Fabulous Independent Film Festival Begins Tonight

Film

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY SEP 28, 2018

From Burns Court Cinema to Café in the Park, the Fabulous Independent Film Festival (FIFF) returns this weekend with six feature-length films screening over the course of three days. Beginning tonight with a showing of Transmilitary at Burns Court Cinema, FIFF brings three documentaries and three narratives this year, as well as expanding programming to new locations and producing a new community event for the closing film on Sunday.

Showing tonight at 8pm at Burns Court Cinema, the award-winning documentary Transmilitary follows four transgender individuals in the armed services who decide to stop hiding their identities and come out to Pentagon officials in hopes of changing current policy. It’s a film that Shannon Fortner, FIFF organizer and founder of the Harvey Milk Festival, is particularly excited for, given efforts by the current administration to reinstitute a ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. “It’s a pressing issue that definitely needs to be discussed,” she says.

Saturday brings a majority of the festival’s screenings, with three films showing at Burns Court Cinema throughout the day and an evening film at Café in the Park. Tucked, a heartfelt dramedy about an aging drag queen with a terminal diagnosis who takes a younger queen under his wing, screens at 1:30pm at Burns Court Cinema, followed by Every Act of Life, a documentary about playwright Terrence McNally, at 4pm and then Ideal Home, a comedy starring Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan as a couple surprised by sudden custody of a young child, showing at 6:15pm.

After Ideal Home, the festival crosses town to Payne Park, where a free outdoor showing of Freelancers Anonymous begins at 8:30pm. Presented in partnership with Sarasota Film Festival and Café in the Park, the Payne Park eatery will be open and available to hungry audiences.

The festival closes on Sunday with a special event at a new location for the festival—Sarasota Skybar. With a brunch catered by The Overton, audiences will first view When the Beat Drops, a documentary about the development of the Atlanta-based dance style known as bucking, followed by a panel discussion with Sarasota Contemporary Dance’s Rick Levine and Jason Lee of the Tampa-based nonprofit I’d Rather Be Naked. The locale, formerly Bumpers, also holds a special place for Fortner. “When I was younger, that was my gay nightclub,” she says. “So, for me, it’s exciting to have an event at the venue.”

But as the festival continues to grow, what’s most important to Fortner is that it resonates with the audiences. “We want to know that this is what the community wants and they want to support our efforts,” she says. “For me, it’s about bringing the community together.” And if things go well, Fortner says she can “definitely” see FIFF turn into a weeklong affair in the future.

Pictured: Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan in "Ideal Home."

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