Billy Porter Says His Directorial Debut 'Celebrates the Trans Experience': 'Revolutionary in Its Simplicity'

Billy Porter spoke exclusively to PEOPLE about his debut film Anything's Possible at the 2022 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ+ Film Festival on Thursday

Billy Porter Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ+ Film Festival Opening Night 'Anything's Possible'
Photo: John Salangsang/Outfest/Shutterstock

The opening night of the 2022 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ+ Film Festival was yet another career highlight for Billy Porter, who premiered his directorial debut and was awarded the Outfest Festival's Annual Achievement Award by his film's stars.

Porter was dressed for the special occasion on Thursday in Los Angeles in a neon pink pantsuit with gold buttons and no shirt. He accessorized with a golden necklace that featured suns of descending size as pendants, golden platform heals and a see-through boxy pink clutch. His hair was also styled in a ponytail braid with silver streaks, and he wore bright blue metallic eyeshadow.

In a red carpet interview with PEOPLE, the Emmy-winning star of Pose, 52, described the night as "humbling" and "very exciting," especially because the film, Anything's Possible, celebrates the trans experience in a coming-of-age story.

When asked what drew him to the story, Porter said, "It's all of the joy and the hope and the love and the authenticity, all of it. It's really necessary. And I'm grateful to be able to be at the helm of something so special and revolutionary in its simplicity."

billy porter
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

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The movie was filmed in Pittsburgh, Pa., Porter's hometown, and he shared the significance of returning there to make his first film as a director.

"It's a love letter to Pittsburgh. Many people don't really realize that Pittsburgh is actually the place to be. It hasn't been a steel town in over 50 years. There's a lot of industry there. There's a lot of s--- there that is transformative and amazing. So this was a love letter to my hometown."

When the film is released on Prime Video, he wants the audience to have one takeaway message: "Love is love. Period," he told PEOPLE.

And of course, he was asked his favorite Beyoncé song, to which he shared is "Love on Top." The reason why? "Because it's a real song and she was singing her a-- off," Porter said.

Later on in the evening, after receiving the Outfest Festival's Annual Achievement Award, Porter gave a powerful speech that highlighted everything from civil rights to politics and empowerment.

"As you can see, I came with an agenda, I do have an agenda," he said. "I do have an agenda, yes, and I'm proud of it! And I own that s---! The agenda is love, the agenda is humanity, the agenda is peace, the agenda is joy! That's the agenda!"

billy porter
Corey Nickols/Getty

"The good book prophesizes that there will be wars and rumors of wars. The systems that abandon humanity are our collective war. Let me say that one more time for the cheap seats. The systems that abandon our humanity are our collective war. We are at war to save the soul of humanity. Thoughts and prayers don't mean s---, they don't. Hate is an action, love is an action, peace is an action! So, we have to choose love, we have to choose hope, we have to choose joy anyway. Ain't nobody coming to save us from ourselves but ourselves. Y'all hear me?" Porter said.

"It's time to set this f------ world on fire! Who will you be? What will you do? And who will you be? This is the moment, right now, this is the moment. No more silence, no more fear! And lastly, I would like to leave you with an empowering quote from the late, ever-present and wise Toni Morrison. 'This is precisely the time when artists go rogue. There's no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.' We got to heal ourselves, y'all. Y'all ready? Y'all ready? All right, Thank you so much. God bless you."

Anything's Possible is available to stream on Prime Video July 22.

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