Two Thumbs Up for 14th Annual Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
The Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (MGLFF) will celebrate its 14th anniversary, April 27 - May 6, with more than 65 feature films, documentaries and shorts from 15 countries.
At the opening night reception, the festival will recognize country singer Chely Wright with the inaugural Lavender Heart Award, created to recognize an LGBT individual in the arts/entertainment industry who has demonstrated extreme acts of courage while promoting the community in a positive manner. Last year, Wright was one of the first country music stars to publicly come out of the closet. Wright recorded her struggle through intimate video diaries and interviews that were assembled into a documentary, Wish Me Away, that will be screened at the festival.
The festival board is also honoring MarkyG, the popular host of South Beach Dance Party on Y100 and Issues Over the Rainbow, a gay-themed interview program on the new Party 93.1 for more than four years. MarkyG will receive the Angel award for his significant impact on arts programs in the community.
In addition to individual screenings, MGLFF will be hosting six special events, including Opening Night, Made In Miami, Men's & Women's Works in Progress, Friday Night Spotlight and Closing Night. Most screenings take place at the Regal Cinema South Beach, Miami Beach Cinemateque and Coral Gables Art Cinema.
Ticket prices generally range from $7-8 in advance for festival members to $11-12 for non-members at the on-site box office during screenings. For membership information and a full film schedule, go to MGLFF.com or call 877-484-8499.
Here's a look at some of the opening week highlights of the festival:
Opening Night Celebration
Friday, April 27, 6 p.m. reception, 8 p.m. screening, 10 p.m. party
Director Katie Wolf's beautifully filmed coming out story takes place in the stunning setting of New Zealand. Based on the novel, Nights in the Gardens of Spain, by The Whale Rider author Witi Ihimaera, Kawa tells the story of a successful businessman who struggles with the strict traditional Maori culture as he tells his family and friends he's gay.
Wish Me Away
Saturday, April 28, 1 p.m., Regal Cinema South Beach
This touching documentary follows award-winning country music singer Chely Wright through moving video diary entries, music videos and tearful interviews to create a moving portrait of the talented singer, who comes out in the most public way.
Saturday, April 28, 8:30 p.m., Regal Cinema South Beach
Newly paraplegic, Morgan is a young man who yearns to reclaim his life before the accident. But, after a chance encounter with Dean in a park, a budding relationship is sparked until Morgan enters a race as a wheelchair competitor. The danger involved pushes Morgan to the brink and forces him to make a difficult choice between his love and his need to conquer his disability.
Seventh Gay Adventists
Sunday, April 29, 3:30 p.m., Regal Cinema South Beach
This film follows three compelling Christians, all struggling to reconcile their love for God with their sexuality. Audiences are introduced to Marcos, who was fired for being gay, but wants to return to the pulpit; David, who loves Jesus, but also loves Colin; and Sherri, a lesbian who wants her kids to grow up to be good Seventh-Day Adventists.
Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same
Sunday, April 29, 5:30 p.m., Regal Cinema South Beach
I don't know if there's such a thing as a classic "B" movie at a gay and lesbian film festival, but director Madeleine Olnek's send up of silly sci-fi pics tracks the misadventures of three aliens sent to Earth to rid themselves of romantic emotions. It ends up somewhere between Mr. Spock and Dr. Spock along the way.
Unfit: Ward vs. Ward
Made in Miami, Monday, April 30, 7:30 p.m. Regal Cinema South Beach
This film from Carmichael, Edwin Scharlau and Penny Edmiston asked the question: Who is more fit to raise a child, a convicted murderer or a lesbian? Unfortunately, right here in Florida, a Pensacola judge ruled in 1995 that a father, a convicted killer, was more fit, even though he did not know what grade his daughter was in or what school she attended. The directors chronicle the story, but more importantly, the aftermath of this shocking verdict.