Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Outfest makes history with opening and closing films directed by trans artists

The 41st annual Outfest, Los Angeles’ premier LGBTQ+ film festival, is making history with its 2023 lineup.

The festival (July 13-23) will open and close for the first time with films created by trans artists: “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” (directed by Aitch Alberto) will open the festivities on July 13, with the 11-day event closing with “Chasing Chasing Amy” (directed by Sav Rodgers). The Opening Night Gala will be screened at the Orpheum Theater, with the Closing Night Gala screening at the Montalbán Theater. Other films in the lineup will be announced soon.

These events also represent a homecoming for both Alberto and Rodgers, both alumni of Outfest’s artistic development programs.

“Aristotle and Dante,” based on Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s beloved young adult novel, centers on the friendship between two Mexican-American teenagers in 1987 El Paso. Max Pelayo and Reese Gonzales star alongside Eugenio Derbez, Eva Longoria , Veronica Falcon and Kevin Alejandro. The film was acclaimed at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival and will be released later by Blue Fox Entertainment in the United States. Alberto named one of IndieWire’s 22 Female Directors to Watch in 2022 and Variety 10 directors to keep an eye on that same year.

Meanwhile, the documentary “Chasing Chasing Amy” examines the complicated legacy of Kevin Smith’s 1997 cult indie to the LGBTQ+ community. The film follows director Rodgers as he investigates the history of film and how he profoundly changed his queer journey as a trans man. Smith, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee and Geneva Turner participate in the documentary. Outfest Executive Director Christopher Racster, Andrew Ahn, Princess Weekes, Trish Bendix and Bob Hawk are also among the talking heads. The film will have its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this month.

Tickets and season tickets for Outfest Los Angeles will be available starting June 20. Visit for more information.