The 2011 edition of Outfest really could not have picked a better film for tonight’s opening gala slot.
Fresh from Sundance and San Francisco’s Frameline event, the drama Gun Hill Road marks the directorial debut of actor Rashaad Ernesto Green. Esai Morales stars as a dad who, after three years in prison, returns home to find that his teenage son has become a transgender woman, played by real-life transgender female Harmony Santana (pictured). The New York based Green tells LA Times reporter Susan King that he is thrilled to be presenting at Outfest, ahead of the film’s scheduled August 5 theatrical release:
“I think it is one of the first times at least in American cinema we are actually getting to see a transgender main character played by a transgender person,” said Green. “She was just at the beginning of her transition. She just started to take hormones. Since the character has to play both male and female in the film, I needed someone who was not physically developed just yet.”
Not to take anything away from Outfest, but it’s certainly emblematic of our city that LA’s oldest film festival is but 29-years-old! This year’s event, overseen by Kristin Schaffer, runs through July 17.