The 8th annual MiFo LGBT Film Festival returns to Fort Lauderdale on Oct. 7 and will feature more than 50 films from around the world.
Rebranded in 2015 as “MiFo” (Miami/Fort Lauderdale), the festival’s theme, “United We Film,” was selected not only to reemphasize the merged brand, but also call attention to the diversity of films and audience, according to organizers.
Over the two-week festival, screenings will be presented at the Classic Gateway Theatre, 1820 E. Sunrise Blvd., and Cinema Paradiso, 503 SE 6th Street, both in Fort Lauderdale.
Special events include an opening night gala at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale; a culinary-themed screening and party at the Gallery of Amazing Things, 481 S. Federal Highway in Dania Beach; and the closing night party at C&I Studios, 541 NW 1st Ave.
Tickets for individual screenings are $11 – 14 and special event tickets vary by venue. Tickets, a complete schedule and more information can be found at MiFoFilm.com.
Here are a few highlights and capsule reviews of selected films from the first weekend of the festival:
FRIDAY, OCT. 7
“Strike a Pose”
Opening Night Film
NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, 8 p.m.
Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan, dir.
Netherlands/Belgium, 2016, 83 min.
In 1990, seven young male dancers joined Madonna on her most controversial world tour. Their journey together was captured in the 1991 documentary, “Truth or Dare.” Twenty-five years later, the dancers share their own stories about life during and after the tour.
SFGN: The years have not necessarily been easy or kind to these charismatic men who toured with Madonna, but wound up becoming role models to a whole generation of gay men. We wonder, how many questioning young men made the decision to come out after seeing “the kiss” in 1991? “Strike a Pose” is a well-made selection to open the festival.
SATURDAY, OCT. 8
Cinema Paradiso, Fort Lauderdale, 7:30 p.m.
Tim Kirkman, dir.
USA, 2016, 87 min.
Passions reignite and hidden secrets are revealed when a graphic designer in Los Angeles reconnects with an ex-lover he hasn’t seen or even heard from in 15 years. Over the course of a weekend at a vacation house, they must determine whether or not they have a future together.
SFGN: We’ve all wondered what might happen if “the one-that-got-away” suddenly returned. This film will touch a nerve with gay men of a certain age who might be tempted to discard a comfortable relationship in search of that lost flame. Lucas Near-Verbrugghe and Aaron Costa Ganis heat up the screen in the process.
“Women Who Kill”
Classic Gateway Theatre, Fort Lauderdale, 7:30 p.m.
Ingrid Jungermann, dir.
USA, 2016, 91 min.
Morgan and ex-girlfriend Jean host the podcast, “Women Who Kill,” from their shared apartment in hipster Park Slope, Brooklyn. One day at the food co-op, Morgan meets a special someone, Simone, who is undoubtedly an attractive enigma waiting to be solved.
SFGN: Think lesbian “Fatal Attraction.” Well, not really. Clichés aside, “Women Who Kill” is a psychological thriller that pushes the boundaries of dark comedy without becoming campy. Some of the smartest scenes occur between the exes (director Ingrid Jungermann and Ann Carr), who must manage a complicated friendship rooted in love and shared experience, but tested by jealousy and suspicion.
Classic Gateway Theatre, Fort Lauderdale, 9:45 p.m.
Nick Corporon, dir.
USA, 2016, 98 min.
Jonathan (Tuc Watkins) travels to San Francisco and hires a young male prostitute (Devon Graye) to accompany him on a road trip to the Grand Canyon. Eager to leave his own life behind, the prostitute soon comes to realize that he's playing a crucial role in recreating Jonathan's heartbroken road trip from his past.
SFGN: Let’s just say Daddy has some issues. Major issues. Don’t worry, though, the mouthy young hustler doesn’t end up buried in a shallow grave somewhere in the desert. Instead, a fascinating, if temporary relationship slowly develops between them. Therapy might have been easier—and a whole lot cheaper.
“Paris 05:59: Theo & Hugo”
Cinema Paradiso, Fort Lauderdale, 9:45 p.m.
Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau, dir.
France, 2016, French with English subtitles, 97 min.
Two young men meet inside a tawdry Paris sex club, but soon leave and settle into a romantic night wandering the city. As they wander the neighborhood, both men are unexpectedly forced to question their ideas about desire, love and personal responsibility.
SFGN: Remember the days when porn flicks actually had plots? That’s pretty much how this one starts. It’s hard to believe serious actors would engage in actual sex on screen, but hey, they’re French. And they don’t speak their first lines until nearly 16 minutes into the film. Spoiler Alert: That’s when this film pivots into an emotional, gripping commercial for PrEP.
SUNDAY, OCT. 9
“Do You Take This Man”
Cinema Paradiso, Fort Lauderdale 7:30 p.m.
Joshua Tunick, dir.
USA, 2016, 92 min.
This intimate comedic drama tells the story of Daniel and Christopher on the eve of their wedding. When a long-lost friend of Christopher's shows up and the day's stresses begin to spiral out of control, the couple must rely on their close friends and family to see them through.
SFGN: After years and years of autobiographical coming out stories at LGBT festivals, get ready for a new wave of funny, quirky, sometimes autobiographical gay wedding films. Joshua Tunick’s feature about two mismatched bridegrooms—one in his 40s and the other in his 30s—is realistic, thoughtful and features standout performances by Anthony Rapp and Jonathan Bennett.
MONDAY, OCT. 10
A Taste of Film/Producers Circle Event
Gallery of Amazing Things, Dania Beach, 7 p.m.
Tom Gould and John Serpe, dir.
USA, 2016, 87 min.
Twenty-one-year-old Tracy walks in on her newly-minted “movie star” boyfriend having sex with another man. After assessing her limited options, she returns to Mark with a deal: If he agrees to marry her, she'll forget the whole thing ever happened. Mark accepts her terms, but neither fully understands the sacrifices.
SFGN: This film offers a refreshing contrast to the usual LGBT “coming out” stories, focusing primarily on the spurned girlfriend. Her childhood fantasies of the perfect storybook marriage dashed, Tracy is hurt, but, with the help of her quirky neighbors, she undertakes an emotional journey that is every bit as important as her boyfriend’s sexual awakening.