Fabulous Festival Celebrates All Meanings of Independence



As Magda Diouri set out to program the Fabulous Independent Film Festival, she didn’t have a theme in mind, but somehow one formed. Each movie, whether about youths in the self-discovery phase or parents seeking out a way to move forward in life, touched on the topic of finding oneself—an appropriate theme for a festival that has always celebrated independence not just in the film sense of the word but in the individual sense as well.

“In film, it’s always good to find characters who find themselves and come to terms with who they are,” says Diouri. “That’s good for any audience.”

Diouri six years ago founded FIFF, an offshoot of the Sarasota Film Society’s Gay and Lesbian Film Festival of yesteryear. The LGBT-themed festival, scheduled this year from September 30 through October 2, released its full program this week. The festival will open with a screening of Closet Monster, starring True Crime’s Connor Jessup, the story of a gay teenager guided by spirit animal Buffy the hamster, voiced by Isabella Rossellini. The movie won Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival.

There will also be a special beachfront screening of Real Boy, a documentary about a transgender adolescent trying to make it in the music world. An exact location for the screening has yet to be announced. Other films will screen at Burns Court Cinema. An Opening Night Party will be held September 30 at Made Restaurant, starting at 10pm.

Diouri also notes that most screenings are priced at just $8.50 a ticket (the Opening Night film costs $10 a ticket, thought the beach screening will be free), and that this festival remains one of the most economic events in the country, something she credits to good relations with sponsors and distributors.

And while the political causes promoted by LGBT Americans have made strides forward in recent years, Diouri says the film niche remains an important one to spotlight. “There is still violence against the LGBT community,” she notes. “There are still children being kicked out of homes because parents don’t know how to deal with it. There are still people who don’t understand that they don’t need to understand, just to accept.”

Publicity Still: Closet Monster

See full line-up of FIFF 2016 films at SRQ Backlot

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