The MiFo LGBT Film Festival is coming to Fort Lauderdale, Oct. 9 – 11 and 15-18, with 53 films, including 13 premieres, 28 features, 18 shorts and seven documentaries. But, most importantly the festival marks the debut of a new executive director, Victor M. Gimenez.
Gimenez was hired this summer and is responsible for both the Fort Lauderdale and Miami festivals. A Miami native, Gimenez has been involved as both board chair and volunteer for several years.
“I really enjoy film,” he said in a phone interview.
His first task was to implement the festival’s new branding: MiFo, an amalgamation of the Miami and Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Film Festivals, and a nod to SoHo in Manhattan, also a major independent film festival.
“Both Miami and Fort Lauderdale festivals have earned widespread acclaim individually,” said Gimenez. “Together under one brand we will continue to grow exponentially, thanks to their combined size and the benefits of combined marketing efforts.”
He said the new brand has been received enthusiastically by the film industry, even if it may take time for locals to get accustomed.
In addition to board and membership development, programming and corporate sponsorships, Gimenez has also put new energy into the Fort Lauderdale festival, which had traditionally been much smaller than Miami.
“I think audiences will find that the quality of the films is first rate,” he explained, “and the parties and other events are definitely on par with Miami,” one of the largest LGBT film festivals in the country.
This year the festival will expand to four venues: NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, 1 Las Olas Blvd. (Opening Night Gala and Film); The Classic Gateway Theatre, 1820 E. Sunrise Blvd.; Cinema Paradiso, 503 SE 6th St.; and C&I Studios, 541 NW 1st Ave.
The opening night event will feature a screening of “Fourth Man Out,” while the centerpiece film will be the director’s cut of “54” at Cinema Paradiso on Thursday, Oct. 15. The festival closes on Sunday, Oct. 18 with “Portrait of a Serial Monogamist” at The Classic Gateway Theatre and “Those People” at Cinema Paradiso.
Gimenez emphasized that the festival will offer more Lesbian-themed films, including a collection of shorts films on Saturday, Oct. 10 and the southeast premiere of “Stuff” on Sunday, Oct. 11. The feature explores the challenges of a Lesbian couple raising daughters and dealing with the death of a parent. Director Suzanne Guacci will speak about the film following the screening.
He is also committed to enacting the festival’s mission to inspire, entertain and educate the public, encourage a sense of community through international and culturally diverse film, video and other media that offer historical and contemporary perspectives on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender experience.
For a complete schedule, tickets and further information, go to MiFoFilm.com.