Outfest Fusion To Honor Blackhouse Foundation Founder Brickson Diamond With Fusion Achievement Award
Outfest Fusion 2020: Culture. Film. Music. Story. presented by Comcast NBCUniversal is announcing today Blackhouse Foundation Founding Board Member and Chair Brickson Diamond will be the recipient of the 2020 Fusion Achievement Award for his decades of outstanding contributions to the LGBTQ Arts and Media Visibility. Diamond has dedicated his career to philanthropy and advancing opportunities for people of color through diversity, inclusion and core culture advisement across industries including entertainment, technology, investment management and non-profits.
Outfest Fusion will also present the Inaugural Outfest Fusion Spotlight Award to Writer/Director Nancy Mejia. Mejia is first-generation Salvadoran-American and first member of her family to earn a college degree (UCLA). Mejia is an AFI Directing Workshop for Women Fellow and member of NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers). The Awards will be presented to Diamond and Mejia on Friday, March 6 at the Japanese American Community Cultural Center in Downtown Los Angeles.
On Saturday, March 7, Outfest Fusion Sponsor AARP will headline the MAKING A LASTING MARK IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY special event opening festival remarks, film screening and panel starting at 11:30am at Regal L.A. Live. The event will begin with a special screening of ACUITZERAMO (Miguel Angel Caballero) followed by the Outfest Original OutSet short PROTECTED (Sal Rubio). Moderated by Brickson Diamond (Blackhouse), the panel will feature D.J. "Shangela" Pierce (HBO's We're Here, A Star Iis Born), Ser Anzoatequi (Starz' Vida, East Los High), Moises Zamora (American Crime, Netflix's Selena: The Series), Miguel Angel Caballero (Acuitzeramo), Carol Ann Shine (Noah's Arc), and Allison Liddi-Brown (Marvel's Runaways, L Word Generation Q).
This high impact session will highlight how queer talent gain foothold in the entertainment industry and maintain career growth amongst industry gatekeepers and the responsibility content creators have to uplift invisible and older voices in the queer community and bring them forward in the industry. Participants will also learn how to succeed beyond your first project and what you need to do once your foot is in the door in order to grow your success into a lasting career.
"AARP is thrilled to join forces with Outfest to socialize research insights about LGBTQ older adults and empower LGBTQ content creators of color to tell stories inclusive of all of us under the rainbow," said Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartey, AARP Senior Advisor & National LGBT Liaison.
As part of Hyundai's continued support of the LGBTQIA+ community, the automobile company is partnering with Outfest Fusion's "One Minute Movie Contest" to award one talented filmmaker with the 2020 Hyundai Emerging Director Award. The winning director will ultimately create the second installment of Hyundai's 'OUT for Greatness' content series that celebrates the authentic and inclusive stories and storytellers within the LGBTQIA+ community. Outfest Fusion's "One Minute Movie Contest" challenges aspiring and established filmmakers to shoot a one-minute short film with various prizes for the best films showcasing this year's thematic of Building Empathy and/or Breaking Apathy. Hyundai's Emerging Director Award will be an additional prize to the contest and is based not only on the creative of their 'One Minute Movie' submission, but also on their answer to a short essay question and additional submission materials including a resume, online portfolio and/or an additional short work sample under 5 minutes in length.
Outfest Fusion will also feature Fusion's Rising Stars, honoring six up-and-coming QTPOC actors on the cusp of major breakthroughs in their Hollywood careers. The Rising Stars honorees will join The Advocate's Co-Editor in Chief David Artavia for a panel discussion on Sunday, March 8th; participating panelists will discuss their experience as queer-identifying artists in the film and entertainment industry and give advice for young queer hopefuls looking to follow in their footsteps. Panelists include: Zuri Adele (Good Trouble), Adam Faison (Everything's Gonna Be Okay), Alexandra Grey (Empire) Poppy Liu (Sunnyside), Leo Sheng (Adam, The L Word: Generation Q), and Tonatiuh (Vida).
Now in its 17th year, Outfest Fusion will celebrate 5 days of screenings, performances, panels, galas, workshops, and world premieres across 6 unique LA venues. This year's festival takes place March 6 - 10, 2020.
Damien Navarro, Executive Director of Outfest said: "To be able to honor such a mentor and Founding member of Fusion as Brickson Diamond along with spotlighting two of the entertainment industries most notable rising stars, first Nancy Mejia and then D.J. "Shangela" Pierce, will allow everyone to discover that Outfest Fusion is evolving with the needs of the community it serves - perhaps at once a bit more passive as a festival of exhibition of stories - but very much accelerating towards becoming an active and engaging event that helps drive the future careers of upcoming artists and their work across a broad cross-section of the industry".
Brickson Diamond commented: "I am deeply honored to receive the 2020 Fusion Achievement Award and genuinely staggered by the realization that Fusion is in its 17th year of vital existence and uplift in our community. As one of the original funders of Fusion, I grow more proud and inspired each year by the work that Outfest does through Fusion to recognize and affirm the varied textures, hues and stories of LGBTQ+ people of color. Fusion always feels like a homecoming, and especially so in 2020."
Brickson Diamond is the Founder of The Blackhouse Foundation, a non-profit organization launched in 2006 that creates new opportunities for the Black community in the film world. This foundation attends film festivals across the world every year to encourage the creation of independent films based on people of African background and their results have shattered records.
Nancy C. Mejía added: "It is incredibly humbling and motivating to be the recipient of the inaugural 2020 Fusion Spotlight Award. As a storyteller, I'm always mindful that the stories we tell and project have the power to influence and affirm culture. I strive to have a spectrum of work that challenges the status quo and proves that a queer, brown, daughter of working-class immigrants can create work that resonates beyond identity and prescribed expectations. I am honored to be a part of the Outfest Fusion community."
Outfest Fusion is now one of the fastest growing entertainment & diversity events of its kind with an anticipated attendance of over 8,000. In 2004, what began as Outfest Fusion People of Color LGBT Film Festival has organically grown into a multicultural exhibition of voices, faces, and stories of the emerging majority that has transcended the festival's initial purpose.
Outfest Fusion brings together one of the largest, inclusive and diverse cross-sections of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. From international and experimental films to breakthrough performances by some of today's most exciting underground artists, musicians, and creators, Fusion is where the next generation of storytellers and cultural ambassadors are discovered.