OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival is the largest LGBT cultural arts event in South Florida and is a combination of The Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival and the Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Film Festival …. and dates back to 1998. It is such an excellent platform for its very diverse queer communities with a program that underscores its broad appeal and dynamic multi-cultural location. We will admit to a little bias as Miami is Queerguru’s winter base and we have very fond memories of sitting in the audience on the opening night some 25 years ago.
Usually, when it comes to queer film festivals we heap our praise and admiration on the films, the filmmakers, and the stars but for once we would like to single out Program Director Joe Bilancio. He always manages to surprise and delight us with a few queer gems that no other Fests have picked up. Yet.
So it’s time for the Fort Lauderdale Edition that kicks off October 19 and runs to October 29. with a hybrid mix of in-person screenings and online streaming.
HERE ARE QUEERGURU’S TOP PICKS OF MUST SEE MOVIES
Calling all bears, admirers, and allies. Cult web series Where The Bears Are is celebrated in Eduardo Aquino’s fabulous new documentary A Big Gay Hairy Hit – Where the Bears Are. This funny, heartfelt documentary tells the story of how three Hollywood film industry bears, tired of the lack of visibility of burly gay men on mainstream TV, decided to create and produce their own series which surprisingly became a huge hit.
Aquino’s documentary reunites the cast for a look back at the funny, often chaotic creative process and filming. The cast reveals how their own childhoods and personal experiences on the gay scene shaped their characters and the storylines. Hilarious clips from many of the 142 episodes are shown. The cast revealed that sex positivity and non-stereotypical and non-conforming behavior was at the core of their messaging, alongside the showcasing of real bodies rather than ‘Hollywood’ bodies. Overacting and wackiness were encouraged. They also discuss ageism and body shaming. Ultimately, the documentary is about how queer friendship and community, when combined with humor and the right creative process, regardless of funding, can create something with global appeal. Lots of fun.
‘All Of Us Strangers‘ is the latest film from the award-winning Brit filmmaker Andrew Haigh. The film is set in contemporary London when one night in his near-empty tower block, Adam (Andrew Scott) has a chance encounter with a mysterious neighbor Harry (Paul Mescal), which punctures the rhythm of his everyday life. As a relationship develops between them, Adam is preoccupied with memories of the past and finds himself drawn back to the suburban town where he grew up, and the childhood home where his parents (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell), appear to be living, just as they were on the day they died, 30 years before.
Openly gay Scott has enjoyed a very successful career on stage, film, and TV and is known by many as the ‘hot priest’ in Fleabag. Mescal, also Irish like his co-star, came on everyone’s radar when he received an Academy Award nomination for his performance in Aftersun
CHASING CHASING AMY is an interesting documentary that takes a deep dive into the complex legacy of Kevin Smith’s 1997 indie film Chasing Amy, its effect on queer people, and its life-saving impact on director Sav Rodgers.
The original film is a romantic comedy starring Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams and Jason Lee. The film is about a male comic artist (Affleck) who falls in love with a lesbian/sexually fluid woman (Adams), to the displeasure of his best friend (Lee). The film was originally inspired by a brief scene in the cult 90s lesbian film Go Fish. In Guinevere Turner’s Go Fish, one of the lesbian characters imagines her friends passing judgment on her for selling out by sleeping with a man. Rodgers’ film is a love letter to film-making, his wife, and to Chasing Amy. His charismatic energy is infectious. Keep an eye on him.
“Happy Clothes: A Film About Patricia Field” the iconic New York stylist, costumier, and fashion designer is a must-see for all Sex In The City fans. Field’s extraordinary eye for color combined with her outrageous flair and love of clothes made her the person to go to when fashion was to be an integral part of any film or TV show. Her sublime costumes for The Devil Wore Prada netted her an Academy Award Nomination. An integral part of NY’s East Villag,e Field is an iconic figure whose charisma, intelligence, patience, wit, lack of ego, and sense of style continuously shine through her close-knit team making her such a joy to watch
HIDDEN MASTER – The Legacy of George Platt Lynes The name of George Platt Lynes is one not to be overlooked and this documentary is directed by Sam Shahid.will bring his work to the audience it so deserves The film shows the shadows and lights in the life of this visionary creator from the 1920s who made visual statements decades before Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, and particularly, Robert Mapplethorpe.
Platt Lynes was also the first photographer to portray frontal nudes that transmitted the joy of sexuality and its bonds with the gay community that lived in the shadows in those days.
HOUSEKEEPING FOR BEGINNERS Macedonian filmmaker Goran Stolevski, whose previous film ‘Of An Age ‘ is a firm favorite of ours, gives us this wonderful melodrama that sees Dita (Anamaria Marinca), a reluctant and harried ‘mum-in-law’, suddenly forced to bring up her girlfriend’s two unmanageable daughters: cheeky upstart Mia and troubled Vanesa, a teenager going on 40!). A battle of wills ensues as the three continue at loggerheads with this unlikely family fighting to stay together through force of circumstance rather than compatibility and desire.
Indian filmmaker ONIR latest movie is PINE CONE which has been billed as being semi-autobiographical, it showcases three stories told from the eyes of the lead character Sid Mehra (Vidur Sethi) as he navigates relationships in his quest for love. What sets this film apart is its unique narrative structure, with the stories unfolding in reverse chronological order, spanning the years 2019, 2009, and 1999.
The film starts slowly and initially feels like it’s going to pan out as a simple boy-meets-boy romance but when we first get a glimpse of Sid’s inability to see a future in his latest encounter it really intrigues us. Onir has chosen to reverse the narrative with the stories unfolding in reverse chronological order, spanning the years 2019, 2009, and 1999. What we end up with is a compelling tale of Sid’s exploration of love, relationships, and self-discovery.
THE LOST BOYS is the debut feature-length film by Zeno Grato a Belgian film director and screenwriter, and it rightly picked up an award when it premiered at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival in 2023. It’s set in a juvenile reform center, a place governed by the prohibition of physical contact, where Joe and William fall in love. To love each other, they will have to break the law.
THE MATTACHINE FAMILY is a heart-touching story about queer parenthood. It is the story of a handsome couple Thomas (Juan Pablo Di Pace) and Oscar (Nico Tortorella) who are living a good life in LA. They are in love, busy, and happy foster parents to a young kid Arthur (Matthew Jacob Ocampo). When it’s time for Arthur to return to his birth mother, however, his loss affects the couple deeply and in different ways, and they realize they have different ideas about what being a family entails.
PS You may also like to check out http://Married filmmakers Andy & Danny Valentine talk about THE MATTACHINE FAMILY a story about gay parenting
OUTSHINE OUEER FILM FESTIVAL begins on 10/19 and will end on 10/29 To see the whole program and book tickets https://outshinefilm.com/program
for full reviews of over 1800 queer films check out www.queerguru.com and whilst you are there be sure to subscribe to get all the latest raves and rants on queer cinema …best of all its FREE