OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival Miami, internationally acclaimed as one of the largest LGBTQ+ cultural festivals in the world, will open its 24th edition with the first Florida live screening of “B-Boy Blues” (2021) at The Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater on April 22 at 7pm. Continuing its mission to unite the community through premier social events and programs that inspire, entertain, educate and encourage a sense of community, this year’s festival features more than 45 international features and documentary screenings, panel discussions, three shorts programs, exclusive virtual showings, Cocktails & Cinema Happy Hours and parties that will take place across various venues in Miami-Dade County through May 1.
On the 22, Producer Circle members and filmmakers will enjoy a 5:30 pm pre-event Filmmakers Soirée. The film will be followed by a live Q & A and an opening night party featuring cast from the film, filmmakers and Vanguard honoree Venezuelan actress, model, and philanthropist Patricia Velásquez.
“Representation and diversity are an important part of the foundation that OUTshine Film Festival Miami continues to build upon. OUTshine says gay,” said Mark Gilbert, board chair and interim executive director of OUTshine Film Festival. “’B-Boy Blues’ is a brash exploration of cross-culture, identity and African American LGBT life that’s rarely seen on the big screen and it’s a film that everyone will enjoy. It’s important for us to share this classic story in context at one of Miami’s most significant African-American theater venues.”
“B-Boy Blues” USA (2021)
“Jussie Smollett (of Empire fame) marks his directorial debut with B-Boy Blues. He adapted this book for the screen with the author James Earl Hardy’s. A lot of people have opinions of Smollett based on his trial, but I say, we all make mistakes and unless you are God, please don’t judge. Even if you can’t forgive Smollett, please dont let that cloud your judgement of this film as he is an outstanding director.
After over 25 years of the book’s original publication, it finally made it to the big screen, and let me tell you it was worth the wait! One of my favorite things that Smollett and Hardy did was move the storyline from the 90’s to modern day.
The casting is excellent, and Timothy Richardson (Mitchell) and Thomas Mackie (Raheim) are electrifying every time they are on the screen. Their chemistry is undeniable! In its core, this is a love story with two opposite people: Mitchell is an educated and artistic and has a great job, and Raheim is from the other side of the tracks and is a bike messenger. Do opposites attract? Well, you will have to see the film to find out.
The supporting cast of Landon G. Woodson, Brandee Evans, Jabari Redd, Brian Lucas, all give great performances, but the standout for me was Heather B Gardner as Aunt Ruth whose facial expressions and comedic timing are everything!
I can sum up my feelings of this film in two words: Its “Jood.” To find out what that means, you will have to see the film!”
Some of the other highlights of the first week of the film festival are:
Saturday, April 23
Once A Year In Blackpool Sands (Drama, Comedy, Romance, Gay, Based on a True Story; 105 minutes; English)
This is a moving comedy-drama about the love, identity, and courage of the LGBTQ community during the first walk towards Gay Pride in 1950s England. Based on the real-life events of Yorkshire coal miners and secret gay lovers, Tommy, and Eddy, who spend their annual week holiday at a quirky B & B in Blackpool, along with a few other alternative members of society. The film takes the viewer on a rollercoaster journey through the North of England to the beaches of Greece and follows each character’s fight for equality and freedom in an age that still deemed being gay, or “different” as a crime.
Private Desert – Deserto Particular (Drama, Romance, Gay, Foreign, Trans; 120 minutes; In Portuguese with English subtitles) – Brazil’s official submission to the 94th Academy Awards.
40-year-old Daniel has been suspended from active police work and is under internal investigation for a violent episode while on duty. When Sara, his internet love affair, stops answering his texts he decides to drive north in search of her, starting on what is apparently a fool’s errand. Upon arrival, he shows Sara’s picture around, but nobody seems to recognize the woman. He receives a break when a guy appears saying he can put the two in touch, but, under very specific conditions. This is a journey filled with the perils of toxic masculinity and homophobia and plenty of twists along the way.
Wandering Hearts – Errante Corazon (Drama, Romance, Gay, Foreign, Break Up, Mental Health; 112 Minutes; In Spanish and Portuguese with English subtitles
Gay single father Santiago has reached a tipping point in his life. Reeling from a bitter breakup, Santiago is also facing the impending departure of his daughter Laila, with whom he shares a close yet emotionally charged relationship. As the fear of being alone threatens to swallow him whole, his behavior becomes increasingly erratic. Over the course of a chaotic summer divided between Argentina and Brazil, Santiago must learn to let go of Laila so each can find their own freedoms. Drawing complex, empathetic characters and employing unaffected dialogue, this emotionally affecting drama is a story about the intense longing to love and be loved.
Sunday, April 24
The Swimmer (Narrative, Gay, Romance, Foreign Film, Sports; 90 Minutes; In Hebrew with English subtitles)
Erez, a rising star in the Israeli swimming scene, arrives at a godforsaken training camp held in a boarding school, where the one to win the competition gets a ticket to the Olympics. There he meets the beautiful and talented Nevo, who awakens subconscious desires in him. However, their swimming coach does not believe in friendship between competitors. Warned to stay away from Nevo, Erez is still too attracted to him. In between practices, he attempts to act upon his feelings and understands that winning a medal is less important than winning Nevo’s heart. The Swimmer is tender and tense with an ending unlike any you will see this year…in a good way.
Monday, April 25
Young And Afraid – Nattebarn (Documentary, Lesbian, Trans, Bisexual, Mental Health; 100 minutes; In Norwegian with English subtitles)
Young and Afraid is a raw film about young people fighting their demons. In the autumn of 2017, bisexual Petter (24) was standing on top a bridge, preparing to end his life, when he was stopped by the police. This started a therapeutic journey with his best friend, Sverre. Equipped with a film camera, they scour the streets of Oslo, befriending people struggling with their own problems, from drug addiction to accepting their sexuality. The filmmakers want to shed light on how people cope with the challenges they face. By trying to understand their destructive patterns, Petter becomes aware of his own.
Wednesday, April 27
Moneyboys (Drama, Gay, Foreign; 120 minutes; In Mandarin with English subtitles)
Moneyboys examines the tight-knit community of gay hustlers in Beijing. The film centers on Fei, a hustler who sends much of his money back home. But while returning to his village, Fei is humiliated by his father’s friends and family. They want his dirty money but prefer to disavow him completely. Life back home now impossible, Fei fully commits himself to his gay hustler friends. He eventually hooks up with Long, a young man from his village who has moved to Beijing to start over. But he has never gotten over Xiaolai, his mentor and first love, who disappeared after being brutally injured while protecting Fei from a violent john.
Tickets to the opening night film “B-Boy Blues” and after-party are $55 each and include an open bar by Bacardi, light bites and live music. This is an in-person screening, only. Tickets start at just $8 for other individual films with group discounts and additional offers available.
For more information, films line-up and tickets for the 24th annual OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival Miami, call (877) 766-8156 or visit outshinefilm.com. A full schedule of parties and special events is available at outshinefilm.com/events.