Justin Simien is set to receive the Rising Star Award at OUTfest

Justin Simien

Outfest, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization promoting equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBTQ stories on the screen, announced today that it will honor the producers and cast of FX Networks “POSE” at the 2018 Legacy Awards on Sunday, October 28th. Outfest will also honor writer/director Justin Simien (Dear White People), as well as 39-time Academy Award® winner, Sony Pictures Classics.

Merrill Lynch will return as the Presenting Sponsor. This year’s awards dinner will once again take place at performing arts venue Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles, with head chef Neal Fraser (Redbird).

“POSE” has quickly become a historic piece of television with its intelligent and empathetic exploration of trans people of color in New York City in the 1980s, brought to the screen by a deep bench of talented trans actors, writers and directors. These are characters and stories that would have been unheard of on television until now, but “POSE” has radically changed the television paradigm and further advanced the diversity of storytelling in the culture thus garnering it this year’s Trailblazer Award.

Justin Simien is receiving the Rising Star Award in recognition of his talent and support of LGBTQ stories and the community. In just a few short years, Simien, as a storyteller, has skillfully addressed issues relevant to people of color in and out of the LGBTQ community but always in the context of sharp, observed humor and empathetic characters in both the film and serialized versions of Dear White People.

Sony Pictures Classics will be honored with the Corporate Trailblazer Award in recognition for its role as a distributor in bringing LGBTQ stories to a wide audience. Co-Founders and Co-Presidents Tom Bernard and Michael Barker have given viewers the opportunity to see important works such as Call Me By Your Name, A Fantastic Woman, Love Is Strange, Kill Your Darlings, Capote, and All About My Mother on the big screen.

“Even today, it is often a battle for members of the LGBTQ community to be seen, heard and acknowledged. Hatred and misunderstanding still dominate the cultural and political landscape. In this climate of intolerance, our community is now faced with the eroding of our hard-earned rights and recognition. That’s why our honorees – “POSE” and Justin Simien – are so incredibly important. They demand attention and respect for LGBTQ communities of color – our trans, black and brown family members who are most often the focus of the intolerance and violence that our community faces. We honor them to show that we stand with them and that we are grateful for their work,” stated Outfest’s Executive Director, Christopher Racster. “Sony Pictures Classics is to be lauded for elevating the stories of the LGBTQ community for decades, long before our community became a part of the everyday cultural discourse. Sony Pictures Classics continues to ensure that audiences around the world see our struggles, our victories and our everyday lives on an equal footing with any other human story.”

The Legacy Awards serves as a fundraiser to support the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, which celebrates its 13th anniversary this year. Outfest and UCLA Film & Television Archive partnered in 2005 to create the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, the only program in the world exclusively dedicated to saving and preserving LGBT moving images. The Legacy Project is aimed at the crisis in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender moving image archiving. Many of the landmark LGBT films produced over the last 40-plus years are already in danger of fading away; their original exhibition prints are in tatters and their negatives are in woeful storage conditions, or even lost. For the last 13 years, the Legacy Project is proud to have collected more than 40,000 moving image items and to have restored 23 historically important film and video projects.

Previous Legacy Award winners include Rita Moreno (West Side Story), Laverne Cox (“Orange is the New Black”), Jill Soloway (“Transparent”), Sean Hayes (“Will and Grace”), Tom Hanks (Philadelphia), Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right), Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City), Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry), Lee Daniels (“Empire”), Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Chicago) Adam Shankman (Hairspray), Roland Emmerich (Stonewall), Alan Poul (“The Newsroom”), Bruce Cohen (Silver Linings Playbook), and Paris Barclay (“Sons of Anarchy”).

Other sponsors for the night include: Brown-Forman, Eco Terreno  Wines Inc., and Variety.

Tickets are on sale now at www.outfest.org. Tables and tribute ads are on sale now. For information about tables, contact 213-480-7066 or thelegacyawards@outfest.org. For sponsorship and tribute journal ads, please contact Amy Flower at amy@outfest.org or 213-480-7095.

To buy tickets, please visit: https://bit.ly/2Iu7eZ4


About POSE

Set in the 1980s, “Pose” is a dance musical that explores the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in New York: the ball culture world, the rise of the luxury Trump-era universe and the downtown social and literary scene.

Making television history, “Pose” features the largest cast of transgender actors in series regular roles, as well as the largest recurring cast of LGBTQ actors ever for a scripted series.  The transgender cast includes Mj Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore, Hailie Sahar and Angelica Ross, who co-star alongside Evan Peters, Kate Mara, James Van Der Beek, Tony Award® winner Billy Porter, Charlayne Woodard, and newcomers Ryan Jamaal Swain, Dyllón Burnside and Angel Bismark Curiel.

Evan Peters and Kate Mara play New Jersey couple “Stan” and “Patty Bowes,” who get sucked into the glamour and intrigue of New York City in the 1980s, as epitomized by “Matt Bromley” (James Van Der Beek), Stan’s boss.  Mj Rodriguez stars as “Blanca Rodriguez,” who breaks from the House of Abundance and her former house mother “Elektra Abundance” (Dominique Jackson) to form her own “house,” a self-selected family that provides support to LGBTQ youth rejected by their birth families. Indya Moore plays “Angel,” a streetwalker who develops feelings for her new client, Stan. Ryan Jamaal Swain plays “Damon Richards,” a dancer who joins Blanca’s house. Together they compete in the Balls—where house members challenge each other in various categories and are judged on their outfits, attitude, or dance skills.  Under the watchful eye of “Pray Tell” (Billy Porter), Grandfather to all the children who compete in the house balls, Elektra’s House of Abundance and Blanca’s upstart House of Evangelista face off in what may develop into a legendary rivalry.

“Pose” was co-created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals, with Murphy directing the first two episodes. The series is executive produced by Murphy, Falchuk, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Alexis Martin Woodall and Sherry Marsh. Canals and Silas Howard serve as co-executive producers, and Janet Mock, Our Lady J and Erica Kay also serve as producers. The eight-episode first season is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions.

About Justin Simien

Justin Simien is a writer, director, and producer of both television and film based in Los Angeles, California. In 2014 he wrote and directed his first feature film, the critically acclaimed Indie Dear White People, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. After being called “timely and important” by critics and audiences alike, the project won him the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent and was picked up by Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions.

After the theatrical release of DEAR WHITE PEOPLE in the Fall of 2014, Simien was awarded Best First Screenplay and nominated for Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards. The film also earned him a nomination for the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award at that year’s Gotham Awards, along with a nomination for the Audience Award. Actress Tessa Thompson also garnered a Breakthrough Actor win at the Gotham Awards for her leading performance as the fearless and controversial Sam White. Simien was included in Variety’s “10 Directors to Watch” roundup for that year.

Simien adapted DEAR WHITE PEOPLE into a series for streaming giant Netflix, which debut in 2017, with many of the original cast returning to continue the story. The show, which recently debuted its second season, remains at a coveted and rare 100% on Rotten Tomatoes for both the first & second seasons.

Simien’s next project will be writing and directing his second feature length film entitled BAD HAIR. Paralleling the rise of New Jack Swing in 1989, BAD HAIR is a horror satire that follows an ambitious young woman who gets a weave in order to survive the image obsessed world of music television. Her professional success comes at a higher cost than anticipated, however, when she discovers her new hair may have a mind of its own…

About Sony Pictures Classics

Michael Barker and Tom Bernard serve as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics—an autonomous division of Sony Pictures Entertainment they founded with Marcie Bloom in January 1992—which distributes, produces, and acquires independent films from around the world.  Barker and Bernard have released prestigious films that have won 39 Academy Awards® (35 of those at Sony Pictures Classics) and have garnered 169 Academy Award® nominations (147 at Sony Pictures Classics) including Best Picture nominations for CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, WHIPLASH, AMOUR, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, AN EDUCATION, CAPOTE, HOWARDS END, AND CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.

About Outfest

Celebrating its 36th anniversary Outfest was founded by UCLA students in 1982. Outfest is the world’s leading organization that promotes equality by creating, sharing and protecting LGBT stories on the screen. Outfest builds community by connecting diverse populations to discover, discuss and celebrate stories of LGBT lives. Over the past three decades, Outfest has showcased thousands of films from around the world, educated and mentored hundreds of emerging filmmakers, and protected over 40,000 LGBT films and videos. The Outfest UCLA Legacy Project is the only program in the world exclusively dedicated to protecting LGBT films for future generations.

About UCLA Film & Television Archive

UCLA Film & Television Archive is renowned globally for its pioneering efforts to rescue, preserve and showcase moving image media—and is dedicated to ensuring that the collective visual memory of our time is explored and enjoyed for generations to come.  cinema.ucla.edu

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