Outfest prizes announced: Top awards go to dance doc 'When the Beat Drops' and trans-themed 'Man Made'
Call Her Ganda and Transmilitary earn special mentions from Outfest jury
The exuberant documentary When the Beat Drops, about the underground dance movement known as bucking and the gay African-American men who have popularized it, earned the Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize at Outfest, the LA-based LGBT film festival.
Noted choreographer Jamal Sims, who has worked with Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Miley Cyrus among others, directed the film that originally premiered at the Miami Film Festival. In a statement Monday Outfest jurors praised the documentary for "its heart, energy, and triumphant spirit as it explores a vibrant community of under-appreciated performers."
When the Beat Drops screened Thursday night at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in the Hollywood Hills, and was followed by a boisterous bucking performance by some of the key dancers featured in the film. Watch that here:
Outfest's Audience Award for Feature Documentary went to Man Made, directed by T Cooper. The film tells the story of four people taking part in Trans FitCon, a bodybuilding competition uniquely for trans men.
"It's definitely going to be a showdown tonight," one of the entrants says in the trailer, referring to the final pose-off. "We got some tight bodies."
Man Made also won the Fox Inclusion Feature Film Award.
The Outfest jury honored two feature documentaries with special mentions, including PJ Raval's Call Her Ganda, about Jennifer Laude, a trans Filippina woman killed by a U.S. Marine who was in the Philippines to take part in military exercises.
Jurors saluted Call Her Ganda "for its sensitive, in-depth exploration of a little-known situation with far-reaching implications."
The other Special Mention honor went to Transmilitary, directed by Gabriel Silverman and Fiona Shaw. The film follows four trans members of the U.S. armed services -- Senior Airman Logan Ireland, Corporal Laila Villanueva, Captain Jennifer Peace, and First Lieutenant El Cook -- as they attempt to continue serving their country despite growing hostility to trans service members from the Trump administration.
Jurors expressed admiration for "its timely message, creative use of visual storytelling, and wide-ranging scope of stories and characters."
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.