TIGLFF opens strong with Gun Hill Road

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  • Harmony Santana in 'Gun Hill Road.'

The 22nd Tampa International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival kicks off tonight at Tampa Theatre with one of its strongest opening-night films in years, Gun Hill Road.

A finalist for the Sundance 2011 Jury Award, Gun Hill Road is a compelling portrait of a Latino teenager in the Bronx whose explorations of his sexuality enrage his father, who has just been released from prison. The storyline may sound predictable, but deeply felt performances by Harmony Santana, Esai Morales and Judy Reyes — and the textured writing and direction of debut filmmaker Rashaad Ernesto Green — make this an involving, ultimately very moving film.

The screening begins tonight, Thurs. Oct. 6, at 7:45 p.m. at Tampa Theatre. Harmony Santana will be on hand for a Q&A.

Added bonus: Tonight is also the debut of TIGLFF's 2011 festival trailer, in which a number of local would-be thespians will make big-screen debuts delivering their favorite movie lines. These brave souls (who bid for the chance to appear in the trailer) include Mindy Solomon as Blanche DuBois, Jim Harper as Auntie Mame and Vera Charles, and Bobby Poth channeling Bette Davis in All About Eve. (Guess what line he's doing.) I'm in the trailer, too — as Faye Dunaway's slap-happy Evelyn Mulwray in Chinatown. To quote another famous movie line, when you talk about this — and you will — be kind.

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