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'Cool': The Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is back

Mark Gilbert expects you'll meet a pair of gay best friends at the Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

The first is "G.B.F," the festival's curtain-raiser concerning the hottest fashion accessory among status-seeking teen queens at a high school: the recently "out" comic-book nerd Tanner (Michael J. Willett), and a surefire source of school popularity. The second is the festival itself, your three-day companion to charming, LGBT-centric fare unspooling Oct. 10 through Oct. 13 at the Classic Gateway Theatre and among the local bars and nightclubs staging post-screening afterparties.

"Now that gay is cool, everyone wants to have a gay best friend. This movie is a total spoof of high-school-clique culture," says Gilbert, the festival's chair, of "G.B.F.," the stereotype-skewering comedy screening at 7 p.m. Thursday. "I think we have an incredible lineup this year. It's so diverse, from fun films that will make you laugh to those that cover the gamut of who we are as a South Florida community."

The festival's fifth edition, presented by HBO Latin America, features screenings of 37 feature-length and short films from 10 countries, including 14 South Florida premieres. Here are a few highlights.

"Reaching for the Moon" (5:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12). Brazilian director Bruno Barreto's biopic of lesbian poet Elizabeth Bishop (Miranda Otto), who visits Rio de Janeiro to unclog her writer's block and meets charismatic architect Lota de Macedo Soares. The post-screening gala Mingle in the Moonlight (7:30 p.m., $20), benefiting Aqua Foundation for Women and the festival, includes open bar and hors d'oeuvres at Northern Trust, 1100 E. Las Olas Blvd.

"The Rugby Player" (4:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12). Scott Gracheff's documentary about Miami-raised gay hero Mark Bingham, the athlete who with help from passengers overtook United Airlines Flight 93 from hijackers on Sept. 11. A meet-and-greet (6:30 p.m.) with Gracheff and Bingham's mother, Alice Hoagland, will take place at Sidelines Sports Bar, 2031 Wilton Drive, in Wilton Manors.

"Southern Baptist Sissies" (6:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13). Del Shores' filmed-live stage comedy is about four Texas boys grappling with their homosexuality and the doctrines of the church. They try "praying the gay away," says Gilbert, who considers the film among his favorites. A Sissies Pre-Reception (5-6 p.m.) with actor and producer Emerson Collins will be held at Chill Wine Lounge, 1828 E. Sunrise Blvd.

“Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth” (7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13). Pratibha Parmar’s portrait of the poet, human rights activist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Color Purple” features interviews with Danny Glover, Quincy Jones, Yoko Ono, Steven Spielberg and Gloria Steinem. The Closing Finale Party (9-11 p.m.) will take place at Alexan Solmar, 408 NE Sixth St.

The Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Film Festival will begin Thursday, Oct. 10, and wrap Sunday, Oct. 13, at the Classic Gateway Theatre, 1820 E. Sunrise Blvd. Tickets cost $7-$12 for regular screenings, $15-$30 for opening- and closing-night films plus parties. Call 305-751-6305 or go to

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