The Brazilian film The Way He Looks / Hoje eu quero voltar sozinho (pictured left), the directorial feature by Daniel Ribeiro, and the Venezuelan film Bad Hair / Pelo Malo were awarded at the 2014 edition of Outfest, the Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival, as it was announced today. Ribeiro's film was presented with the Award for Dramatic Feature, while Rondón's Bad Hair was presented with the Special Programming Award for Freedom.
Set to the bouncy beats of Belle and Sebastian, the Brazilian euphoric, sun-kissed coming-of-age fable The Way He Looks was a sensation at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival, where it swept the Teddy Award and FIPRESCI prize.
The film follows Leonardo, who spends his days allowing his best friend Giovana to drag him around town. Being blind has always been an inconvenience for Leonardo, but his angsty adolescence gets a lift when the handsome and smooth-talking Gabriel turns down numerous offers from ogling girls to hang with Leonardo after school. The longer they spend together, the more apparent their shared attraction becomes – not just to them but to a spurned Giovana as well. As social pressure mounts on both to fit within their confined social boxes, the two must decide whether to ignore their feelings or to throw caution to the wind and admit that they might actually be falling in love. The film will be released in the U.S. by the hand of Strand Releasing.
Trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, with employment prospects looking grim, in Bad Hair (pictured right) a panicked single mother lashes out at her effeminate 9-year-old son for potentially being gay. The film tackles racial and sexual prejudices within an impoverished section of Venezuela without making villains of its characters. Filmmaker Mariana Rondón's film floored audiences and critics at the Toronto International Film Festival, earning praise for its striking camera work and harrowing portrayal of desperation and abuse. The film will be in U.S. theaters this fall by the hand of FiGa Films and Cinema Tropical.
The 2014 edition of Outfest took place July 10-20 in Los Angeles, California.