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Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival presents its highlights

The celebrated 8th Annual Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, presented by Sundance Channel and Avis Rent-a-Car has unveiled the line-up of the best gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender films that will be featured during the 10 day event from April 21 to April 30. The screenings will take place at Regal Cinemas South Beach, Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, Colony Theatre and the Gateway Cinemas (located in Fort Lauderdale). The announcement was made today by Co-Directors of the Festival, Carol Coombes and Jaie Laplante.

The 10-day festival will kick-off on Friday, April 21st with the Opening Night Gala presentation and East Coast Premiere of Manuel Gòmez Pereira’s Reinas (Queens) at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami, followed by a spectacular party presented by Karu&Y Restaurant at The Space Miami (Director Manuel Gòmez Periera will attend the screening to discuss the film with the audience)

On Wednesday April 26th, the Festival will present the Centerpiece Gala and Florida Premiere screening of Whole New Thing by Amnon Buchbinder at the Colony Theater in South Beach, followed by a spectacular after party at the Hotel Nash which will be transformed into a tour through multi-media artist’s work, where you will be guided by Miami Beach Cinematheque down the darkened hallways and through the private quarters of the hotel.

(Writer/Director Amnon Buchbinder will attend the screening to discuss the film with the audience)

The Festival closes on Sunday April 30th with the Closing Night Gala and Florida Premiere screening of Todd Stephens’ hysterical comedy Another Gay Movie featuring a star studded cast including Graham Norton and Scott Thompson at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts followed by an exciting party at the historic Alfred I. Dupont Building. (Director Todd Stephens and actor Darryl Stephens will attend the screening to discuss the film with the audience)

This year’s festival will also pay tribute to the acclaimed independent film distributor TLA Entertainment Group, who will be presented with a special MGLFF Tribute prior to the screening of “20 Centimeters” on Saturday, April 22, 7:00pm at the Colony Theater. TLA Releasing will be celebrating their 25th Anniversary in the industry and has released such audience favorites as “Latter Days,” “The Fluffer,” “Bulgarian Lovers” and “Bear Cub.” (Attending the tribute will be TLA President Raymond Murray and partners Patrick Murray, Eric Moore, Claire Brown Kohler and Richard Wolff)

The HBO Career Achievement Award is presented this year to prolific French director François Ozon, A one man industry in his native country; he has delivered 8 features in a 7-year period. While it would be incorrect to assume that Ozon only confines himself to subject matter which contain gay themes, the recurrence of lesbian and gay storylines in his narratives coupled with the director’s self-proclaimed gay sexuality, make his status in French filmmaking fairly unusual, and therefore, worthy of our attention and recognition. The MGLFF is delighted to honor François Ozon. (The award will be presented on his behalf to actor Melvil Poupaud prior to the US premiere of “Time to Leave” on Friday April 28th at 7:30pm at the Regal Cinema South Beach.)

"We are entering our 8th annual Festival season with a record number of members” says Festival co-director Jaie Laplante. “Clearly, the excitement from last year’s hugely successful event and our wonderful Monthly Screening Series has attracted the attention of new audiences who are obviously very enthusiastic about our programming. Together with the backing of our government cultural partners, several community foundations and our presenting sponsors Avis Rent-a-Car and Sundance Channel, with our opening night gala presented by Karu&Y, we are in a very strong position to build upon MGLFF's recent growth in national prominence among gay and lesbian film festivals in the United States."

Returning this year as presenting sponsor is Sundance Channel joined by new presenting sponsor Avis Rent-a-Car.

"The Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival has secured a reputation as a launching pad for new GLBT content driven titles in the United States” says Festival co-director Carol Coombes. “Once again we are pleased to deliver an eclectic program line-up spread across 10 exciting days. Our 2006 theme of Local Heroes honors those who have made a difference within their communities as is evident in a number of important documentaries including small town gay bar, Zero Degrees of Separation and Be Real. With nearly 100 incoming guests already confirmed we are thrilled to unveil our 8th Annual event".

The breadth and diversity of films this year also include the World Premieres of “Be Real”, “Laughing Matters…More!” and “Sun Kissed” as well as the shorts “The Black Box: A Personal Essay Documentary,” “Cosa Bella,” “Guess Who I Saw Today” and “Surf Gang.”

The Festival is also focused on celebrating the best of Queer International Shorts; with six specific programs including France, Spain, Argentina, the Philippines and the best of home-grown talent in What Girls Like and What Boys Want. Also featured this year are the shorts programs “Cries of Freedom: Women of Color, Women of Change,” “Life Comes Calling,” “Vidas En Transito” and the 7th Annual PlanetOut Short Movie Awards.

The Festival commences on Friday, April 21st at the Gusman Center for Performing Arts with its Opening Night Gala screening of Reinas (Queens), by Manuel Gòmez Pereira, starring Spanish divas Carmen Maura, Marisa Peredas and Veronique Forqùe. The hilarious, touching and contemporary ensemble comedy finds five headstrong mothers coping with the personal family conflicts surrounding the impending marriages of their gay sons. As these five very different women deal with their own desires, prejudices and history they attempt to survive the weekend as sex, anger, bigotry and love hilariously clash in this ultimate wedding film about the strength of love and the importance of family.

On Wednesday, April 26th, at the Colony Theater, the Festival will present the Centerpiece Gala screening of Whole New Thing by director Amnon Buchbinder. This coming of age story about a precocious young teenager is a beguiling and provocative comedy about the discovery of sex at the edge of puberty. The film vividly brings to life the rites of passage of youth and middle age.

On Sunday, May 2nd, at the Gusman Center for Performing Arts, the Festival will host the Closing Night Gala screening of Another Gay Movie, by director Todd Stephens. An uproarious comedy about a teenage virgin dying to have sex while attending high school with his three friends all out-loud and proud. What follows is a raunchy ride on the bumpy road to love while spoofing famous gay movies and the gay lifestyle to hilarious results.

The 7th Annual PlanetOut Short Movie Awards, judged by industry professionals in the cities of Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco is sponsored by PlanetOut and presented by MGLFF and PlanetOut, honoring the best in Queer short films featuring Documentary, Experimental, Animation, Drama, and Comedy categories. The PlanetOut Short Movie Award Winners 2006 will be screened on April 23rd at the Regal Cinema South Beach.

This year’s festival also features an exciting lineup of thought provoking panels including; Beyond Brokeback Mountain (Sunday, April 30th at 1:00pm, Regal Cinema South Beach) which features a panel of film professionals talking about the impact of the hit film on the next wave of gay & lesbian film. Where is queer film going next? B. Ruby Rich (Professor and film scholar) is tentatively scheduled to moderate. Confirmed panelists include Lisa Ades & Lesli Klainberg (Directors Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema), Alonso Duralde (Advocate Arts and Entertainment Editor and presenter of the clip show 101 Must See Movies for Gay Men), Marcus Hu (Co-President, Strand Releasing) and Todd Stephens (Director of MGLFF Closing Gala Another Gay Movie).


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