Courtesy of the San Diego Asian Film Fesitval
In San Diego, fall is a fabulous time to be a film fanatic. For the next three months, the city will welcome many of year’s buzziest directors, actors, features, and short films at local venues. From documentaries celebrating LGBTQ identities to movies by AAPI directors, diverse and historically marginalized communities are sharing their stories on the big screen. Here’s what to watch this autumn.Editor’s Note: Some film lineups have not yet been announced. We’ll update this page as more information about upcoming screenings is released.
Filmout LGBTQ Film Fest
Running Sept. 7–10, the 23rd annual Filmout LGBTQ Film Fest kicks off festival season in San Diego. The only LGBTQ film festival in the county, Filmout is better than ever this year with four days of award-winning movies previously seen at SXSW, Sundance, and the Berlin Film Festival. If you’re down for a marathon, grab a festival all-access pass, or catch individual shows for only $12 to 15 each. Films will be screened in Balboa Park at the San Diego Natural History Museum and the Museum of Photographic Arts.
3 Must-See Films at Filmout LGBTQ Film Fest
Glitter & Doom
Glitter & Doom is the festival’s bright and bold opening feature. Set to a catchy soundtrack of Indigo Girls songs, the story follows the budding summer romance between Doom, an aspiring musician, and Glitter, a spontaneous circus kid.Thursday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park
Courtesy of IMDB
Intersectional Lens: The Black, Queer, and Trans Experience
Created by the San Diego Black LGBTQ+ Coalition, Intersectional Lens documents the realities of queer Black individuals in San Diego. Watch to meet several local citizens and experience their journeys of coming out and navigating school, work, social life, and relationships.Sunday, Sept. 10 at 11 a.m. at the Museum of Photographic Arts
For a film that is sure to pull at your heart strings, check out Big Boys, a coming-of-age comedy about a young teen who develops feelings for his cousin’s boyfriend on a camping trip. The movie explores the difficulties and nuances of life as a gay, plus-size boy.Sunday, Sept. 10 at 5 p.m, at the Museum of Photographic Arts
San Diego Italian Film Festival
Grab your passport, because the San Diego Italian Film Festival is back for its 17th annual “festivale.” This year’s theme, “Forward,” is reflected in the films’ inspiring stories about Italian history, culture, and contemporary issues. Get a headstart on the event by attending the pre-festivale launch screenings on Sept. 21 and 28. Opening night, taking place Oct. 3, brings a roundup of short films all vying for the Ristretto Award, which will be awarded at the closing night “festa” (Oct. 14).
The eight feature films being screened were specially selected by Antonio Iannotta, the SDIFF artistic director. “All but one of the films are contemporary, because our mission is to open a window to what is going on today in Italy,” Iannotta explains. “It’s also to create bridges to understand what’s going on here in San Diego. There are so many similarities between what’s happening at the US-Mexico border and in Italy.”
3 Must-See Films at the San Diego Italian Film Festival
As an ode to the classics, the pre-festivale will begin with a screening of the iconic road comedy Il Sorpasso. Two polar-opposite men—Bruno, a boisterous adventure-seeker, and Roberto, a law student with his tie on a little too tight—ride through the post-war country, giving viewers a glimpse of Italy in the early ’60s.Thursday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. at the Digital Gym Cinema
Siccità is a dark comedy set in a post-apocalyptic Rome, where a terrible drought has dried up the Tiber River entirely. The film explores how climate change affects not only the environment, but social relationships and the economy at large.Thursday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. at the Museum of Photographic Arts
Primadonna (The Girl from Tomorrow)
Based on an inspiring true story, Primadonna follow Lia, a young woman who was raped in the 1960s, and, contrary to Italian culture at the time, refused to marry her abuser as an act of rebellion. “It’s a very wonderful and brave story about women empowerment,” Iannotta notes.Airs on Friday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m. at the Museum of Photographic Arts
Courtesy of the San Diego International Film Festival
San Diego International Film Festival
After saying arrivederci to Italy, set sail to explore the rest of the globe at the 22nd annual San Diego International Film Festival, running Oct.18–22. This year’s event features independent films that touch on real-world, social-impact issues, from homelessness to environmental concerns. In addition to screenings, attendees can enjoy cocktail parties, local eats, panels, and more. Films will be screened at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park and AMC UTC 14 at Westfield UTC, and ticket options range from all-inclusive packages to individual event passes starting at $16.Keep an eye out for the announcement of films featured at the San Diego International Film Festival!
3 Must-See Films at the San Diego International Film Festival
Simone: Woman of the Century
This biopic from La Vie en Rose director Olivier Dahan follows the life of Simone Veil, a French Holocaust survivor who went on to become the first woman president of the European parliament.
Thursday, Oct. 19 at AMC 14 UTC
In this documentary from Blackfish filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite directs The Grab, an investigative reporter’s studies the attempts of the wealthy and powerful to claim and control Earth’s water, farmland, and other vital resources.
Friday, Oct. 20 & Saturday, Oct. 21 at AMC 14 UTC
Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill) and Jamie Chung (The Real World: San Diego) appear in Junction, which weaves together the stories of a pharmaceutical CEO, a doctor, and a person struggling with drug addiction in a bold exploration of the origins of the opioid epidemic.
Saturday, Oct. 21 at AMC 14 UTC
San Diego Asian Film Festival
For a grand fall-festival finale, check out the 24th annual San Diego Asian Film Festival, presented by the Pacific Arts Movement. This 10-day fest aims to highlight incredible independent films and documentaries created by Asian and Asian-American directors, producers, and actors over the past year.Stay tuned to find out which films will be screened at this year’s San Diego Asian Film Festival.
3 Must-See Films at the San Diego Asian Film Festival
In this wacky comedy, Awkwafina and Sandra Oh co-star as polar-opposite sisters scheming to pay off their mother’s debt with a win on a popular quiz game show.
Thursday, Nov. 2 at the San Diego Natural History Museum
East West Players: A Home Onstage
Nine actors of Asian descent founded the East West Players theater company in 1965 with a focus on freeing Asian-American actors from the confines of stereotype-laden roles. This documentary, premiering at the festival, traces its history.
Sunday, Nov. 5 at Regal Edwards Mira Mesa
The Oath of the Sword
1914 Japanese-American silent film The Oath of the Sword, rediscovered by historian Denise Khor 102 years after its release, is considered the oldest movie from an Asian-American production company. The festival’s showing is accompanied by live music and followed by a discussion with Khor.
Saturday, Nov. 11 at Regal Edwards Mira Mesa