A record number of films will be screened at the MiFo LGBT Film Festival Fort Lauderdale, spanning two weeks. In this feature, three films from the first weekend of the festival have been reviewed. We hope you will go out and support the festival and see these movies, as well as many others.

Fourth Man Out

MiFo-Feature-3039_FourthManOutFourth Man Out is the opening night film at the MiFo LGBT Film Festival Fort Lauderdale, and will be screened at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 9 at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale (1 E. Las Olas Blvd.). It comes to Florida after it won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival, where it premiered.

Filmed in Albany, New York and similarly set in upstate New York, this film revolves around the lives of four blue-collar friends (Adam, Chris, Ortu and Nick) who do everything “bros” do — drink a lot of beer, talk about women, share fart jokes, and so on. However, none of them knows the secret Adam (Evan Todd) has been carrying around. On his 24th birthday, Adam tells his friends that he’s gay. Unsurprisingly, none of the guys know what to do, not even Chris (Parker Young), Adam’s best friend.

When Chris is dressed down by a girl he wants to impress about his unfeeling behavior toward Adam and his revelation, Chris gets together with Ortu (Jon Gabrus) and Nick (Chord Overstreet) to try a new approach — one of sensitivity and support, which doesn’t particularly come naturally to any of them. The scene in which the guys take Adam to a gay bar is particularly moving, if not initially awkward.

One of the things that impressed me, as I’m sure it impressed the crowds in Toronto, is the chemistry shared between all four of the lead actors. All of the acting is fluid and the humor is organic…nobody “tries too hard” for a laugh; those laughs are well-earned. I think this feature will impress the crowds in South Florida as well.

Country: USA

Written by Aaron Dancik

Directed by Andrew Nackman

Cast: Evan Todd, Parker Young, Chord Overstreet, Jon Gabrus, Jennifer Damiano, Jordan Lane Price, Alex Rennie, Brooke Dillman, Kate Flannery

 

Carlotta

MiFo-Feature-3039_CarlottaCarlotta will be screened at the Classic Gateway Theatre in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, October 10 at 3 p.m. This film is a dramatization of the real-life story of the Australian cabaret performer turned TV star Carol Byron (stage name “Carlotta”). MiFo Fort Lauderdale plays host to the first-ever North American screening of this film.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation helped fund this film, which takes viewers on Carol’s 40-year journey of self-realization and finally love and acceptance. Growing up in the 1950s, Richard always knew he was different, and so did his mother and stepfather. Both of them prove to be unsupportive, each for a different reason, and Richard flees into the Sydney gay nightlife scene where he will be accepted. Starring in a cabaret show makes Richard realize that he was always destined to be a woman, he begins to transition, calling himself Carol by day and Carlotta at night.

We see very plainly that all Carol wants is for her mother to accept her and love her for who she is, but as a result of having a child at a very young age, Carol’s mother was unprepared to be a proper mother, even apart from coping with her daughter’s sex change (one of the very first to be administered in Australia, in 1972). While her mother’s approval is elusive, Carol finds love with a man who accepts her for who she is — and who she was. Sadly, Carol learns the hard way that if you truly love someone, sometimes you have to let go. This bittersweet film chronicles Carol’s real-life tragedies and triumphs as she lives life on her own terms.

Country: Australia

Written by David Hannam

Directed by Samantha Lang

Cast: Jessica Marais as Carol/Carlotta, Anita Hegh, Eamon Farren, Socratis Otto, Ryan Johnson

 

Steel

MiFo-Feature-3039_SteelSteel will be screened at the Classic Gateway Theatre in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, October 11 at 9:45 p.m. A Canadian production filmed on location in Winnipeg, Manitoba, this film will make its United States debut at MiFo Fort Lauderdale.

Driven, determined and detached from his own feelings, the irresistibly sexy TV journalist Daniel Krueger (Chad Connell) is the host of a very popular celebrity-driven pop culture show, which enjoys high ratings and lots of success. On the inside, however, Daniel is dealing with so much inner torment, and he is afraid to deal with an ominous past event that threatens to tear apart his life as he knows it. Hiding away from the world, his producer, Barb (Tamara Gorski), is forced to give his program to a rival, and he can’t get it back until he resolves his emotional issues.

He meets a young nineteen-year-old boy, Alexander (David Cameron), at the bar and the two develop a passionate relationship. Alexander is carefree and happy — emotions Daniel hasn’t felt in a long time. While the two initially clash over their age difference, the audience learns that it’s Daniel’s fear of letting go that is the major roadblock. Once Daniel lets Alexander into his life and into his heart, we learn that Daniel’s parents died in a car accident — scared that he would grow up to be gay, his father insisted on taking him to a doctor. Daniel has to force himself to accept that the car accident was not his fault before he can pick up the pieces of his career. 

Country: Canada

Written by Melissa Kajpust and Sven J. Matten

Directed by Sven J. Matten

Cast: Chad Connell, David Cameron, Tamara Gorski, Mimi Kuzyk 

Check next week’s issue of Hotspots for more MiFo Fort Lauderdale movie reviews!

 

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Mike Halterman
Mike Halterman has been the editor of Hotspots Central since its launch in July 2016. He joined the Hotspots Media Group family as editor of Hotspots' South Florida magazine in June 2013. A former "40 Under 40" honoree in The Advocate magazine, Mike lives in the Tampa Bay area.