festivals, we recognized that fans should have the opportunity to come together and celebrate these stories as well as our filmmakers, alumni, and industry partners," said Outfest Executive Director, Damien S. Navarro. "That is why we are excited to embrace this moment and bring The OutFronts to the world."

The OutFronts festival aims to highlight the diverse representation of LGBTQ+ characters on screen, spanning across several genres and styles as queer and trans representation continues to increase across television and cinema. The community, and these show fandoms, will have the opportunity to hear directly from the creators of this programming and have an inside look at the process of bringing their favorite characters and stories to life.

Delving deeper into the issues these shows explore, The OutFronts will include intergenerational conversations, historical lookbacks, exclusive previews from upcoming seasons, and overall entertaining conversations between the cast and creators of these shows.

"Across BET, we have been actively working to ensure full representation of LGBTQ stories. To have a platform like OutFronts where we can show off the show we take great pride in - like 'Twenties,' Tyler Perry's 'Oval,' and 'All the Queen's Men' - is a huge opportunity for us and fans of the shows," stated Tiyale Hayes, Senior Vice President, Brand Strategy and Marketing at BET.

All panel discussions will be free of charge to view online and via the Outfest Now streaming app, with invites to special content (including sneak preview episodes of certain shows) available to Outfest Now monthly subscribers. The OutFronts are presented by Hyundai, IMDb and IMDbPro with GLAAD as the community partner. Promotional partners include Clear Channel, EDGE Media Network, KCRW, LA Times, OUT, Rainbow Media Co., and Variety.

RSVP and view the full calendar of The OutFronts programming at theoutfronts.com and below.

presented by BET

  • Bringing together queer and trans talent from Twenties, Oval, and All the Queens Men, this discussion focuses on the representation of Black LGBTQ+ characters on television in its many forms.

    Featured Talent: To be announced.

    presented by CBS Studios and MGM

  • In the documentary "Disclosure," actor Jen Richards memorably examined the legacy of transphobia that emerged from the infamous "Silence of the Lambs" character Buffalo Bill. Following that powerful statement, she was brought on as a consultant, and ultimately as a guest star, on CBS' "Clarice" to address the character's complicated history. In this panel, Richards is joined by "Clarice"'s star, showrunner, and writers to discuss their crafting of the show's fascinating new storyline.

    Featured Talent: Jen Richards, Rebecca Breeds, Elizabeth Klaviter (showrunner), Eleanor Jean (writer), moderated by Sam Feder (director of Disclosure)

    "David Makes Man"
    presented by OWN

  • Created by Academy Award-winning writer Tarell McCraney ("Moonlight"), the Peabody Award-winning series about a teenage prodigy in South Florida returns for Season 2 this summer. Moderator Kalen Allen speaks to the show's creators and stars on how "David Makes Man" navigates questions of masculinity and queerness in the Black community, featuring sneak peek clips of season 2.

    Featured Talent: Alana Arenas, Dee Harris-Lawrence, Tarell McCraney, and Travis Coles moderated by Kalen Allen

    "Equal" (HBO Max)
    presented by Warner Bros. Unscripted Television in association with Warner Horizon

  • The directors and actors from HBO Max's vital docuseries will present individual, testimonial videos about the trailblazer they portrayed in the series and also reveal their own, personal LGBTQ trailblazing heroes.

    Featured Talent: Cheyenne Jackson, Alexandra Grey, Stephen Kijak, Kimberly Reed, Jai Rodriguez, Scott Turner Schofield

    "Everything's Gonna Be Okay"
    presented by Freeform

  • Following the surprising finale of Season 2, series creator and star Josh Thomas ("Please Like Me") joins the main cast to talk about the show's hilarious and heartwarming representation of queer relationships, neurodiversity, asexuality, and the various forms of coping with quarantine.

    Featured Talent: Josh Thomas, Kayla Cromer, Maeve Press, Adam Faison, and Lillian Carrier, moderated by Silas Howard

    "Generat+ion" (HBO Max)
    presented by Hyundai

  • As "Genera+ion" prepares to return to HBO Max for the second half of its inaugural season, the series' producers (father/daughter team Zelda, Daniel and Zelda Barnz) and select cast gather to discuss the intergenerational conversations and diverse depictions of family structures taking place on the show, and how the two different generations involved in making the series have experienced queer representation throughout their lives.

    Featured Talent: Creators and executive producers Zelda Barnz & Daniel Barnz, who also directs, executive producer Ben Barnz, and cast members Martha Plimpton, Chloe East and Nava Mau

    Special Advanced Sneak Peek Episode available to Outfest Now Subscribers!

    "It's A Sin" (HBO Max)
    presented by Apla Health

  • Russell T Davies' limited series returned to the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the UK, crafting an energetic portrait that dealt in humor, heartbreak, and uncomfortable truths. Davies and his team discuss their work creating the look, feel, and characters of the 1980s, and are joined by "The Real World" co-creator Jonathan Murray, "Noah's Arc" creator Patrik-Ian Polk, and Daniel Franzese of HBO's "Looking" to talk about how depictions and representation of HIV/AIDS on television evolved over four decades.

    Featured Talent: Russell T Davies (creator), Peter Hoar (director), Omari Douglas (cast), Nathaniel Curtis (cast), ("It's A Sin"); Daniel Franzese (HBO's "Looking"), Jonathan Murray ("The Real World") and Patrik-Ian Polk ("Noah's Arc" Creator) moderated by GLAAD's Head of Talent
    Anthony Ramos

    Panel ends with a special sponsor film from APLA Health featuring Dr. Gottlieb who was the first to identify AIDS in 1981, which led directly to the discovery of HIV in 1983.

    "The L Word: Generation Q"
    presented by Showtime

  • In advance of the much-anticipated second season, the new generation of cast members from Showtime's reimagining of one of its most legendary series discuss crafting their characters, fan reaction to season 1, and reveal what they can about what's to come in the future. Featured Talent: Arienne Mandi, Jacqueline Toboni, Leo Sheng, and Rosanny Zayas moderated by Trish Bendix

    "Love Victor" - Season Two
    presented by Hulu

  • After season 1's major cliffhanger of an ending, be among the first to see what's in store for the newly-out Victor in season 2. Creators and talent from the series gather to talk about season's 1 impact, and what's in store for Victor, his family, and his romantic life in season 2 as he begins his junior year at Creekwood High.

    Featured Talent: Ana Ortiz, George Sear, James Martinez, Michael Cimino, Marcos Luevanos (producer/writer), Brian Tanen (Showrunner), moderated by GLAAD's Monica Trasandes

    "Motherland: Fort Salem"
    presented by Freeform

  • Freeform's addictive fantasy series, set in an alternate America where witches ended their persecution by cutting a deal with the government to fight for their country, garnered a huge queer following on the strength of its world-building, and its central queer couple. The cast and creators discuss the empowering series and what's to come in season 2.

    Featured Talent: Amalia Holm, Ashley Nicole Williams, Eliot Laurence, Jessica Sutton, and Taylor Hickson moderated by The Advocate's Tracy Gilchrist

    "Noah's Arc"
    presented by AARP

  • A landmark in Black queer representation, Patrik-Ian Polk's series "Noah's Arc" premiered in 2005 on the then-brand new cable channel Logo. 15 years later, the cast reunited during the 2020 pandemic to revisit their hugely influential characters in a special reunion episode, "The 'Rona Chronicles." Polk and series lead Darryl Stephens discuss the show's lasting impact, its memorable storylines, and the circumstances that lead to that special reunion.

    Featured Talent: Darryl Stephens (lead) and Patrik-Ian Polk (Creator) moderated by Ryan Mitchell on behalf of GLAAD

    "Noah's Arc: The 'Rona Chronicles" available to view for Outfest Now subscribers!

    The CW's LGBTQ Superhero Panel
    presented by IMDb*

  • As superhero films continue to dominate the box office, theater-goers rarely if ever see a character from the LGBTQIA+ community up on the big screen -- an odd reality in a genre with seemingly unlimited imagination. However, in television, The CW's DC Comics-inspired series have been light years ahead in representing queer and trans superheroes, garnering a huge and vocal fan base in the process. The talent and creators from some of these trailblazing works discuss their landmark roles, and they impact they have on their fans.

    Featured Talent: Javicia Leslie (star - "Batwoman"), Chyler Leigh (star - "Supergirl"), Nicole Maines (star - "Supergirl"), Nancy Kiu (writer/producer — "Batwoman"), Carl Ogawa (producer — Berlanti Productions) moderated by Damian Holbrook (TV Guide)

    *Co-streamed on IMDb YouTube ( www.youtube.com/imdb ) and Twitter channels ( www.twitter.com/IMDb )

    "RuPaul's Drag Race"
    presented by VH1

  • Though they didn't win the crown on their original seasons, the queens deemed Miss Congeniality by fans and fellow contestants alike are some of the most fondly remembered in "Drag Race" herstory. The inimitable Carson Kressley joins the winners of the Miss Congeniality title from seasons 10 through 13 discuss the meaning of this honor, who else from the show might deserve such accolades, and the most memorable moments from their respective seasons.

    Featured Talent: LaLa Ri, Monet X Change, Nina West, and Heidi N Closet moderated by Carson Kressley

    presented by HULU

  • A stirring drama out of New Zealand, "Rūrangi" follows transgender activist Caz Davis, who returns to the remote, politically divided dairy community of Rūrangi after a decade away, hoping to reconnect with his estranged father, who hasn't heard from him since before Caz transitioned. The creators and stars of the series discuss this unique, compelling series and the journey towards getting it made.

    Featured Talent: Director Max Currie, Writer Cole Meyers, Producer Craig Gainsborough, and Actor Elz Carrad, moderated by Outfest's Director of Festival Programming Mike Dougherty

    Advanced Sneak Peek episodes available to Outfest Now subscribers!

    "Special" (Netflix)
    presented by Hyundai

  • As the second and final season of creator/star Ryan O'Connell's one-of-a-kind comedy series premieres on Netflix, O'Connell and the show's talent discuss "Special'"s unprecedented look at disability in the queer community, its unique sense of humor, and saying goodbye to these unforgettable characters.

    Featured Talent: Ryan O'Connell, Jessica Hecht, and Punam Patel, moderated by GLAAD's Head of Talent Anthony Ramos

    "Star Trek: Discovery"
    presented by CBS STUDIOS & PARAMOUNT+

  • "Star Trek: Discovery"'s LGBTQ representation has gone warp speed ahead of any previous iteration in the franchise, introducing genre fans to the queer coupledom of Lt. Commander Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz), as well as the franchise's very first trans and non-binary characters. The talent behind these roles discuss their trailblazing characters, what queer and trans representation in the science fiction genre has meant to fans, and much more.

    Featured Talent: Anthony Rapp, Blu del Barrio, Ian Alexander, Tig Notaro, Wilson Cruz, and Michelle Paradise (Co-Showrunner/EP) moderated by Outfest's Executive Director Damien Navarro

    "The Wilds"
    presented by AMAZON STUDIOS

  • Amazon Prime Video's YA thriller series about a disparate group of young women stranded on an island following a plane crash - and the devious plot to keep them there - garnered a vocal fan base this past year, particular for its intricately drawn queer characters who explored issues of coming out vs. living proudly, and the intersection of queer and indigenous identities. The creators and stars of the show discuss the thrill of getting to create and embody such diverse and unique characters.

    Featured Talent: Sarah Streicher (Creator/Executive Producer), Amy B. Harris (Executive Producer/Showrunner), Mia Healey (Cast, Shelby Goodkind), Erana James (Cast, Toni Shalifoe), moderated by journalist Jill Gutowitz

    "Veneno" (HBO Max)
    presented by HYUNDAI

  • One of the breakout hits of 2020, the limited series from Spain charted the rise and fall and rise again of Veneno, a trans sex worker who attained the status of cultural icon in Spain due to her fiery regular appearances on late night TV. Told through the eyes of real-life friend Valeria Vegas (and adapted from her book), "Veneno," with all its glamour, heartbreak, and sensuality, felt like a landmark in trans storytelling. Valeria Vegas and the show's creators, Los Javis, are joined by "Pose" and "American Horror Story" star - and avowed "Veneno" superfan - Angelica Ross to talk about the show's journey to the screen, and what doors it may have opened for more trans stories to be told.

    Featured Talent: Javier Ambrossi, Javier Calvo, and Valeria Vegas moderated by Angelica Ross

    Community Partner: Amplitud (amplitud.net)

    Special Event Panels

    Being Out in Television
    presented by IMDbPro

  • We've all heard the tales: There are major stars in Hollywood who remain in the closet - even in 2021 - for fear that their careers will be damaged beyond repair should they live out and proud. Who's advising them to do so? Is it true? In this candid discussion among actors who have been through the public coming out process - and talent who've maybe always been out in the public eye -- over the past few decades, we'll explore the changing landscape of television, how the fear of outing can still persist in a time of unprecedented visibility, and how these fierce talents continue to carve a path of success despite the perception that it simply wasn't possible. Featured Talent: Paris Barclay (director/producer, "Station 19"), Jake Borelli ("Grey's Anatomy"), Ronen Rubinstein ("9-1-1: Lone Star"), Gina Yashere ("Bob Hearts Abishola"), Alexandra Grey ("MacGyver")

    Moderated by: David Artavia (Journalist)

    Indie & Queer Emmy Contenders: Digital Creators Roundtable
    presented by IMDb

  • What are the challenges (and freedoms) of creating digital series and films as a queer independent creator in today's media landscape, and how do you break into the Emmy race without the resources of a major network or studio? In this panel discussion between the teams behind the groundbreaking series "These Thems," landmark documentary "Disclosure," and relentlessly entertaining drag variety show (produced during the pandemic!) "The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special," these LGBTQ+ Emmy contenders open up about their projects' journeys from inception to production to distribution and beyond.

    Featured Talent: Gretchen Wylder, Jett Garrison, and Sophia Clark ("These Thems"), BenDeLaCreme and Gus Lanza ("The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special"), Laverne Cox, Amy Scholder, and Sam Feder ("Disclosure").