'They're human stories.' Amid political turmoil, South Florida LGBTQ+ film festival hits a milestone
The 2023 OUTshine Film Festival begins its 25th anniversary celebration by bringing more than 65 new LGBTQ+-themed movies to Miami this week.
The film festival's milestone comes at a time when a record number of bills targeting LGBTQ rights have been filed in state legislatures nationwide.
In Florida, the Florida Board of Education this week approved a ban on classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades, expanding the law critics call “Don't Say Gay” at the request of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
"There's nothing like film to showcase who we are — to tell the stories of our lives," says Mark Gilbert, OUTshine's Board Chair and Interim Executive Director.
"There are more LGBTQ films today than ever before. More filmmakers are jumping into the arena because they're stories. They're just human stories. They happen to be LGBTQ-Plus. But they're human stories and that's what's important," he says.
OUTshine represents a merger of two separate film festivals: the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, founded in 1998 and the Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, which started in 2008.
Each year, OUTshine holds two major screening events in South Florida: a Miami festival every spring and one in Fort Lauderdale in the fall.
This month's Miami edition will screen at the Silverspot Cinema in downtown Miami. The films will also be available via "OUTshine At Home" — an online streaming option that launched during the COVID-19 pandemic.
IF YOU GO:
The 25th annual OUTshine LGBTQ+
April 20 – April 30
300 SE 3rd St #100
Miami, FL 33131
For a complete schedule and tickets, you can visit OUTshineFilm.com.