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The 23rd annual OUTshine Film Festival Miami edition will take place April 23rd to May 2nd, with an opening night celebration at the Dezerland Drive-In.  Due to the pandemic, this year’s festival will be mostly digital, with three in person events.  It will feature 80+ LGBTQ films from around the world beginning with the opening night presentation of Potato Dreams of America, a semi-autobiographical comedy film that follows director Wes Hurley growing up in Russia and coming to the United States with his mail-order bride mother.  Tickets to all OUTshine Film Festival Miami edition can be purchased at Outshinefilm.com.

“No matter who you are or what your coming out journey has been, we have a film for you,” says Victor Gimenez, Executive Director of OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival, a bi-annual film festival with a mission to unite the community through social events and films that inspire, entertain and educate. Launched in 2008 as The Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, the festival expanded ten years later to include the Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Both were brought together as OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival, with the Miami edition held every April and the Fort Lauderdale edition held in October.

Additionally, the OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival Miami edition will host virtual Q&As with filmmakers and talent and stream them on their Facebook and YouTube channels.  “These will be great because we can really go in depth with talent located across the globe,” Gimenez explains.

An exciting new feature being added to this year’s OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival Miami edition is OUTshine At Home.  After the festival’s conclusion, OUTshine will offer its members 8-10 films every month; a mixture of brand-new films and older festival titles that are not available on any streaming services. “It will enable our audience to discover incredible new content and remain engaged in LGBTQ+ film throughout the year,” Giminez says.  He believes it will also encourage new members from all parts of Florida – Orlando, Jacksonville, Naples, and Tallahassee – to join their community and experience OUTshine LGBTQ+Film Festival Miami when it becomes a physical event again in April 2022.

Opening Night Drive-In: Potato Dreams of America

Friday, April 23rd at 7pm at Dezerland Park (14401 NE 19th Ave, North Miami, FL). Runtime: 95 mins; Language: English; Genre: Comedy, Drama, Gay

Following the success of his Oscar-qualified, award-winning short documentary Little Potato, Wes “Potato” Hurley has created his feature autobiography Potato Dreams of America – a very timely take on the American Dream from an immigrant’s perspective. Lena and her 9-year-old son, affectionately called Potato, try to escape the harsh reality of their native Vladivostok after the fall of the Soviet Union by watching American movies. Swept up by the fantasy of a better life, Lena decides to become a mail order bride so she and Potato can go to the US. When they arrive in Seattle, circa 1990, to live with Lena’s new husband John, Potato and Lena both realize some things in America are more different than they first appeared. This autobiographical work from director Wes Hurley mixes humor and heart in a feel-good coming-of-age story. Starring Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years), Lea DeLaria (Orange is The New Black), and Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls), Potato Dreams of America is a true story so full of surprises, it proves that life is often much stranger than fiction.

Here are some of the movies showing the first weekend: April 24 through April 28

Beyto

Runtime: 98 mins; Language: Swiss-German and Turkish w/ English Subtitles; Country: Switzerland, 2021; Genre: Drama, Gay, Romance

Talented, hunky swimmer, motivated apprentice, and cool buddy Beyto appears to have a bright future ahead of him. But when the only son of a Turkish migrant family falls in love with his coach, Mike, an ideal world falls to pieces. Ashamed and in shock, his parents only see one way out: Beyto must marry to save face and tradition. They lure him to their home village and plan his wedding with Seher, his childhood friend. Suddenly, Beyto finds himself in a disruptive love triangle. How can he get back to Mike without destroying Seher’s future? Beyto is a subtle, summerly sensuous love story about three young people caught in a situation none of them wanted, yet they all share.

Boy Meets Boy

Runtime: 75 mins; Language: English; Country: Germany, 2021; Genre: Drama, Gay, Romance; Includes the short film Noamia Director: Antonia Galdamez; 29 mins

Harry has been partying for 48 hours when he meets Johannes on the dance floor of a club in Berlin. With 15 hours until his flight home, Johannes offers to help Harry print his boarding pass. This mundane task leads to a day together wandering the city. The contrasts in their lives and values force each one to confront their own truths. Boy Meets Boy is a feature-length mumblecore about the journey of a brief encounter and the mark left by a fleeting moment of joy.

Can You Bring it: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters

Runtime: 90 mins; Language: English; Country: USA, 2020’ Genre: Documentary, Gay, Historical

Beginning in 1980s New York City, this film chronicles the love story between dancers Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane, the diverse dance company they founded, and the painful devastation of AIDS on the arts community as told through the company’s signature performance piece D-Man in the Waters. Following a millennial dance troupe’s effort to re-interpret the piece for their generation, directors Rosalynde LeBlanc and Tom Hurwitz offer an engrossing examination of dance, love, and loss – and the power of art to move through pain.

Everything At Once (Todo A La Vez)

Runtime: 102 mins; Language: Spanish w/ English Subtitles; Country: Chile, Spain, 2021

Genre: Documentary, Explicit, Gay; Southeast Premiere

Paco and Manolo are two Catalan photographers from the outskirts of Barcelona who have been together for thirty years. Both have managed to work as photographers and have captured their images in a Kink magazine, a very personal photography fanzine with a Mediterranean homoerotic aesthetic. Paco and Manolo’s style can be defined as sophisticatedly simple – recording the sex appeal of the working class with use of natural light, abandoned places and stark rooms – a mix of aesthetics and style that reflects influences from Caravaggio to Pasolini.
The artists become discreet witnesses of the subjects and intimacy of those men who want to be photographed. They contact the artists through social networks with the desire to be portrayed naked and in doing so not only bare their bodies but their inhibitions as well. The clothes fall, the bodies are freed, and the souls end up being captured by the lens of this intensely cultured, cinematic and urban couple. Everything At Once is a beautiful story of true artists, their art and a special relationship that has lasted for three decades.

A Good Man

Runtime: 108 mins; Language: French w/ English Subtitles; Country: France, 2020; Genre: Romance, Trans; Florida Premiere

Benjamin, a trans man still transitioning, and Aude are happily living in Brittany. The couple is about to step into uncharted territories, though, as there is no alternative for having a child other than Benjamin carrying the baby. Faced with answerless questions and dilemmas way out of the ordinary, they are forced to reshape their entire life. Deconstructing the sanctified image of feminine motherhood, this heartwarming journey of self-determination reflects our times’ fluidity, questioning all predetermined roles and identities.

Hustler White

Runtime: 79 mins; Language: English; Country: USA, 1996

Bruce LaBruce (Saint Narcisse, also screening in OUTshine – Miami) teams up with photographer Rick Castro in a wild re-imagining of Sunset Boulevard set on the hot hustling scene of 90’s Santa Monica Boulevard. Lovelorn anthropologist Jurgen Anger (Bruce LaBruce) heads to L.A. to research hustling as a social phenomenon, but after spotting angel-faced hustler Montgomery Ward (supermodel Tony Ward), he falls hopelessly in love. Featuring cameos by Ron Athey and Vaginal Davis, Hustler White is a roller coaster ride of sex, money, depravity… and romance!

I Am Syd Stone

Runtime: 82 mins; Language: English; Country: Canada, 2020; Genre: Drama, Gay

Hollywood heartthrob Syd Stone finds a connection that immediately creates drama onscreen and off. Syd Stone, a former A-List Hollywood actor, has seen better days. In need of work, he reluctantly finds himself in a small town shooting a B-movie. While getting drunk one night in his hotel bar, he meets Matt, a handsome young lawyer on the verge of his biggest case yet. Through their work stresses, the men connect instantly, and things become more than friendly. An intense affair ensues, putting Syd’s personal life and career in jeopardy. I Am Syd Stone is a beautifully directed six-episode series and an expansion of the award-winning 2014 short of the same name.

Isaac

Runtime: 82 mins; Language: Spanish w/ English Subtitles; Country: Spain, 2020; Genre: Drama, Gay. Includes the short film Red Bay – 29 mins; North American Premiere

Nacho and Denis meet after sixteen years of not being in touch, and neither of them is who they used to be. They both have wives. Nacho and Martha are a perfect bourgeois married couple with good jobs, but they are not happy because Martha is unable to get pregnant. Denis and Carmen lead a more laid-back lifestyle but live from hand to mouth and try to get enough money to open up a restaurant. When Denis offers his partner to be Nacho and Martha’s surrogate in exchange for the money, they need to open the restaurant, the two couples have to deal with secrets that were buried deep, really deep, inside Nacho and Denis’ closet. Based on a popular play, Isaac is an emotional and poignant drama about class, happiness and being your true, authentic self.

Shorts – Where the Men Are

(Genre: Comedy, Drama, Gay) – 106 minutes in total features 9 films (Eden, Landing, Light, The Beauty President, Virgin My Ass, Waking Up, Again I Dreamt Of you, Gaydream, and Heaven Reaches Down To Earth).

Yes I Am: The Ric Weiland Story

Runtime: 60 mins; Language: English; Country: USA, 2021; Genre: Documentary, Gay, Historical; Includes the short film Above The Troubled Water – 38 mins; East Coast Premiere

The story of Ric Weiland’s life and legacy can be measured in incredible milestones. He was one of the first employees at Microsoft and helped focus and organize their early successes. It made him wealthy and influential at an early age, but he never felt overly comfortable with his wealth. So, to quiet the nagging doubt, he turned to philanthropy. Out and proud since the 70’s, Ric was a champion of gay rights. His efforts to establish representation and resources for the LGBT community still have a profound impact today. This movie is a chilling reminder that no matter how much success one finds – everybody desperately needs help… geniuses included.

For a full list of the movies being shown the first week or for more information about the 23rd Annual Miami Edition of the OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival, visit Outshinefilm.com.

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