I met Mark Gilbert (Marky G) many years ago when I was the co-chair of Pride South Florida and he would so generously donate his time to emcee Pride. In my opinion, he was the best MC that Pride ever had, and after working together for years we developed a friendship. I am so happy to see him at the helm of the Film Festival. In last week’s magazine we had a feature on this year’s Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and this week I thought it would be good to sit down with Mark for a short interview.
Which roles have you played in the past before your current role?
I have worn many hats through the years of the festival, from co-chair, to marketing chair, and several other roles without titles. I feel like I have always had a strong, solid, and I like to think heard, voice of this organization and I’m someone who is very passionate about its success and future.
You are currently the Board Chair and Executive Director. How are those different from your previous roles?
Well I hired me and I can fire me. But beyond that [laughs] it has put me in intimate touch with every detail of this festival as I am somewhat of a control freak and I want to know everything that is going on…I hate surprises. Learning all the nuances has been a great experience and will make me a better Chair once I can escape this dual role.
When you took over the organization, it was financially constrained. Has that been resolved, and have you accomplished all you wanted?
We are virtually debt free and we have or will meet every obligation…we will not owe anyone after the festival and might even have a few shillings in the bank. We are even close to everything I would like to accomplish, though we have accomplished so much more than I ever thought we would in such a short time. It has been an amazing (almost) one year and I have had the chance to work with and meet so many great people that have allowed this festival to rise to new levels and certainly catapult us along on our journey to be world-class.
What is this year’s festival looking like?
I think it will be the best festival we have had in years. We have more films and by all outside estimates, an amazing variety of some truly terrific films. Our parties will take us back to the kind of events that have originally made this festival all that it is. We are looking to make the experience of every member and guest the best it can be so they will want to stay involved year after year and ensure its long-term success. This is one year not to miss!
How is Fort Lauderdale looking?
We have already started discussing the Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and will prepare for our sixth year the day Miami ends. We are looking to add more days, more films, more venues and better events. Our Fifth Annual last year was truly amazing and our goal is make this one even better and get more of the community involved.
Do you like what you are doing?
I honestly love this festival as it has played such an instrumental role in my life and development as a gay man. I love the experience of watching films with my peers and community, the social elements, and so much more. There is no better gay social organization in South Florida, and I hope more of your readers will get involved and experience the same joy that I have for the past 13 years.
For more information on the festival, go to MGLFF.com.