OUT RUN is a feature-length documentary that follows a trio of dynamic transgender women as they lead the only LGBT political party in the world on a historic quest to win Congressional seats in the Philippines. Campaigning in an intriguing culture where Catholicism dominates yet transgenders are unusually visible, candidate Bemz and her campaign leaders Santy and Bhuta face an enduring challenge. They must convince voters that transgenders are acceptable not just as hairstylists, beauty contestants, and sex workers, but also in the halls of Congress. Culminating on election day, their colorful story illustrates the emerging prominence of transgenders in the work towards global LGBT equality.
OUT RUN is in post-production, and is slated to be completed in early 2015.
Bemz Benedito runs for Congress as the primary nominee for Ladlad, the only LGBT political party in the world. A longtime activist, she is known in the community as Sinta Ng Pilipinong LGBT, or “The Beloved of LGBT Filipinos.”
Santy Layno, a former TV producer and sex worker, coordinates Ladlad’s campaign in the Philippine province of Pangasinan. She is infamous for the impossibly short shorts she wears on the campaign trail.
Bhuta Adelante runs a hair salon and was recently elected as a kagawad (neighborhood councilor) in the massive working-class tenement where she lives in Manila. She leads an LGBT group to support Ladlad and fight against a local homophobic evangelist Congressman.
Raymond Alikpala spent years in the Catholic seminary before coming out and writing a book about his closeted gay life. Now an attorney, he is a political novice running for a seat in Congress.
Danton Remoto is a poet, professor, and colorful TV personality. He led the LGBT community in the founding of Ladlad and is its second nominee for Congress.
S. Leo Chiang (Director/Producer) is a Taiwan-born, San Francisco-based filmmaker. His current documentary, MR. CAO GOES TO WASHINGTON, won the Inspiration Award at the 2012 Full Frame Film Festival. His previous film, the Emmy®-nominated A VILLAGE CALLED VERSAILLES, picked up eight film festival awards, aired on PBS’ Independent Lens, and has been acquired by more than 200 universities. His other films include TO YOU SWEETHEART, ALOHA (PBS 2006) and ONE + ONE (CINE Golden Eagle 2002). Leo received his MFA in film production from University of Southern California. He lectures in the Social Documentation program at University of California, Santa Cruz.
Johnny Symons (Director/Producer) is a Bay Area documentary filmmaker focusing on LGBT cultural and political issues. His feature documentaries include DADDY & PAPA (2002), which premiered at Sundance, broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens, and was nominated for a national Emmy® for Best Documentary. BEYOND CONCEPTION (2006) premiered at the Florida Film Festival and broadcast on Discovery Channel. ASK NOT (2008) won four festival awards, aired on PBS’ Independent Lens and screened on Capitol Hill for members of Congress. He co-produced the Academy Award® nominated LONG NIGHT’S JOURNEY INTO DAY, which won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at Sundance in 2000. Johnny has a master’s in documentary production from Stanford. He is Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Documentary Program in the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University.