As essential as film’s ability to transport and entertain is on a cultural level, it is the cinematic wonders that illuminate social issues and convey truth about the human condition that are indelibly and permanently impactful. For five years, the Fabulous Independent Film Festival has celebrated diversity, honoring excellence in LGBTQ cinema.
All proceeds of the three-day festival (co-produced by broken rules productions and Harvey Milk Festival) go to the Harvey Milk Festival. It will showcase six award-winning independent films, and take place at Burns Court Cinemas and the courtyard of the USF Sarasota/Manatee Campus Sept. 18-20.
According to Magida Diouri of broken rules productions, the festival, which has grown in size and community support over the past few years, has made an immense local cultural contribution.
“I feel the Fabulous IFF has brought a very intimate tone to the diversity conversation over the course of the past few years,” Diouri said. “We have tried to bring films that would not otherwise be seen, and this has led to very interesting discussions and conversations.”
The six films showcased (Tangerine, Fourth Man Out, Drown, Out to Win, Liz in September, and In the Grayscale) will compete for the audience award. This year, the festival will present two local films — Let Me Go, a production by the Ringling School of Art and Design and When the Party Ends, produced by Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.
“The programming this year, as in the past, attempts to find a balance in humor, seriousness, defiance, foreign language and documentary,” Diouri said.
Varying in theme, tone and execution (Tangerine was shot entirely on an iPhone), all of the films featured in the Fabulous IFF explore universal truths and examine the human spirit. Exhibiting several genres, each delicately delves into a variety of subjects – the nature of love, the effect of repression on the psyche, acceptance and fluidity.
Selected from the Frameline Film Festival and LGBTQ festivals in Los Angeles, Toronto and Australia, the films have received international critical and audience praise.
The Friday opening night party at M.A.D.E in Sarasota will feature $3 beer, light food and an appearance from celebrity stylist and guest bartender Dylonn Cole, whose tips will be donated to the Harvey Milk Festival (HMF). At the BYOB showing of Fourth Man Out at the USF Sarasota/Manatee campus courtyard, the delicious Ain’t No Thang Food Truck will be on hand, donating a portion of their proceeds to HMF.
According to Diouri, the festival (which attributes much of its success to the support of sponsors) is a pertinent cultural event for the community, now more than ever.
“Now that there is marriage equality, we can approach the very important subject of acceptance on a personal level. [There’s] a move beyond the legality toward humanity and a step away from harsh rhetoric,” Diouri said. “Film has a brilliant way of showing the way, of telling stories. We, as a society, need that medium.”
Sept. 18-20, Burns Court Cinemas, 506 Burns Lane, Sarasota 34236, Sept. 19, USF Sarasota/Manatee Campus, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 34243. Tickets available at fabulousiff.com, squareup.com/market/broken-rules-productions and at Burns Court Cinemas the day of, $10 opening and closing nights, $8.50 on Saturday.