The 17th annual Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival will present 75 different movies from around the world, representing all genres, starting with opening night on April 24 and ending with the final films which will be screened on May 2. Here are profiles of five films that we recommend that you see during the festival.
Boulevard is making its Southeastern debut on the opening night of the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, at the Colony Theater (1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach) on Friday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m.
“Sometimes it’s nice to be somewhere else.” This movie spotlights the delights and dangers of running away from your true identity, especially if you’ve run so fast and for so long you don’t know who you really are anymore. Robin Williams, in one of his final movie roles, plays Nolan Mack, an unassuming, middle-aged loan officer at a bank. He is up for promotion after working there for nearly 26 years, is happily married to his wife Joy, and helps care for his dying father. His life begins to unravel when he picks up a prostitute named Leo, who has troubles of his own.
It becomes very evident early on that Nolan, starved for intimacy with another man, begins to care just a tad too deeply for Leo, who is involved with drugs and some very unstable people. Nolan begins to take Leo on as a pet project of sorts, trying to fix his life, which ends up all for naught after Leo continues to see other johns. When Nolan misses a dinner that’s important to Joy, the marriage shatters into a million pieces. Robin Williams is genius as he gives a monologue to his mute, dying father, detailing how he realized his homosexuality all those years ago — and how he did nothing about it. Kathy Baker shines in one of the film’s final scenes as she, newly rejected, finally lets loose her frustrations.
Directed by Dito Montiel
Cast: Robin Williams as Nolan, Kathy Baker as Joy, Roberto Aguire as Leo
Naz & Maalik
Naz & Maalik is making its East Coast debut at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, screening at the Miami Beach Cinematheque (1130 Washington Avenue, Suite 200) on Saturday, April 25 at 5 p.m.
Two black Muslim teenagers and best friends live life one day at a time in Brooklyn. One thing that stands out immediately is the beautiful cinematography, all shot on location in New York City. They pass the time and make money by illegally selling lottery tickets and sundries to tourists and other people who pass them by on the street. When they are approached by a man who wants to sell them a gun, they decline, but that already puts them on the radar of an FBI agent who is looking to sniff out potential Muslim terrorists in the city.
An interesting aspect of this film is the “down low” aspect of their relationship, which reveals itself to be sexual and romantic. Their families (who would surely disapprove if they found out) as well as their religion are the reasons why the two of them have to sneak off for furtive gropes and kisses. While the FBI agent digs around trying to find her lead, she is on the way to accidentally revealing their relationship, but a sudden, unconnected turn of events threatens to bring everything out in the open and may very well unravel their existence together as they know it — in more ways than one.
Directed by Jay Dockendorf
Cast: Kerwin Johnson, Jr. as Naz, Curtiss Cook, Jr. as Maalik, Annie Grier as Sarah
Game Face will have its world premiere at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, screening at the Regal South Beach Stadium 18 (1120 Lincoln Road) on Sunday, April 26 at 3:15 p.m.
Fallon Fox is a name most everyone knows; she made international headlines when she became the first transgender mixed martial artist to fight at the professional level. Terrence Clemens is a name that you may not know. A tragic victim of outing and homophobia, he was forced to leave his basketball dreams behind when he had to change schools. As a result, he was led down the wrong path, and eventually he was convicted of a felony, serving ten months in federal prison. “My dream basically died at that point,” he lamented.
In this documentary, we get to see a lot of the hurdles and difficulties these two people have had to endure in their quest to be true to themselves. Terrence picks up the pieces and enlists the help of a trainer, hoping to make it as a gay basketball player in college, despite his checkered past. Fallon, with the full support of her daughter, pursues her dream of fighting in the MMA, only to receive lots of backlash when the story finally hits the media. However, Fallon’s journey is made a lot easier by the support she receives from fans and even fellow fighters. This documentary is unique in that it’s one of the first — if not the first — to spotlight the stories of two LGBT athletes following their destined paths in sports — as the events are happening. It is a joy to see these two kind-hearted and likable people manage to realize these dreams. Hopefully, in the future, we will find them even happier.
Directed by Michiel Thomas
Featuring Fallon Fox and Terrence Clemens as themselves
Nasty Baby, the Centerpiece Feature, is making its East Coast debut at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, screening at the Regal South Beach Stadium 18 on Wednesday, April 29 at 8 p.m.
Installation artist Freddy is absolutely obsessed with the idea of having a baby with the help of his friend Polly. So much so, in fact, that he takes this idea and incorporates it into his art (his upcoming project consists of him rolling around, as if he were a baby, naked on a black backdrop). He is encountered with a problem, however, as it is revealed that his sperm count is low. His partner Mo has a higher count and he has agreed to provide the sperm, which his family does not like, and they let all three of them know it.
One evening, all of their fates come to a head for two reasons. First, Polly learns that they can move ahead with their plans for her to have their baby. The second is far more shocking and tragic, as one of the supporting characters in the film meets a tragic end. The three of them are now tied together, for better or worse, based on what they know about their acquaintance’s final moments, and each of them knows what’s in the others’ souls — bonding them closer together than a baby ever could.
Directed by Sebastian Silva
Cast: Sebastian Silva as Freddy, Tunde Adebimpe as Mo, Kristen Wiig as Polly, Alia Shawkat as Wendy
Death in Buenos Aires
Death in Buenos Aires, the men’s closing night feature, is making its U.S. premiere at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, screening at the Colony Theater on Saturday, May 2 at 8:30 p.m.
The film is set in the Argentina of the 1980s. Military rule is over and people in the capital of Buenos Aires have a newfound zest for life, even Inspector Chavez, whose life’s work revolves around murder. The city’s most recent murder has the Inspector going underground into the blossoming gay scene to find a killer. He enlists the help of a junior officer, Agent Gomez, who is strikingly beautiful. Although he doesn’t entirely trust Gomez, Chavez works with him anyway.
The movie reaches a breaking point when Gomez insists he solved the case by killing the supposed murderer and framing the motive as greed gone bad, as the deceased was involved in the high-stakes world of raising lucrative polo horses. But it’s Chavez who finds the real killer, just as he struggles with his own feelings toward Gomez, which aren’t made easier considering Chavez has a wife and a child at home. It’s in the film’s final scene that we find out who the real murderer is — but will Chavez be able to tell anyone? Will the killer be brought to justice?
Directed by Natalia Meta
Cast: Demian Bichir as Inspector Chavez, Chino Darín as Agent Gomez
Hotspots Media Group is a proud sponsor of the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. For more information on the film festival, visit mglff.com.