Out On Film, Atlanta’s LGBT film festival, has announced its programming for Out On Film 31, the 31st annual LGBT film festival. The event will take place Sept. 27 through Oct. 7 at Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema, Out Front Theatre Company and the Plaza Theatre.

“This is an amazing year for LGBT cinema,” festival director Jim Farmer said in a news release. “We aim to grow every year and this is our biggest festival to date in terms of the number of films we are showing and the most diverse slate we’ve ever presented. We celebrate films from around the world and in our own backyard. We are excited to share our programming.”

128 films, documentaries, short films and web series are on tap, as well as a staged reading of a classic play.

The opening night film is the Atlanta-set “When the Beat Drops,” which follows a crew of gay African-American men as they pioneer the Southern-rooted underground dance scene known as “bucking.” Created in the South, “bucking” was born as a response to being shunned from majorette routines, due largely to homophobia.

Together with his crew of fellow gay African-American men, Anthony Davis — an Atlanta-born kid with a love of dance — helped grow bucking into a national movement, complete with fierce competitions, and in the process has created a haven for a generation of displaced black gay men.

“‘When the Beat Drops’ is a perfect opening night film for us,” Farmer said. “Jamal’s film is exciting, vibrant and inspirational – and it takes place right in the heart of Atlanta.” Director Jamal Sims, producer Jordan Finnegan, star Anthony Davis and many of the film’s cast will be in attendance.

The closing night film will be Ondi Timoner’s “Mapplethorpe,” starring Emmy nominee Matt Smith (“The Crown”) in a superb performance as the legendary gay photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. “Mapplethorpe” charts his rise to fame in the 1970s to his ultimately death in 1989. The film also stars Mark Moses, John Benjamin Hickey and Marianne Rendon as Patti Smith.

Other highlights include Rupert Everett’s “The Happy Prince.” The film, featuring Everett in a career-best performance, charts the last days in the life of Oscar Wilde. The cast also includes Colin Firth, Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson.

A special event at this year’s Out On Film will be a staged reading of the classic play “The Laramie Project,” directed by actor/writer and Out On Film alum Chad Darnell, featuring cast members Amy Acker (“The Gifted”), Randy Havens (“Stranger Things”), Jessica Meisel (“The Resident’), Tara Ochs (“Selma”) and Atlanta theatre icons Steve Coulter and Rosemary Newcott. All proceeds will benefit the Matthew Shepard Foundation, in remembrance of the 20th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s murder.

Since its official inception in 1988, Out On Film has grown to become one of the major LGBT film festivals in the country. The organization became independent in 2008 and in 2017 expanded to 11 days.

Festival passes, three packs and individual tickets are on sale. For more information or to purchase tickets and passes, visit www.outonfilm.org.

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