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OUTSHINE FILM FESTIVAL

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ISSUE #20 | 09.26.19 DISPLAY UNTIL 10.09.19

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According to Wire Magazine film critic Alyn Darnay, Downton Abbey is simply a great film experience that you must see on the big screen, or you'll miss the sweep of its grandeur.

The 11th edition OUTshine Film Festival Fort Lauderdale returns October 10-20, and we interview Executive Director Victor Gimenez about what film aficionados can look forward to.

16. COVER STORY: OUTSHINE FILM FESTIVAL

SPOTLIGHT FILMS

We handpicked 22 of the best films that will be showcased at this year's OUTshine Film Festival Fort Lauderdale edition.

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WIREMAG.COM: FLIX: HUSTLERS

Alyn Darnay reviews Hustlers, the new film starring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo and Cardi B.

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PUBLISHER'S CORNER LET'S ENJOY THE OUTSHINE FILM FESTIVAL FORT LAUDERDALE EDITION! I love films, so I look forward to this time of the year when I can attend the OUTshine Film Festival Fort Lauderdale Edition, Miami Film Festival GEMS and Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. Nothing compares to the experience of watching exceptional films on the silver screen. This week, we bring you our annual issue previewing the 11th edition of the OUTshine Film Festival Fort Lauderdale taking place October 10-20. As a proud sponsor of the Festival and supporter of queer cinema, I interview Executive Director Victor Gimenez about what film aficionados can look forward to this year. In addition, we spotlight 22 of the best films from this year's OUTshine Film Festival in Fort Lauderdale. The Festival also provides us with the opportunity to attend great events with other members of our LGBTQ community. I have really enjoyed attending the Festival events in year's past and will do so again this year. Since cinema is one of the themes of this issue, we include two Flix movie columns by Wire Magazine film critic Alyn Darnay. According to Alyn, Downton Abbey is simply a great film experience that you must see on the big screen, or you'll miss the sweep of its grandeur. Alyn also explains why Judy is a must see for Renée Zellweger's performance, and states that he is sure this film will earn her an Oscar nomination. I am looking forward to seeing both of these films and appreciate Alyn's opinions about them. In this issue, we also bring you another installment of our very popular Wire Magazine Hot Models Calendar for the months of October, November and December with three very sexy guys photographed by Photo Studio Miami. Their pics will certainly warm up your autumn! In closing, I want to share with you that I can't help but feel that enough is enough, and that Donald Trump's relentless lying has finally caught up to him – as the House of Representatives launches an impeachment inquiry. When I was a cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy our military code of conduct did not tolerate lies. Lying was reason for expulsion. So I consider it reasonable to expect that the Commander in Chief of the most powerful nation and military in the world tell the truth, be honorable in conducting the duties of President of the United States, and not abuse his power against his political opponents and our democratic principles. We have all witnessed Donald Trump repeatedly lie while in office and attempt to cover up his peccadilloes and abuses of power, so history dictates that the impeachment which applied to Bill Clinton for lying and obstructing justice can certainly apply to Donald Trump. The outcome remains to be seen...

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FLIX

By Alyn Darnay

DOWNTON ABBEY

ownton Abbey is sumptuous and stylish in a way that touches your heart and moves your soul. It's rather like a cherished overcoat you snuggle into in winter that's at once familiar, comfortable and warm. Of all the British period pieces about upper class families living in the 1920s that I've seen over the years, this one is by far the best. With a meticulous eye to detail, at every level, and what appears to be a deep understanding of the morality, politics and class structure of the times, creator/ writer Julian Fellows has delivered a very satisfying addition to the Crawley family saga. Although Downton Abbey was singularly the most successful series ever aired on PBS, I have to admit that I had never seen any episode before viewing this new film. It made absolutely no difference. I slid easily into the story, was introduced to the characters without any confusion and followed the plot with joyous anticipation. You will too.

DIRECTED BY:

MICHAEL ENGLER

WRITTEN BY:

JULIAN FELLOWS

CAST:

MAGGIE SMITH MICHELLE DOCKERY HUGH BONNEVILLE JOANNE FROGGATT ELIZABETH MCGOVERN JIM CARTER ALLEN LEECH IMELDA STAUNTON MATTHEW GOODE TUPPENCE MIDDLETON ROB JAMES-COLLIER

the surrounding countryside. The anticipation of the coming visit moves the entire aristocratic family and their large staff of household servants into full regal preparation, proudly sprucing up everything on and about the property to show how wonderful it is. However, when the royal staff arrives, they take complete control of everything involving the visit. Caught off guard by their arrogance, the Downton staff tries to figure out how to take back control. While this is going on, the family finds itself dealing with their own problems; scandal, line of succession, inheritance, finances and intrigue. All in all, it's a wonderful Edwardian drama, beautifully acted and set against a background of perfect period recreation. Since in every way this is a true acting ensemble piece, I can't pick out one performance I liked above another; they are all wonderful.

The costumes, set design, set decoration, locations and mechanized machines are all spot on and a joy to observe. AdditionHere's the storyline… ally, the cinematography by Ben Smithard is breathtaking and The year is 1927. A letter has finds its perfect match in John been sent from Buckingham Pal- Lunn's exquisite musical score. ace to Downton Abbey, the Yorkshire country estate owned by The My take… Downton Abbey is simEarl of Grantham and his family. ply a great film experience. See it To the surprise, honor and appre- on the big screen or you'll miss the hension of everyone at Downton, sweep of its grandeur. By the way, the letter heralds the imminent I'm now binge watching the whole visit of King George and Queen series, which is free on Amazon Mary, who plan to spend a night Prime. there while on their Royal tour of Downton Abbey Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5) Rated: PG

(for thematic elements, some suggestive material and language)

Running Time: 2 hours and 3 minutes

Alyn Darnay is a film critic; feedback is encouraged at adarnay@wiremag.com. 8 WIREMAG.COM #20 2019


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FLIX

By Alyn Darnay

JUDY

went to see the new biopic Judy fully expecting to watch Renée Zellweger in performance, but she never showed up. That was ok though, because Judy Garland was there on the screen filling in for her, and was she ever good. Playing a real life person is the hardest challenge facing any actor, especially if that person is well known and beloved by millions of adoring fans. Most performers trying to do this wind up creating characters that are just weak imitations of their subject. They find and use some of their mannerisms, throw on a style of make-up that helps them look similar, dress as they did, and attempt to vocally and/or physically bring as much of the person to the story as they can. A very few (Brando, Dean, Streep, etc.) have the ability to really drop their own personas and actually become who they are portraying.

DIRECTED BY:

CAST:

WRITTEN BY:

RENÉE ZELLWEGER MICHAEL GAMBON DARCI SHAW JESSIE BUCKLEY RUFUS SEWELL RICHARD CORDERY FINN WITTROCK

RUPERT GOOLD TOM EDGE

Judy Rating: 3 Stars (out of 5) Rated: PG-13

(for substance abuse, thematic content, some strong language and smoking)

Running Time: 1hour and 58 minutes

I've seen several theatrical productions about Judy Garland; my friend, actress Lee Marlow has a great one, but Renée Zellweger's interpretation of Garland enduring the slings and arrows of her last year on Earth goes way beyond anything that's ever preceded it. Her two-year creative journey into the skin and soul of this adored performer has brought her to a performance level so real, so compelling and so tragic, it becomes a heartbreaking tour de force exploration into the deeply troubled star's life at its lowest possible point. Here's the storyline… The film opens with young Judy (Shaw) standing on the yellow brick road being totally controlled by studio head Louis B. Mayer (Cordery). He sets her schedule, restricts her diet, and has her take drugs for energy and to sleep.

The film then jumps to 1968, thirty years since she rose to stardom in the Wizard Of Oz. Forty-sevenyear-old Judy (Zellweger) is broke and desperate, going from one low paying appearance to another with her children in tow. Once her apartment is taken away, her only option to survive is to take an offered fiveweek sold out series of performances in London at the famous "Talk Of The Town Nightclub." So, parking her children with their father, her ex-husband Sidney Luft (Sewell), off she goes to England to perform. She knows her voice is no longer as strong as it was, she is alone, an alcoholic, anxiety ridden, addicted to drugs, and suffering from depression and stage fright, yet she still finds the strength to go on. Along the way she manages to fall in love and marry her fifth husband, musician Mickey Deans (Wittrock), who is attempting to help Judy overcome her difficulties. If you're a stickler for historical accuracy in the story, you won't find a lot of it here. What you will find is a performance that rises above the story, Zellweger's beautiful voice singing Garland's songs with remarkable pizzazz, a rollercoaster of emotions tugging at you throughout the film, and a well-acted, well filmed movie you'll not soon forget. What you won't find here is a joyous uplifting movie that'll have you singing "Over The Rainbow" as you exit the theater. My take… Judy is a must see for Zellweger's performance, which I'm sure will earn her an Oscar nomination. I only wish the film was as good as she is. Unfortunately, it's not.

Alyn Darnay is a film critic; feedback is encouraged at adarnay@wiremag.com. 10 WIREMAG.COM #20 2019


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OUTSHINE FILM FESTIVAL FORT LAUDERDALE EDITION 11 YEARS FEATURING LGBTQ FILMS FOR OUR COMMUNITY

UTshine Film Festival Fort Lauderdale returns for its 11th edition October 10-20. What began in 1998 as the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, and in 2008 as the Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, have merged to become the critically and internationally acclaimed OUTshine Film Festival with two editions – Miami and Fort Lauderdale. The Festival is an ideal platform for talented filmmakers and actors to tell stories about LGBTQ history, and our lives and experiences. In the era of Trump and re-emerging discrimination, LGBTQ silver screen representations are more important than ever, so it's critical to have a festival dedicated to the lives and struggles of our community. OUTshine allows younger generations to witness and understand the struggles endured by many LGBTQ people in the fight for full equality. The Festival also provides a powerful platform for younger generations to share their unique experiences. Furthermore, OUTshine is a great place to spend quality time with friends and socialize with other gay people and allies who share our appreciation for queer films. 12 WIREMAG.COM #20 2019

PHOTO CREDIT: © DEPOSITPHOTOS.COM | MAXXYUSTAS

By Rafa Carvajal

This time around, OUTshine Film Festival Fort Lauderdale's diverse program brings us 33 award-winning features and debuts, in addition to 18 shorts from 13 countries. The Festival opens at the AutoNation IMAX in the Museum of Discovery & Science with the southeast premiere of Adam, a gay, romantic comedy by Rhys Ernst. The film follows the opening night party at Stache, Fort Lauderdale's premier cocktail lounge, nightclub and concert hall. Other fun events to attend will include the centerpiece party, and the closing night party and awards ceremony. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit outshinefilm.com. We sat down with OUTshine Film Festival Executive Director Victor Gimenez to preview what film aficionados can look forward to during this year's 11th OUTshine Fort Lauderdale edition. Rafa Carvajal: Tell our readers about the main highlights of the 2019 OUTshine Film Festival Fort Lauderdale edition. Victor M. Gimenez: The biggest news is that our opening night film will be at the AutoNation IMAX in the Museum of Discovery & Science. Also, we are very proud of our opening night film Adam – a dramedy about a cisgender male teenager who is confused for a transmale as he stumbles through his lesbian sister's LGBTQ world. This is a Sundance title with a lot of good reviews from people who have watched it, and complaints from those who have not. The story is told very thoughtfully by its director Rhys Ernst.


PHOTO PROVIDED BY OUTSHINE FILM FESTIVAL

RC: What films are your personal favorites and why did you like them so much? VMG: All of our gala spots are incredible films and some of my favorites. The opening night film Adam is my pick for the Festival. The centerpiece film, Defiant Souls, is set in 19th century Cuba and shows you a side and history of Cuba you never see. Closing night's And Then We Danced has one of the most touching dialogue scenes between a gay man and his macho straight brother. Other festival highlights for me are documentaries Queering the Script about LGBTQ+ representation on television and Gay Chorus Deep South – which shows the importance of getting out of our silos and meeting people different from you. And, because I love quirky humor, I am also a big fan of Cubby and Benjamin. RC: What are you looking forward to the most about OUTshine Fort Lauderdale this year? VMG: Same thing I look forward to every year – the people. The patrons who support us, the filmmakers and talent who come, and the new people I meet during the Festival. One of the main points of the Festival is representation matters. By having an avenue for our stories to be shared and seen, we are affecting the lives of people who may believe they are alone. RC: Will any celebrities be in attendance? VMG: Yes, we will have star Nicholas Alexander for opening night. We will also have filmmaker and star of Cubby, Mark Blane. From the centerpiece film, Mario Guerra is coming from Cuba. There will also be other filmmakers and stars in attendance.

PHOTO CREDIT: © DEPOSITPHOTOS.COM | MAXXYUSTAS

RC: Why is OUTshine so important for our community and LGBTQ filmmaking in general? VMG: I'm reminded of a story of a previous board member saying that when he attended FSU, he would drive down for one of the weekends of the festival in order to see LGBTQ stories – to see someone like him and a story similar to his on the big screen. Representation matters. The Festival shows we exist and that our stories matter. It also shows the importance of coming together to witness these stories and be a part of the larger community. Isn't it more fun to learn our history, be inspired by a journey, laugh at a story with others at the Festival than by yourself at home? OUTshine is important to the community because it allows you the chance after watching a film that made you think, to talk about it with an old or new friend who watched it with you, or encourage you to become involved in a cause you discovered at the Festival. RC: Is there anything else you'd like to share with Wire Magazine readers? VMG: If you haven't been to the Festival, come. If you've been to the Festival, become a member. If you are a member, increase your support. Your patronage is what will allow us to shine.

#20 2019 WIREMAG.COM 13


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SPOTLIGHT FILMS:

22 OF THE BEST FILMS AT THE 2019 OUTSHINE FILM FESTIVAL FORT LAUDERDALE EDITION Photos and film synopses provided by OUTshine Film Festival

ADAM

BENJAMIN

It's 2006 and awkward, self-conscious Adam Freeman has just finished his junior year of high school. His cool older sister Casey (Margaret Qualley) suggests he visit her in New York for the summer. Casey has enthusiastically embraced life amidst Brooklyn's young LGBTQ+ community and invites Adam to tag along with her to queer bars, marriage equality rallies and other happenings. When Adam falls at first sight for Gillian, a smart, beautiful young woman in this new crowd, she mistakenly assumes he is trans. Flummoxed and enamored, he haplessly goes along with her assumption, resulting in an increasingly complex comedy – and tragedy – of errors he's ill-equipped to navigate.

In Simon Amstell's affecting, bittersweet comedy, a rising young filmmaker is thrown into emotional turmoil by a burgeoning romance and the upcoming premiere of his second feature. It's perhaps no surprise that the imminent release of Benjamin's sophomore feature plunges him into an existential crisis. In this heightened state of insecurity, even meeting his potential dream match, young French musician Noah, doesn't soothe Benjamin's fears and self-loathing. And that's before he has to screen his film to the merciless film festival audiences. Benjamin is a low-key, intimate film, exposing the contradictions of a creative culture while perfectly balancing drama and comedy.

(U.S., 2019) Director: Rhys Ernst In English

AND THEN WE DANCED

(Georgia, Sweden, France, 2019) Director: Levan Akin In Georgian, with English subtitles Merab is a talented dancer. His burgeoning romance with stage partner Mary is thrown into disarray by the arrival of the magnetic Irakli, leading to a forbidden sexual attraction that recalls those in Moonlight and God's Own Country. Georgia is a country that only celebrated its first LGBTQ+ pride event seven years ago and its society remains conservative. Because of this, And Then We Danced has stirred controversy and many involved remain anonymous out of fear. Amid the potential for socially explosive fireworks, Swedish director of Georgian heritage Levan Akin has captured something uniquely tender and personal.

16 WIREMAG.COM #20 2019

(UK, 2019) Director: Simon Amstell In English

DEFIANT SOULS

(Cuba, Switzerland, 2018) Director: Fernando Pérez and Laura Cazador In Spanish, with English subtitles Defiant Souls is based on the true story of a woman who, disguised as a man, became the first female surgeon in Latin America. In the early 19th century, Swiss doctor Enrique Faber (Sylvie Testud at her best) travels to Cuba to search for his son, who is said to have been killed in a slave uprising. The local population is jealous of Faber's success as a surgeon and his marriage to Juana, an attractive outsider. Before long, rumors spread regarding his high-pitched voice and his gentle features, and a drama of epic proportions unfolds around one of the most scandalous cases in Cuban colonial history.


EVERYBODY CHANGES

(Panama, 2019) Director: Arturo Montenegro In Spanish, with English subtitles The Ponce Family is the perfect family. They live in the quiet, closeknit mountain town of Bambito, where everyone knows everyone and, unfortunately, everyone knows everyone's business. Frederico is the successful father, Carol the loving mother, and they have three wonderful boys. Despite appearances, perfect might not be the best way to describe the family as Frederico and Carol share a secret: Lizzie, the woman that Frederico has always wanted - no, needed - to be.

FROM ZERO TO I LOVE YOU (U.S., 2019) Director: Doug Spearman In English

Pete Logsdon is just a guy in Philadelphia whose fear of intimacy creates his history of getting involved with married men. His father and his soon-to-be step-mother are on him to settle down and find someone who's actually available. Instead, he finds a man named Jack who is fifteen years into a perfect marriage, has two beautiful children and an enviable wife, and is firmly inside the closet. Could this be the one? Featuring strong chemistry between the leads, director Doug Spearman (Noah's Arc) creates authentic characters in this highly engaging, obstacle-filled romantic comedy.

HAM: A MUSICAL MEMOIR

(U.S., 2019) Director: Andrew Putschoegl In English In this dazzlingly filmed live performance of Sam Harris' award-winning one-man musical, Harris belts out original songs and beloved ballads while playing 11 different roles to tell his own life story - from growing up gay in Oklahoma's Bible Belt to his escape for Los Angeles, where his rendition of "Over the Rainbow" on Star Search led to fame, Broadway, television, platinum records and Carnegie Hall. But after the highs and lows of a life in show business, Sam ultimately learns to ask: when is enough finally enough?

LEONARD SOLOWAY'S BROADWAY (U.S., 2019) Director: Jeff Wolk In English

Through verité documentary footage, humorous storytelling, interviews and archival film material, Leonard Soloway's Broadway captures a Broadway few ever see as told through the eyes of a legendary Broadway producer you've probably never heard of. He lives an unconventional life on his own terms and, over a 70-year span, staged over 100 shows (and counting) which generated history making headlines, over 40 Tony Awards, 62 Tony Nominations, 21 Drama Desk Awards, 29 Drama Desk nominations and 3 Pulitzer Prizes, in addition to launching the careers of famous stars known the world over. #20 2019 WIREMAG.COM 17


SELL BY

(U.S., 2019) Director: Mike Doyle In English Does every relationship have an expiration date? Adam and Marklin are about to find out. Their 5-year relationship has gone from a passionate flame to a medium burn, forcing them to reconcile with each other's shortcomings all while watching their support network crumble around them. But in this mess, hope springs eternal as they all muddle their way through to try and make life work. Featuring Scott Evans, Augustus Prew, Kate Walsh, and Academy Award nominee Patricia Clarkson, Sell By asks the timeless questions… how do you know who's right for you and how do you know when to let go?

SONG LANG

(Vietnam, 2018) Director: Leon Le In Vietnamese, with English subtitles An unlikely bond develops between hunky, brooding and tough debt collector Dung and Linh Phung, a charismatic young opera singer from a struggling Cai-luong troupe (traditional Vietnamese opera). The two meet when Dung comes to forcefully collect a debt from the opera troupe, but when their paths cross again, a friendship – and then more – develops, awakening surprising, tender feelings in both men. Their story, too, soon scales operatic heights. Director Leon Le has delivered a rich drama, a smoldering relationship between two apparent opposites set against the backdrop of a gorgeous, fading art form. Set in 1980s Saigon, Song Lang is a gritty underworld noir hiding a tender, romantic heart. (U.S., 2019) Director: James Sweeney In English

STRAIGHT UP

The path to relationship bliss is often filled with self-doubt, second guessing and other methods of self-sabotage, but Todd takes this to a whole new level. After all, he is questioning his sexuality… not a good start when forging a new relationship. Todd might be gay. Rory might not care. The result is a neat, romantic-comedy drama with a twist; this is a love story without the thrill of copulation. With wit, humor and poignant moments, coupled with some of the best rapid-fire one-liners in a movie, Straight Up is a feature film about intellectual soul mates.

THE PRINCE

(Chile, Argentina, Belgium, 2019) Director: Sebastián Muñoz In Spanish, with English subtitles Chile, 1970. During a night of heavy drinking, Jaime, a lonely 20-year-old young man, stabs his best friend in what seems a crime of passion. Sentenced to prison, he meets The Stallion, an older and respected man in whom he finds protection and from whom he learns about love and loyalty. Behind bars, Jaime becomes known as The Prince. But as their relationship grows stronger, The Stallion faces the violent power struggles within the prison. The Prince is brutal, raw and cold, yet also beautiful, sincere and honest. 18 WIREMAG.COM #20 2019


THE SHINY SHRIMPS

(France, 2019) Director: Maxime Govare and Cédric Le Gallo In French, with English subtitles Matthias, an Olympic swimming champion at the end of his career, makes a homophobic statement on TV. His punishment: coach the Shiny Shrimps, a very flamboyant, very bad and very LGBTQ water polo team. They have only one thing in mind: to qualify for the Gay Games in Croatia where the hottest international LGBTQ athletes will compete. It's the start of a bumpy and joyful ride. If the Bad News Bears were a water polo team, and LGBTQ, they would be The Shiny Shrimps. Faster, higher, stronger… and fabulous.

UNSETTLED: SEEKING REFUGE IN AMERICA

WHERE WE GO FROM HERE

(U.S., 2018) Director: Anthony Meindl In English, French, with English subtitles

(U.S., 2019) Director: Tom Shepard In English

A remarkable look at the untold stories of LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers who have fled intense persecution from their home countries and who are resettling in the U.S. The film follows four new arrivals, each of whom have escaped potential peril in their native countries for being different. They've landed in the purported "gay mecca" of San Francisco, yet even there, building a new life in an adopted nation is a precarious undertaking. As new leadership in America continues to restrict immigrants and drastically cuts the flow of refugees and asylum seekers, Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America humanizes a group about which few people know.

MEN'S SHORTS

In Binghamton, an ESL teacher dealing with domestic abuse finds even greater violence at her school. In Orlando, two lovers drifting apart may be separated by the hate of another. In Paris, friends on an introspective night out are caught up in a brutal madness. Three acts of terror disrupt the lives of ordinary people. Will love win out over violence? With gripping performances and storylines all too familiar and frightening, Where We Go From Here is not an easy film to digest nor is it a question easily answered, but both are ultimately worth the effort.

Black Hat

Director: Sarah Smith, U.S., 15 minutes

Softer

Director: Lovell Holder, U.S., 10 minutes

The Proposal

Director: Gerlando Infuso, France, 15 minutes

Thrive

Director: JamieDi Spirito, UK, 17 minutes

Touchscreen

Director: Arthur Halpern, U.S., 15 minutes

Vacaciones

Director: Juan Olivares, Spain, 21 minutes

Wonder

Director: Javier Molina, U.S., 16 minutes #20 2019 WIREMAG.COM 19


ERSARY TPHHOTEOS BYMJ.AR.NDAVISOR 10TH ANNIV WIREMAG.COM/PHOTOS


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Profile for Wire Media Group

Wire Magazine 20.2019 OUTshine Film Festival Fort Lauderdale Edition  

This week, we bring you our annual issue previewing the 11th edition of the OUTshine Film Festival Fort Lauderdale taking place October 10-2...

Wire Magazine 20.2019 OUTshine Film Festival Fort Lauderdale Edition  

This week, we bring you our annual issue previewing the 11th edition of the OUTshine Film Festival Fort Lauderdale taking place October 10-2...