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The OUTSOUTH Queer Film Festival is Ready to Celebrate in Person

The North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (NCGLFF) has a new name and a new slate of films that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

Posted By Discover Durham Staff

Formerly the North Carolina Gay + Lesbian Film Festival, the OUTSOUTH Queer Film Festival is at the Carolina Theatre for the first time in person. This transformation is a tribute to a quarter-century of embracing and celebrating the LGBTQIA community.

The festival features short, documentary, and feature films that celebrate gay, lesbian, and transgender life, including both independent and mainstream productions. In addition, the festival includes other events that offer a party-like atmosphere partnering with The Pinhook, Remedy Room, Rubies on Five Points, and Queeny’s to offer drink and food specials, drag shows, music, and more.

This incredible festival dates back to 1995 when it debuted as the QFest. That was the same year the NC Pride Parade approached the Carolina Theatre with the idea of hosting a gay and lesbian film festival in conjunction with Pride’s annual parade and festival.

“At the time, there might have been a gay and lesbian film festival in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other major cities, but the idea of a smaller city like Durham holding one was nonexistent,” said Jim Carl, senior director of film at the Carolina Theatre.

The festival attracted a few hundred people in its first year, but now, the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival attracts over 15,000 people. “The lobbies are packed. The screenings are packed,” said Carl.


Special Events

OUTSOUTH gives visitors a chance to see a variety of films that you most likely won't have the chance to see in a theater anywhere else. Screenings range from programs of short films and international films to screwball comedies, dramas, and more.

Here's a list of this year's big films:

  • Gemmel and Tim: A true crime documentary on two Black gay men who both die from meth overdoses at the home of West Hollywood politico, Ed Buck.
  • Girl Picture: A coming-of-age tale that won an audience award at the Sundance Film Festival.
  • Two Eyes: An exploration of queerness, gender, and love throughout three distinct time periods.
  • All Kinds of Love: A rom-com about how sex and romance cross all kinds of identities and phases of life.
  • Death and Bowling: A comedy starring a multitude of trans individuals which explores death, desire, and grief as a milieu of trans experience.
  • Brutal: Cheyanne Jackson plays a once hot star of cable news who stumbles upon a newsworthy sex scandal and ends up facing off against all sides.
  • Also, local films include Blind Angels: Durham, NC, which features local activists and local drag queen, Stormie Daie; and Alchemy, which features a story on growing up trans in North Carolina. Both are part of two separate shorts programs.

Where to Stay

When you come to OUTSOUTH, don't forget that the Carolina Theatre is situated in the heart of downtown Durham, a walkable district with plenty of new things to see and do. There are five hotels within walking distance of the Carolina Theatre:

  • 21c Museum Hotel Explore the hotel’s art collection and snag a selfie with the 21c mascot – a hot magenta penguin (.1 miles from the Carolina Theatre).

  • The Durham Hotel A mid-century boutique hotel with a celebrated restaurant and rooftop bar (.2 miles from the Carolina Theatre).

  • Aloft Durham Downtown Located near the American Tobacco Campus, Aloft offers a modern aesthetic, heated pool, and proximity to plenty of dining and entertainment options (.4 miles from the Carolina Theatre).

  • Unscripted Durham An eclectic hotel with a rooftop deck, pool, and unique cocktail and cuisine options. (.1 miles from the Carolina Theatre).

What to Eat

You’ll also find various restaurants and bars in downtown Durham, ranging from grab-and-go options to snag between films to celebrated hot spots where you can unwind after a film-filled day. (Check out our comprehensive list of downtown restaurants.)

  • Mothers & Sons Trattoria Specializing in handmade pasta, antipasti, and traditional Italian dishes. Dinner only (.2 miles from the Carolina Theatre).

  • Beyù Caffè This restaurant and café is the perfect place to grab brunch, lunch, or a latte to unwind between showings. (.2 miles from the Carolina Theatre).

  • M Sushi An upscale sushi restaurant that offers an authentic Omakase dining experience (.2 miles from the Carolina Theatre).

  • Bulldega A neighborhood grocery that offers the essentials alongside grab-and-go meal options (.2 miles from the Carolina Theatre).

  • Littler A dinner-only restaurant serving inventive dishes in an intimate environment (.3 miles from the Carolina Theatre).

  • NanaSteak A modern steakhouse in a chic space with abundant natural light (.4 miles from the Carolina Theatre).

Between the films, the special events, and a great location in downtown, OUTSOUTH is an excellent opportunity to experience Durham!

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Discover Durham Staff