Don Thompson LGBT Film Festival

The Don Thompson LGBT Film Festival began as an outdoor movie-night fundraiser coordinated by USC Lambda co-founder and former president Amy Ross PhD ’86 and LA Frontrunners. Today, the festival showcases the work of up-and-coming LGBT and allied Trojan filmmakers and is one of USC Lambda’s signature events, with proceeds benefiting the Don Thompson Scholarship in Cinematic Arts. The scholarship, which celebrates Thompson’s passion for LGBT film, as well as his “family” at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, is available to graduate or undergraduate students enrolled at the school who demonstrate a commitment to advancing LGBT issues through creative work, scholarship and/or community engagement.


Check back soon for more information about the 11th Annual Don Thompson LGBT Film Festival!

2017 Don Thompson LGBT Film Festival


  • Artistic Merit
  • Audience Choice
  • LGBT Awareness

Honorary Jury

  • Hernando Bansuelo MFA ’13
  • Mikki del Monico
  • HIKARI MFA ’11
  • Liza Pano ’90
  • Steven Soucy MPW ’00
  • Josh Watson MS ’06, EdD ’09


  • JP Karliak ’03


  • Bryan Lourd ’82
  • LA Frontrunners
  • Elsie ’82 and Rod Nakamoto ’83, MBA ’94
  • Christine Marie Ofiesh ‘74
  • Amy Ross PhD ’86 and Connie Hammen
  • USC Fertility
  • USC Trojan Entertainment Network

2017 Films

There’s a Man Dying on My Carpet
Michael Boyle ’17 – Writer/Director

Synopsis: It would seem there is a man dying on the carpet. Marcus should probably do something about that.

About the Filmmaker: Michael Boyle is filmmaker who grew up in Yardley, Pennsylvania. He made this short film during his junior year at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Cherry Soda
Cristian Pagan – Producer/Writer

Synopsis: Two lesbians create the female version of Grindr in the hopes for love…or just lust.

About the Filmmaker: Cristian Pagan is a theater major at the USC School of Dramatic Arts who’s getting a minor in screenwriting.

Nate Gualtieri ’17 – Writer/Director/Producer

Synopsis: A woman in a fertility clinic is reluctant to give up her seat for a pregnant man.

About the Filmmaker: Nate Gualtieri is a screenwriter whose work focuses on family drama and his experiences as a transgender man. His television pilot, Badwater, was selected for the second round of the Austin Film Festival’s AMC Pilot Competition. Seahorse is his directorial debut.

John Palmer – Director/Writer/Cinematographer/Editor

Synopsis: A lonely man’s dreams come true, with a little help from the internet.

About the Filmmaker: John Palmer is currently pursuing his MFA in film and television production at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He was recently invited to the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Artist Academy for emerging filmmakers at the New York Film Festival. He is also a USC Lambda LGBT Alumni Association Scholar and longtime volunteer for LGBTQ youth in crisis.

Mei Liying MFA ’17 – Director

Synopsis: An adolescent girl in China discovers her mother’s secret, which disrupts their family life.

About the Filmmaker: Mei Liying is an award-winning filmmaker, born and raised in China, who is currently co-writing Luna, a project that’s being developed at Warner Bros. Emerging Film Directors Workshop.

Eggs, Zombies and Bacon
Sherry Shi ’16 – Director

Synopsis: After an unexpected one-night stand, Rachel is now awkwardly trapped in the house with last night’s lover because…well, zombies.

About the Filmmaker: Sherry Shi is a director, producer and actor who was born in China and educated in Singapore. She is devoted to telling stories about human nature and the human heart with all the love and fear that drives a story forward.

Lauren Mok ’17 – Producer

Synopsis: A dishonorably discharged World War II nurse, stricken by grief and crippling dementia, seeks to dance with her beloved one last time.

About the Filmmaker: Lauren Mok has produced, shot, edited and directed several short films. In 2015, she participated in Outfest’s OutSet program, and has since worked at such film festivals as Outfits Los Angeles, Sundance and Cannes. She is driven to create queer media for social justice.