The 9th Annual Fort Lauderdale edition of the OUTshine Film Festival will kick off on the evening of October 6th with an Opening Night Film, red carpet event, and Opening Night party at NSU Art Museum.

As part of OUTshine’s Opening Night events, they’ll be awarding Tommy Dorfman the Lavender Award for outstanding contributions to LGBTQ film. Tommy plays the role of Ryan Shaver in Netflix’s knockout hit, “13 Reasons Why”, which has quickly become a knockout hit for the network and has a played a major role in spotlighting the issues of bullying in the age of social media.

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In Dorfman’s short time on camera, he’s been vocal about the importance of positive LGBTQIA portrayals in film. “LGBTQIA inclusion in media, especially TV and film, is not just important, it’s essential. It would be reductive and unrealistic to exclude us from the narrative. We exist, and our truthful portrayals in TV and film bring life to the stories being told, as well as educate, inspire, and validate viewers.”

And one of the areas that the show “13 Reasons Why” really shines is in how it portrays characters like Ryan Shaver, for whom being a gay teenager is just part of who he is – not the entirety of his character. “So many shows and movies that are being made today are all about coming out, which is an important story to tell and has been told, so to have the opportunity to play a character that is just comfortable with himself and advocates for gay people…we owe that to Bryan [Yorkey, who developed the story for Netflix] and the rest of the writers.”

OUTshine’s star-studded opening night event will start with the screening of “Close Knit” – a Japanese film that won the “Teddy Jury Award” and the “Panorama Audience Award” at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year.

OUTshine Film Festival’s Opening Night kicks off at 8pm at the NSU Art Museum Theatre in downtown Fort Lauderdale, followed by a celebrity studded red carpet and gala.

Full list of film screenings below:

The OUTshine LGBT Film Festival is a bi-annual film festival with a mission to inspire, entertain, and educate the public and encourage a sense of community through international and culturally diverse film, video and other media that offer historical and contemporary perspectives on the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.

For more information or to purchase event tickets, go to outshinefilm.com.