One of the South Florida LGBT arts presenters that’s been most effective in the pivot to pandemic-era safety protocols is the OUTshine Film Festival.

The Miami and Fort Lauderdale festivals were held virtually with on-demand streaming of the latest LGBT-themed features, shorts and documentaries from around the world.

With a year-round program in the works, OUTshine is kicking off a special free series in February to observe Black History Month.

Historically, films about LGBT people of color and lesbians have been underrepresented in the festival circuit, said Executive Director Victor Gimenez.

“It’s important to tell LGBT stories, but it’s just as important to share the stories of this important cross-section of our community,” he explained.

Beginning Feb. 19, viewers will be able to screen these five free films from their homes or mobile devices:

“Walking with Shadows”

Feb. 19 – 28

Nigeria/2019/English/95 mins.

A Nigerian man must come to terms with his dark secret and choose between keeping his family or accepting a life of possible loneliness and rejection.


“I am Samuel”

Feb. 19 – 28

Kenya/2020/English, Swahili with English subtitles/68 mins.

A gay Kenyan man finds himself torn between balancing duty to his family and his dreams for a future where he can live his truth openly.


Feb. 26 – March 7

USA/2020/English/86 mins.

Seen through the eyes of two Black, queer women organizers, the film offers a lyrical and timely portrait of the Black Lives Matter movement in Chicago.


Feb. 26 – March 7

Namibia/2020/English/61 mins.

Double feature with “Boys Hurt Too.”

When the two men meet, a love story is set in motion, but how do they navigate their diverse backgrounds and the society that simply will not accept their love?

“Boys Hurt Too”

Feb. 26 – March 7

USA/2021/English/50 mins.

Double feature with “Kapana”

After the death of his best friend, Colt mourns, but when a rumor about his deceased friend begins to spread around town, Colt finds himself defending his friend's reputation.

Gimenez added that the Miami edition of OUTshine is planned for April 22 – May 5 with a similar format to the last two festivals, largely with virtual screenings. He hinted that popular outdoor events including a drive-in movie were being planned until the festival can return to theaters.

“Safety is still our main concern and practicality is the other,” he pointed out, noting the OUTshine board and volunteers are excited about the outreach opportunities created by the ongoing streaming options being kicked off this month.

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