By Alex Temblador, The Next Family
Outfest 2015, a Los Angeles LGBT film festival, began with a successful screening of the documentary Tig. For 30 years, Outfest has showcased thousands of films on the stories of the LGBT community in hopes of promoting LGBT equality. The festival began July 9 and will feature films for the next 10 days all across Los Angeles. It will wrap up on July 19th with a screening of The New Girlfriend.
The opening night of Outfest began with a screening of Tig, a documentary that followed the life of lesbian comedian, Tig Notaro. The film, produced by Kristina Goolsby and Ashley York, was introduced at the Outfest Gala by Garry Marshall.
In 2012, Tig Notaro opened up her comedy act with, “Good evening. Hello. I have cancer.” From there, her story launched forward with lightning speed. Tig is a documentary that followed Tig Notaro’s struggle with cancer and her “now legendary, ‘cancer comedy’ act.”
However, Tig’s story began earlier than her first cancer comedy act. Her mother passed away, which was followed by a life-threatening intestinal infection that made her lose 20 pounds, and ended with her discovering that she had bilateral breast cancer. A three-part tragedy that somehow did not bring Tig down. Rather, Tig took these tragedies and brought them into her passion of comedy. Tig shared with the world that she had cancer during her stand-up act at Largo, and with utter genius and spunk, she made cancer funny. This historic act went viral thanks to tweets by other comedians she had invited that night, most notably, Louis C.K., Ed Helms, Mary Lynn Rajskub, and Bill Burr.
When talking about that evening, Tig said:
“Up until that point I was so private in my life and I hadn’t even told my friends that were on the show what was going on. And it was odd that I would be sharing it onstage; it was very … atypical. And when I walked offstage they were all stunned and tearful. They were passing me around and hugging me; it was really intense.”
With her battle against cancer, Tig no longer felt like she could hide it from her comedy acts:
“I couldn’t possibly go onstage and act like I was having normal days and observing life from a distance. And after that Largo show, I didn’t feel I could do any of the Largo material or any of my old material, and then I just, I felt very kind of lost after that, I didn’t understand who I was anymore.”
The documentary shows us that regardless of having cancer, Tig found a way to understand who she was once again. In addition to her comedy act, the documentary delves into Tig’s personal life. The film shows Tig traveling between shows, her time spent in hospital rooms, films exchanges with family and friends like Sarah Silverman and Zach Galifianikis, includes clips from talk shows, and even gives a glimpse into her love story.
In the documentary, a friendship turns to relationship between Tig and comic-actress Stephanie Allynne, a straight woman who had never been in a same-sex relationship which the film discusses. The couple got engaged in January and families of the two women are beyond ecstatic to celebrate the nuptials.
The happy news doesn’t end there: Tig battled cancer, won, and is now cancer-free. In addition to this documentary opening at Outfest, it will premiere on Netflix, July 17. Furthermore, a Showtime documentary called Knock, Knock, It’s Tig Notaro, recently came out, and soon a concert special called Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted will debut on HBO August 22.
As you can see, Tig is busier than ever and her powerful story will continue to be known. However, her next big project goes beyond her comedy career. She says, “It’s building a family.”
For those who are interested in attending Outfest Los Angeles this year, check out their website for more information. Tickets are usually $10-$15 per film, however, there are film packages. Other notable films that will be playing include:
- Nasty Baby, a film on surrogacy, starring Kristin Wiig and director Sebastian Silva.
- Eisenstein in Guanajuato,a biopic centering on the gay coming-of-age of Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein.
- Addicted to Fresno, a film about two sisters who are hotel housekeepers and the mess they find themselves in with a hotel guest, starring Judy Greer, Natasha Lyonne, and Aubrey Plaza.
- Jenny’s Wedding, a story about a woman coming out to her family and deciding to marry, starring Katherine Heigl and Alexis Bledel.
- The Summer of Saingale, winner of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.