MJ Rodriguez to Receive the Individual Trailblazer Award at the Outfest Legacy Awards Gala

By: Oct. 18, 2019
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MJ Rodriguez to Receive the Individual Trailblazer Award at the Outfest Legacy Awards Gala

Outfest, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization promoting equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBTQ stories on the screen, announced today that it will honor MJ Rodriguez at the 2019 Outfest Legacy Awards Gala: A Benefit to Protect Our Past and Build Our Future, on Sunday, October 27th. The presenting sponsor is Cadillac.

In honoring MJ Rodriguez with the Individual Trailblazer Award, Outfest will pay tribute to an artist whose recent star-making success comes after years of hard work and acclaimed performances on stage. Rodiguez's Blanca, the heart and soul of the award-winning "Pose," is a soulful character whose maternal instincts and backbone of steel makes her ready for anything that life throws at her, including an HIV diagnosis. Rodriguez is also currently headlining in Pasadena Playhouse's Little Shop of Horrors. She continues to pave trails for trans performers and to create bridges between communities.

"'Pose' came into living rooms across America as a radical idea, but what quickly became apparent in MJ Rodriguez's Blanca is we all know her. We have that friend on the block who sticks up for the underdog, that mom we know fighting for a better world for herself and her family, and that piece inside of ourselves which faces the adversity of each day with bravery to try to make it. That is what empathy does - we can see ourselves and understand our commonality with others. That is what makes performances and shows like the ones we are honoring at Legacy Awards Gala so vital to our humanity, particularly given the debates that are happening nationally with regards to our rights," stated Outfest's Executive Director, Damien S. Navarro.

Previously announced honorees at Outfest Legacy Awards Gala include Scout Productions' team including David Collins (creator of "Queer Eye"), Rob Eric (executive producer of "Queer Eye"), and Michael Willams (executive producer of "Queer Eye") along with Tanya Saracho (creator, producer, showrunner "Vida"). The event will be hosted by Sheryl Lee Ralph and include performances by Ada Vox and Dana Goldberg. Tony Award winning producer, Scott Mauro of Scott Mauro Entertainment, Inc. is serving as Production Consultant for the Legacy Awards.

"The Outfest Legacy awards are committed to protecting, highlighting and promoting artists within LGBTQ+ film and theater communities. Cadillac is privileged to play a contributing role in supporting this platform to showcase our commitment for exceptional LGBTQ+ storytelling," said Melissa Grady, Cadillac CMO.

The Legacy Awards serves as a fundraiser to support the Outfest filmmaker and professional education courses, screenwriting labs, leadership training, trans-acting workshops, and film restoration programs. Outfest Forward programs mentor, teach, and support writers, actors, directors, and creators. Programs include OutSet: The Young Filmmakers Project from the LGBT Center and Outfest which empowers youth 15-24 to tell their stories through film; Outfest Screenwriting Lab which has workshopped over 100 screenplays and television pilots over the last 20 years; and Fusion Labs which provide low cost filmmaking classes to diverse communities throughout Los Angeles to further inspire the creator in everyone. Outfest Anthony Meindl Actors Fellowship is an annual scholarship program for trans and non-binary actors. Finally, Outfest and UCLA Film & Television Archive partnered in 2005 to create the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, the only program in the world exclusively dedicated to saving and preserving LGBT moving images. For the last 14 years, the Legacy Project is proud to have collected more than 40,000 moving image items and to have restored 26 historically important film and video projects.

Previous Legacy Award winners include Justin Simien (Dear White People), FX Network's "Pose", Rita Moreno (West Side Story), Laverne Cox ("Orange is the New Black"), Jill Soloway ("Transparent"), Sean Hayes ("Will and Grace"), Tom Hanks (Philadelphia), Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are Alright), Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City), Hilary Swank (Boys Don't Cry), Lee Daniels ("Empire"), Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Chicago), Adam Shankman (Hairspray), Roland Emmerich (Stonewall), Alan Poul ("The Newsroom"), Bruce Cohen (Silver Linings Playbook), and Paris Barclay ("Sons of Anarchy").

Other sponsors for the night include: Cohen Siderow Wine Imports, Effen Vodka, KCRW, Rava Wines, and Variety.

Tickets are on sale now at www.outfest.org. Tables and tribute ads are on sale now. For information about tables, contact 213-480-7066 or thelegacyawards@outfest.org. For sponsorship and tribute journal ads, please contact Julie Allen at julie@outfest.org


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