Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Turns 16, 20 Countries are Coming to the Party

Celebrate the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival's Sweet 16 starting Friday, May 2, with its opening night feature, The Way He Looks, at the Colony Theatre in South Beach.

MGLFF is one of the largest LGBT film festivals around, and this year's line up proves it. Featuring 64 films from around the world, MGLFF 2014 is kicking off film festival season in a big way.

Presented by HBO, HBO Latino, and Miami-Dade County, the festival is known for presenting world, North America, and United States premieres. This year will be no different. Expect an eclectic round up of short films and feature-length movies from 20 different countries.

Interim executive director Mark Gilbert says, "We've got filmmakers and actors flying in from around the world to meet our audiences and talk about their craft. Our parties will be over-the-top affairs as only Miami knows how to throw a party. Sixteen is going to be stellar for the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival."

See also: Five Simple Suggestions For Surviving Miami Beach Gay Pride

This year's "How Sweet It Is" theme is a nod to both the festival turning 16 as well as the legendary Jackie Gleason, who lived in Miami and broadcast his titular variety show from Miami Beach.

Films either feature lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender characters, or are made by LGBT filmmakers. This year's program will feature four world premieres, one international premiere, two North American premieres, two U.S. premieres, three East Coast premieres, and several Southeast premieres.

The Way He Looks, which kicks off the festival at 8 p.m., is based on the award-winning short film, "I Don't Want To Go Back Alone." Directed by Daniel Ribeiro, the story revolves around a blind teenager trying to gain independence from his overly protective mother. The Portuguese film will be played in its original tongue with English subtitles.

MGLFF's closing night feature, playing at the Colony on Saturday, May 10, at 8 p.m., is Cupcakes (Bananot), directed by noted filmmaker Eytan Fox (Walk on Water, Yossi & Jagger). The film, in English, French, and Hebrew, with English subtitles, centers around a group of friends who somehow accidentally enter a "Eurovision-style musical contest." Becoming unexpected sensations, they then have to make their way through the shady world of pop music as hijinks ensue.

In between the opening and closing films, there are plenty of shorts, comedies, dramas, and documentaries to check out, playing everywhere from O Cinema to the Miami Beach Cinematheque. Plus the aforementioned plethora of parties, from mixers, to dance parties, to filmmaker meet and greets, to the Mother's Day Award Brunch at the Biltmore Hotel on Sunday, May 11, the Festival's last day.

Members can purchase tickets in advance now; ticket sales for nonmembers will be available beginning Friday, April 18. Tickets cost between $7 and $12 and can be purchased online at mglff.com or via phone between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. by calling 305-751-6305.

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