More than 40 films selected for this year’s program

The 19th annual edition of the MiFo LGBT Film Festival gets kicked off on Friday, April 21 and continues for until Sunday, April 30. Films will be shown at Regal Cinemas South Beach (1120 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach) and at The Scottish Rite Temple (471 NW 3rd Street, Miami). This year, the program includes films from around the world including many that are making their premiere in the US.
In an age when studios are practically ignoring LGBT subject lines, yet films like “Moonlight” are winning Academy Awards for Best Picture, festivals like MiFo are an important vehicle to get attention for films that never would see nationwide release otherwise.
From short films and documentaries to full length feature films, there is something for everyone at MiFo. In this week’s feature, we have highlighted several of the films but for the full program visit MiFoFilm.com. You can also find info there on how to buy tickets, venue information and much more. Let’s go out to the movies. Stay tuned to Hotspots, next week we will highlight films from the second week of MiFo’s programing.
Opening Film

Handsome Devil

The Scottish Rite Temple- Friday, April 21 at 8 p.m.

Dyed hair, subversive rock music loving Ned attends a boarding school where everything is all about rugby. Initially happy living in his dorm alone and content with drawing as little attention to himself as possible, Ned’s world is rocked when new kid and rugby star Connor gets assigned to his room. Both Ned and Connor form an unlikely friendship which forces them to reckon with questions of loyalty and self-interest. “Handsome Devil” is an Irish film from 2016 and is directed by John Butler. At this showing, MiFo will honor Angel Award recipients Carol Coombes and Jaie Laplante.

Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America

Regal Cinemas South Beach- Saturday, April 22 at 2:30 p.m.

Director Tiffany Rhynard presents her harrowing tale of Moises Serrano, an undocumented gay man who grew up in North Carolina and fell in love with this country. This film follows Moises as he fights for the American Dream. An ideal character for challenging stereotypes about undocumented immigrants and same- sex couples, Moises’ story relates directly to the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. and LGBTQ individuals fighting for equality and civil rights. Moises Serrano and Director Tiffany Rhynard are expected to be on hand for the screening and will participate in a Q & A after the film.

A Change of Heart

Regal Cinemas South Beach- Saturday, April 22 at 4:45 p.m.

This full length feature film, which stars Jim Belushi was made in Miami. The film follows Hank who is frustrated with the cards life has dealt him and whose circumstances have driven him to fear diversity, yet his Central Florida town is adhering less and less to the white, straight profile with which he’s comfortable. After Hank suffers a heart attack, he needs a heart transplant and you will never guess whose heart he gets- a Puerto Rican Drag Queen. “A Change of Heart” conveys the sort of story America needs right now and it reminds us that even the most hardened among us can learn to embrace difference, accept love, and move on with life. During the presentation of “A Change of Heart,” MiFo will honor Ally Award Winners Gloria and Emilio Estefan.

Something Like Summer

Regal Cinema South Beach- Saturday, April 22 at 7 p.m.

“Something Like Summer” is a musical drama and was the winner of the Best Director prize at Philadelphia’s qFlix Festival . The film is making its premiere in the Southeast US.  It follows Benjamin who is the only gay kid in his high school with the courage to come out of the closet. He puts off his dream of becoming a singer due to the bullies and negative things that he has to put up with on a daily basis. Instead of spending his time pursuing his dreams, he “stalks” Tim who is a new kid in town and is an athlete. “Something Like Summer” follows the course of true love over the span of a dozen years, from awkward adolescence through challenging adulthood, featuring seven original musical numbers and the artwork of a talented young artist.

Santa & Andres (Santa y Andrés)

Regal Cinemas South Beach- Saturday April 22 at 9:15 p.m.

Publicly gay novelist Andrés has been banned by the Cuban government from writing another word. With a political rally coming up, they intend to keep Andrés under close scrutiny in order to prevent him from communicating with the press. Enter Santa, who is sent to Andrés’ countryside home to watch over him for the next three days. Despite their mutual distrust and suspicion, the pair find themselves quietly questioning their allegiances and ultimately coming to understand one another. “Santa & Andres” delivers a thoughtful, relevant rumination on the notions of hatred and tolerance. This film is directed by Carlos Lechuga and runs 105 minutes in Spanish with English subtitles.

Heartstone (Hjartasteinn)

Regal Cinemas South Beach- Sunday April 23 at 4:45 p.m.

This coming of age tale is directed by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson and is in Icelandic with English subtitles. “Heartstone” tells the tale of two youngsters, Thor and Christian, who live the classic story every gay boy has gone through- falling in love with your best friend. It’s gay unrequited love with all the angst you would expect form such a tale. Throughout the summer, the boys experience ups and downs, but when summer ends, and the harsh nature of Iceland takes back its rights, it’s time to leave the playground and face adulthood. The film won Best GLBT Film at Queer Lion Film Festival, Gold Q Award at Venice Film Festival and The Audience Award  for Best Film at Chicago International Film Festival.

“Summertime” (“L’estate Addosso”)

Regal Cinemas South Beach- Sunday, April 23 at 7 p.m.

This Italian film is directed by Gabriele Muccino and is in Italian with English subtitles. It follows 18-year-old Marco who, during the summer of high school final exams, unexpectedly ends up on a road trip to San Francisco with Mary, a classmate nicknamed ‘the nun. When in California, the two of them will be guests of Matt and Paul, a young gay couple. Together they face problems and prejudices but live an experience that will forever change their lives. Filled with humor and music and just a little pathos “Summertime” is a breath of fresh air, and as Jorge Richa, Chair of the MiFo Screening Committee put it: “[This film is] A fun journey of self-discovery and growth. The travels experienced by the main character make you feel young again.”

Boys in the Trees

Regal Cinemas South Beach- Sunday, April 23 at 9:15 p.m.

It’s Halloween 1997 – the last night of high school for Corey, Jango and the rest of their skater gang. When Corey encounters Jonah, a former childhood friend now victimized by Jango’s cruel streak, Corey takes pity on him and agrees to walk him home for old time’s sake. What starts off as a normal walk through empty suburban streets descends into something darker and magical. On the night of the grave’s delight, even the most buried truths will surface. This feature film from Australia is directed by Nicolas Verso and runs 112 minutes.

Man, Oh Man (Men’s Shorts)

Regal Cinemas South Beach- Monday, April 24 at 9 p.m.

These eight films feature something for everyone. From comedy to drama to expanding your knowledge, the men’s shorts program “Man, Oh Man” will definitely inspire, entertain and educate you. Featuring films from Brazil, Canada, Spain, Sweden, and The U.S., the entire series will last about 90 minutes.

For the complete program, to view trailers, or to purchase tickets, visit MiFoFilm.com.

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Ian Maloney
Ian Maloney is from Delmar, DE. He lives in Miami Beach with his husband Alan and their dog Goldie. He loves learning languages, history, and writing about politics. He holds a Master's Degree from Wilmington University and a Bachelor's from the University of Delaware.