By EW Staff
July 09, 2012 at 09:40 PM EDT
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Now in its 30th year, Outfest is not only Los Angeles’ premier gay-and-lesbian film festival, but the city’s longest-running film festival, period. Taking place in a variety of L.A. venues and theaters, Outfest promotes equality, spotlights new talent and celebrates artistry within the LGBT community.

The fun begins on July 12 opening with the Outfest Achievement Award. This year the award will be presented to national treasure and pencil-mustached raconteur, director John Waters. Waters is famed for bridging the gap between the underground gonzo movie scene and mainstream Hollywood fare without ever compromising his trash aesthetic, eventually working with Johnny Depp, Kathleen Turner and Christina Ricci.

Closing the festival will be comedy drama Struck by Lightning written by and starring Glee’s Chris Colfer (Kurt Hummel) and featuring Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks. Colfer leads as Carson Phillips, a high school senior killed by a bolt of lightning, who, after his death, confesses to blackmailing his fellow students into contributing to his literary magazine. Scene-stealing duties go again to Australian stand-up and Bridesmaids alumni Rebel Wilson as Phillips’ cohort Malerie Baggs.

As progressive and modern as Outfest is, there’s a thoroughly 1990s vibe to the whole event with Thora Birch, Beatrice Dalle, and Anne Heche all in featured movies, while Haley Joel Osmont appears in Sassy Pants as a guy-linered, cockatoo coiffured, perma-vest-wearing boyfriend to Ashley Rickard’s (Awkward) gay dad. Even former N-Sync-er Lance Bass is in on the action contributing to documentary Mississippi: I Am, a piece exploring attitudes toward gay civil rights in the South. Zosia Mamet (Girls) and Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) costar in the dark comedy Sunset Stories.

Although there are 147 movies from 24 different countries, perhaps the most exciting event will be the Hairspray sing-along screening (remember John Travolta in a fat suit?). So hit the salon beforehand and get that beehive in order.

Written by Will Morley


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