Outfest, “the world’s leading organization that promotes equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBTQ stories on the screen”, will be kicking off Pride Month with its inaugural OutFronts.
This brand-new, fan-forward event is meant to mimic the annual UpFronts, where television networks put on presentations showcasing their new and returning shows for the upcoming season. The OutFronts, with presenting sponsors Hyundai, IMDb, and IMDbPro, “will bring together the very best in queer episodic television to connect fans with all things LGBTQIA on television and streaming”.
The OutFronts is a five-day event beginning Friday, June 4, and ending Tuesday, June 8, with content streaming online via Outfest Now as well as the app of the same name. It will feature free-to-view panel discussions as well as exclusive members-only premieres featuring stars from some of the hottest LGBTQIA+ shows today.
The star-studded 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; HBO Max 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.
“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 aims to highlight the diverse representation, both in queer experiences and genre of narratives, of LGBTQIA+ characters on screen. Queer and trans representation continues to increase on television, and this festival provides fans of the shows and the overall community the chance to hear from the cast and creators who are bringing these remarkable stories to the screen.
Panels will include intergenerational discussions, historical lookbacks, exclusive previews of upcoming seasons, and just generally entertaining conversations among the cast and crew of the featured 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.
RSVP and view the full schedule at OutFronts.com. You can also become a member and unlock some of the exclusive festival programming!
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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