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The Fabulous Independent Film Festival

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Scheduled to be held at Burns Court Cinemas in downtown Sarasota, on Friday, August 23, Saturday, August 24 and Sunday, August 25, the Fabulous Independent Film Festival will mark its third anniversary with 3 days of cinema celebrating diversity in the LGBT community… 

The Fablulous Independent Film Festival:

Three Years After Its Debut, Making Its Mark on Sarasota

Scheduled to be held at Burns Court Cinemas in downtown Sarasota, on Friday, August 23, Saturday, August 24 and Sunday, August 25, the Fabulous Independent Film Festival will mark its third anniversary with 3 days of cinema celebrating diversity in the LGBT community. In association with the Harvey Milk Festival, a non profit organization, the festival is organized by broken rules productions.  Tickets are $8.50, opening and closing night films are $10, available on www.fabulousiff.com and at Burns Court Cinemas on the days of the festival.

Films scheduled are:

* GBF, presented by Watermark Media, the festival opens with Darren Stein’s hilarious high school comedy about a shy gay teen who becomes a must have accessory for three crafty beauties who desperately need a Gay Best Friend to complete their look. 

* Hot Guys with Guns, this frothy mystery caper centers on an aspiring actor and his party boy ex, who find themselves sucked into a crime spree targeting Hollywood’s so-called Velvet Mafia. 

* First Period, a hilarious comedy (think Heathers-meets-John Waters) follows a spunky teenage girl (played by Brandon Alexander III) as she plans her totally rad “Sweet 16” party despite scheming by the mean girls in school.

* Valentine Road, a powerful, thoughtful and tragic documentary tells the story of the 2008 killing of Lawrence “Larry” King, a grade eight student. 

* Happy Sad, relates the story of two young couples in New York—one black and gay, one white and heterosexual—finding themselves intertwined as they create new relationship norms.  Starring our own Charlie Barnett (Booker High graduate). 

* Margarita, told through the eyes of a hardworking undocumented Mexican nanny, is an award-winning dramedy, which captures a turning point in the life of a Canadian family. 

* Interior. Leather Bar, James Franco and Travis Matthews (I Want Your Love) collaborate on this experimental and sexually explicit film imagining what was cut from the classic CRUISING. It created a huge controversy when screened at this year at the Sundance Film Festival. 

* Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia, the life and world of Gore Vidal, one of the wittiest and most opinionated author, essayist and commentator of the 20th century, is revealed in this hugely entertaining documentary that was a smash hit when it premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

* Reaching for the Moon chronicles the passionate yet tempestuous love affair between Pulitzer prize-winning American poet, Elizabeth Bishop, and Brazilian architect, Lota de Macedo Soares.

* Desperation Lingers, a short, by our local multi talented boy wonder: Anthony Paull, will precede GBF.

Sarasota Film Society, Watermark Media, Janice & John Shelton, Embracing Our Differences, RCMoore Construction, Theodore A. Gollnick, PA, Throb, Clasico and Caragiulo’s are among the Fabulous IFF sponsors making this festival a reality. The complete list of sponsors is featured on the Fabulous IFF web site, www.fabulousiff.com

 Hotspots managed to snag an interview with the founder of the Fabulous Independent Film Fesitval, Magida Diouri, as she tells us the impact the festival is making on Sarasota’s LGBT communities and film aficionados.

How did the Fabulous International Film Festival start?

Years ago, I used to be the artistic director for the Sarasota Film Society. I programmed all the festivals, among them the LGBT Film Festival.  When I stopped working for the Sarasota Film Society and started working for the Sarasota Film Festival (similar names but separate organizations and non-profits), I kept on programming the Sarasota Film Society’s LGBT film festival for one more year, then someone else programmed it and then the LGBT festival did not happen one year.  I strongly felt that a film festival celebrating diversity needed to exist. This is how it all started.

How has it grown from the first year to its third year?

The first year had a selection of four films and one short in one day, they were shown at the Florida Studio Theater, a great venue. Our presenting sponsor set up a huge screen with gorgeous projection. The State College of Florida film program loaned us their popcorn machine, we totally set it up as an old movie house; it was a lot of fun.  Then, we had a great party with MetorEYES playing. 

The second year was also absolutely wonderful, we moved to Burns Court Cinemas, the Sarasota Film Society sponsored the event, and we expanded to two days and six films and four shorts and three parties. 

This year we are at Burns Court Cinemas, again; the Sarasota Film Society (they operate BCC) is sponsoring the event this year as well.  We’ll be presenting nine films, the shorts are still in the selection process.  We are going to present Desperation Lingers by our local boy wonder Anthony Paull; it will precede the opening night film, GBF.  We are having three days of films and parties.  What better way to celebrate diversity than films and parties?

How did the Fabulous IFF partner with the Harvey Milk Festival?

When I first decided to create the Fabulous Independent Film Festival, Shannon Fortner of the Harvey Milk Festival was a tremendous help as was Cindy Barnes of Sarasota Pride.  A partnership with the Harvey Milk Festival happened simply [from there.]

What factors are taken into account with the selection of the movies on offer during the festival?

We receive a few submissions but it is essentially an invitation festival.  We check out the biggest festivals of the continent: Frameline, LA Outfest, Philadelphia Queer, Toronto LGBT Film Festival, Miami and a few others.  We screen about 30 to 40 films and make a selection.  We try to select a wide variety of genres: documentaries, comedy, drama and a little experimental. 

Which film was your personal favorite, and why?

This is a hard question, I actually liked them all and would have added a few more if budget and time allowed.  Valentine Road is amazing, it actually shows the two sides of the story which is quite unusual.  Happy Sad is a great example of home grown talent; Charlie Barnett is from Sarasota, he graduated from Booker High.  GBF is such a delightful comedy with the perfect amount of sweetness to it. First Period is truly a great independent spirited film, it is as though John Waters directed a John Hughes script.  Margarita is a modern love story.  Interior. Leather Bar is the experimental film of the festival.  Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia is a great portrait of a very brilliant man.  Reaching for the Moonis such a complex love story set in a visually stunning environment.  Hot Guys with Guns is a very silly comedy with cute guys; what’s not to like?  I would definitely see all the films. I have seen them, but I would see them again.



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