OUTwatch LGBTQIA+ Film Fest Makes Pride Month Debut, Runs June 9-11

After a three-year pandemic hiatus, OUTwatch Film Festival will re-emerge June 9-11 at Rialto Cinemas® Sebastopol, joining Sonoma County Pride celebrations for the first time. In fact, the festival is a Sonoma County Pride honoree this year! The festival includes five LGBTQIA+ films that showcase a diversity of LGBTQIA+ experiences, including three narrative features and two documentaries. General Admission is $15, Senior tickets are $13, both are available at through Rialto Cinemas®.

The festival kicks off on Friday, June 9 at 7 p.m. with a screening of Michelle Ehlen’s award-winning dramedy Maybe Someday (91 mins), about a middle-aged photographer’s attempt to remake her life following the breakdown of her marriage. The film will be followed by a Q&A with Ehlen, the film’s writer, director and star, who is best known for her lesbian comedy trilogy (Butch Jamie, Heterosexual Jill, S&M Sally). OUTwatch’s other two fiction offerings are coming-of-age stories about young, queer men: Wildhood (Bretten Hannam, 100 mins) a road film about runaway brothers who reconnect with their Mi’kmaw heritage and Big Boys (Corey Sherman, 90 mins), about a teenaged boy’s sexual awakening while camping in the woods. The festival also includes two LGBTQIA+ docs: Commitment To Life (Jeffrey Schwarz, 115 mins) about AIDS in 1980s Los Angeles and Hollywood, and Unsettled: Seeking Refuge In America (Tom Shepard, 84 mins) about LGBTQIA+ folks have sought asylum in the U.S.

OUTwatch is sponsored by Sonoma County Pride and Abacus, with films sponsored by Fastsigns, Queer Asylum Accompaniment, Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival, and Kinna Crock Law. Since 2016, OUTwatch has brought together LGBTQIA businesses, non-profits, social groups and artists, operating under the ethos that inviting an audience to watch a film builds community and inhibits isolation. The festival is a space for queer folks to see positive representations of diverse queer experiences, explore the myriad of challenges faced by LGBTQIA folks and experience community. The full list of OUTwatch 2023 films is listed below.


Maybe Someday (Michelle Ehler, 91 mins)
Friday, June 9, 7 p.m.

Sponsored By Abacus
Filmmaker Attending – Post-Screening Q&A

Maybe Someday follows Jay (Michelle Ehlen), a photographer in her 40s, battling a mixture of denial and depression as she attempts to move across the country in the midst of separating from her wife (Jeneen Robinson). Along the way, she takes a detour to stay with her high school best friend (Shaela Cook) who Jay used to be secretly in love with before she came out as a lesbian, and befriends a charismatic but complicated gay man (Charlie Steers) who has long given up on love. Struggling to move forward with the next chapter of her life, memories of the past resurface as Jay grapples with the inevitable cycles of love, loss, and letting go.

Wildhood (Bretten Hannamr, 100 mins)
Saturday, June 10, 4 p.m.

Sponsored By Fastsigns

Two-spirit Mi’kmaw teenager Link (Phillip Lewitski) is just discovering his sexuality when his volatile home life goes off the rails. The film begins in a rural East Coast trailer park, where Link lives with his toxic father and younger half brother, Travis. After a blow-out with his father, Link discovers that his Mi’kmaw mother may still be alive, and embarks on a quest for a better life with. On the road, they meet Pasmay, a pow wow dancer drawn to Link. As the boys journey across Mi’kma’ki, Link finds community, identity and love in the land where he belongs.

Commitment To Life (Jeffrey Schwarz, 115 mins)
Saturday, June 10, 7 p.m.

Northern California Premiere
Hosted & Sponsored By Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival

Against a rich Hollywood backdrop, Commitment To Life examines the fight against HIV/AIDS in early 1980s Los Angeles. An intrepid group of people living with HIV/AIDS, doctors, movie stars, studio moguls and activists changed the course of the epidemic and saved lives. Using first-person interviews, rare archival and activist footage, and scenes from star-studded Hollywood fundraisers, this documentary resurrects one of the epidemic’s most compelling histories—in order that it is never repeated.

Unsettled: Seeking Refuge In America
(Tom Shepard, 84 mins)
Screening: Sunday, June 11, 4 p.m.

Producer Attending – Post-Screening Q&A
Hosted & Sponsored By Queer Asylum Accompaniment

Winner of the Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Documentary at LA Outfest, Unsettled: Seeking Refuge In America reveals the untold stories of LGBTQIA refugees and asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East who have fled intense persecution in their home countries and are resettling in the United States. As the ring wing in America continues to demonize immigrants and drastically restrict the flow of refugees and asylum seekers into the U.S., this film humanizes a vastly underrepresented group of people, desperately trying to create new and safer homes. 

Big Boys (Corey Sherman, 90 mins)
Screening: Sunday, June 11, 7 p.m.

California Premiere
Hosted & Sponsored By Sonoma County Pride

In this charming coming-of-age comedy, a teenage boy experiences a sexual awakening when he falls for his cousin’s straight, bearish boyfriend while on a camping trip and the two find themselves literally lost in the woods.  Jamie’s initial jealousy of the competent and confident Dan quickly turns into something deeper, as they bond over cooking, games and both being “big boys.”