Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato's paean to 1980s excess Party Monster will open Outfest 2003, the Los Angeles-based lesbian and gay film festival that celebrates its 21st anniversary this year.

The event, which runs from Jul 10-21 and is lining up 188 films from 26 countries, will close with Emile Gaudreault's coming out farce Mambo Italiano.

This year's Awards Night film on Jul 20 is Alex Steyermark's Prey For Rock And Roll, which stars Gina Gershon as the leader of a band on the verge of making it or breaking up.

Party Monster, which stars Macauley Culkin as the murderous New York clubber Michael Alig and Seth Green as his friend and biographer James St James, was nominated for this year's grand jury prize at Sundance.

The opening night gala at the 2,000-seater Orpheum Theatre will also honour writer-director Jane Anderson, who receives the seventh annual Outfest Achievement Award.

Anderson's writing credits include How To Make An American Quilt and It Could Happen To You. She recently directed Jessica Lange and Tom Wilkinson in the sex change drama Normal for HBO.

Adapted from the stage play of the same name, Mambo Italiano concerns an Italian family's efforts to preserve its heritage in the American melting pot. Luke Kirby, Paul Sorvino and Claudia Ferri star.

The winners of Outfest's ninth annual film competition's grand jury awards, audience awards and special programming awards will be honoured on Jul 20 before the screening of Prey For Rock And Roll.