The 16th OUT IN AFRICA South African Gay & Lesbian Film Festival takes place in Johannesburg from 3 - 13 September and in Cape Town from 10 - 20 September 2009 and features 17 international feature films and 9 South African productions, five of which are world premieres.

The festival has a wide range of films to appeal to all with subjects that run the gamut of human experience. Themes range and include, among others: high school hilarities, forbidden love, coming out, the desire for children and ageing gigolos. Moviegoers can look forward to comedies, tragedies, dramas and thought provoking documentaries.  Every genre of filmmaking is covered including homage to celebrated gay icons. Award winning international directors and actors will attend as guests of the festival.

The festival opens with Spinnin' (6 Billion Different People) a film made by Spanish director Eusebio Pastrana in 2007. This is the Spaniards at their wacky best - an exuberant award winning film set in Madrid in 1995 and follows lovers Garate and Omar as they seek to have a child.

Included in the line up is Fig Trees. Directed by John Greyson, this Canadian production is a contemporary opera based on the lives of South Africa's own HIV/Aids activist, Zackie Achmat and Canadian Tim McCaskell.  The film uses clever historical references to Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thompson and is richly layered, intelligent and unique. Greyson, who is considered the Prince of Gay Filmmaking, is a guest of the festival and will be in attendance. He travels courtesy of the Canadian High Commission.

Angel, directed by Giorgios Katakouzinos, is an award winning film that when it debuted at Cannes in 1982, took the world by storm.  Based on a true story, this Greek classic is considered the one Greek film that all Greeks have seen.
Anyone who has seen Cabaret will be fascinated by Chris and Don. Directed by Guido Santi and Tina Mascara, this amazing documentary is about Christopher Isherwood whose short stories "Goodbye to Berlin" were the basis for the musical Cabaret.  This sharp, witty and revealing film is told mainly by his lover, Don, and is supported by amazing archival footage of Hollywood starting in the late '40s.

Courtesy of the British Council, the festival welcomes in attendance director Simon Pearce and producer Christian Martin, whose film Shankfollows the story of working class Cal who hides the fact that he is gay to his fellow gang members.  Trouble erupts when he rescues a French boy his gang beats up.  This explicit, shocking, largely hand-held film has already picked up an international award and breathes new life into British alternative cinema.

Probably the most controversial film of the festival is the recently-unbanned by the South African Film & Publications Board, XXY. This multi-award winning film is a complex tale of gender, identity and sexual orientation.  Beautifully shot with stellar performances, the festival is proud to welcome the director, Lucia Puenzo and lead actor InĂ©s Efron

Director Faith Trimel, from the USA, will also be in South Africa to present her film, Family, which is about a group of 30-something African-American lesbians who make a pact to finally come out to their families and colleagues with surprising and hilarious results. Trimel travels courtesy of the US Embassy, and will be accompanied in Cape Town by actor Blanca Avalos.

The South African films in the festival include a re-release of Zackie Achmat's 1999 Apostles of Civilised Vice, an important film which unpacks the tangled, tragic and often ironic queer history of South Africa.  Cunningly presented, endlessly revealing this film reclaims and rewrites the place of gays and lesbians in history and presents a new one that is celebrated, as opposed to criminalised and marginalised.

Directed by Jacque Oldfield and Adelheid Reinecke, the 16th OUT IN AFRICA film festival will also be the world premiere for South Africa's first full length lesbian feature film: Dykeumentary.

Opening the festival in both Johannesburg and Cape Town will be world acclaimed and beloved South African icon, Pieter Dirk Uys as himself.

Sponsors of the Festival include: Atlantic Philanthropies,  National Lottery Board, Avis, Nu Metro, British Council, French Embassy, Canadian High Commission, US Embassy, Argentine Embassy, La Scala Montecasino and The Glen Cape Town.

For more information go to:  www.outinafrica.co.za