The OUTshine Film Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary season in Fort Lauderdale this month with more than 50 LGBTQ films, including 34 features and 17 shorts, panel discussions with filmmakers and talent and nightly parties throughout the eight-day festival.
"Ten years is a milestone anniversary and we're very excited to be part of the cultural landscape in Fort Lauderdale. We've been growing steadily every year and have extended the film festival by an additional day to be able to bring in more award-winning films and accommodate more attendees," said Victor Gimenez, executive director.
Here are five films worth checking out during the festival’s first weekend:
Thursday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m.
Studio 54 was the epicenter of ‘70s hedonism—a place that redefined what a nightclub could be, but also the symbol of an entire era. Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell came out of nowhere to preside over a new kind of New York society. With unprecedented access to Schrager, director Matt Tyrnauer tells the whole unvarnished story for the first time.
SFGN: While the whole story is fascinating and I wished I could have experienced the club in its heyday, I found myself constantly reminded of Mike Myers’ uncanny portrayal of Rubell in the wistful 1998 feature “54.”
Friday, Oct. 19, 9:15 p.m.
The Classic Gateway Theatre
After being sent to a youth correctional facility, 17-year-old Andrej (Matej Zemljič) meets Željko (Timon Sturbej), the informal leader of a group of inmates. Soon Željko starts exploiting Andrej in return for keeping his homosexuality a secret thus causing Andrej's sense of responsibility and moral integrity to be put to the test.
SFGN: Had this film not been made in Slovenia, it could have been quickly relegated to cheesy B-movie status. Think “Reform School Boys” meets “The Breakfast Club,” but Zemljič offers a surprisingly nuanced performance as young gay man struggling with his sexuality.
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2:45 p.m.
The Classic Gateway Theatre
Four transgender men (who, like the documentary’s director, T. Cooper, were born and raised female) follow a variety of life paths before stepping onto the stage at Trans FitCon, the only all-transgender bodybuilding competition in the world. The film speaks to the ways in which we all choose to define and reshape ourselves, both figuratively and literally.
SFGN: Even lesbian, gay and bisexual people can struggle to understand the challenges of our transgender brothers and sisters. Each of these men overcome their individual obstacles with resolve and, most importantly, heart, to meet on that stage and express themselves.
Sunday, Oct. 21, 5 p.m.
When veteran drag queen Jackie Collins (Derren Nesbitt) receives a diagnosis with six weeks to live, all he wants to do is perform his act and behave as if all is normal. But between a surprising new friendship with a rising young queen and unfinished business with his estranged daughter, he may just experience the most eventful month of his life.
SFGN: I’ve never met a professional drag performer quite like Jackie—yes, he’s “straight”—but I would imagine Fort Lauderdale’s older audiences will be able to relate to the character’s impending mortality and the stark choices he must suddenly confront.
“Making Montgomery Clift”
Sunday, Oct. 21, 7:15 p.m.
Montgomery Clift was one of the most influential actors in the history of cinema, bucking traditions on and off screen, but countless biographies have reduced him to labels like “tragically self-destructive” and “tormented.” Nephew Robert Clift and Hillary Demmon examine the flawed narratives that have come to define Monty’s legacy.
SFGN: While Clift’s story is certainly not unique to Hollywood, what made this documentary compelling was the seeming obsession of filmmaker Robert Clift (who never met his uncle)—and his father, Monty’s older brother—to shape or even recast the public’s perceptions of the actor who died in 1966.
The OUTshine Film Festival runs Oct. 18 – 28 in Fort Lauderdale. For a complete schedule and tickets, go to OutShineFilm.com.