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South Florida's top five film festivals

Outshine Film Festival

Oct. 6-15 (Fort Lauderdale) and April 20-29 (Miami); multiple Fort Lauderdale and Miami venues; 877-766-8156 or MiFoFilm.com. Tickets cost $11-$60 per screening.

After two years of juggling different names — from the MiFo LGBT Film Festival to the Miami and Fort Lauderdale) Gay & Lesbian Film Festival — organizers have settled on Outshine. This year’s schedule of independent, gender-bending films hasn’t been released, but last April’s edition was anchored by a screening of the Emilio Estefan-produced comedy “A Change of Heart,” about a homophobic gringo (Jim Belushi) fearful of diversity. Typically, Outshine’s Fort Lauderdale festival screens many of the same films as its Miami edition.

GEMS 2017 and Miami International Film Festival

Oct. 12-15 at Miami-Dade College’s Tower Theater, 1508 SW Eighth St., Miami (for GEMS); and March 9-18 at multiple Miami and Miami Beach theaters (for MIFF); 844-565-6433 or MiamiFilmFestival.com/GEMS. Ticket prices vary.

The crown jewels of GEMS, Miami Film Festival’s every-fall offshoot, include “Son of Sofia,” a Tribeca Film Festival standout drama about a Russian boy acclimating to living in Greece with his mother and domineering Greek stepfather. Also screening is “Summer 1993,” a Berlin Film Festival winner about a 6-year-old girl’s loneliness and confusion following the death of her mother. GEMS will screen several other acclaimed sleepers and Oscar-bait hopefuls, which should no doubt whet the appetite for next March's MFF, the program for which should be announced soon.

Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival

Nov. 3-19; Savor Cinema, 503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale, and Cinema Paradiso – Hollywood, 2008 Hollywood Blvd., with screenings at several other Broward venues; 954-525-3456 or FLIFF.com. Tickets cost $8-$12 per screening, $450 for festival pass.

How does South Florida’s largest film festival top 2016’s lineup of celebrities, which included Talia Shire, Martin Landau and Rooney singer Robert Schwartzman? Answer: More Burt Reynolds. The Palm Beach-based icon (“Deliverance,” “Smokey and the Bandit”) will collect his second FLIFF Lifetime Achievement Award (the first was in 1991), as will actor Karen Allen (“Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Animal House”). Reynolds will attend a screening of the comedy “Dog Years,” the festival’s opening-night film, while Allen will appear for the Florida premiere of her short film “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.”

American Black Film Festival

June 2018; various venues in Miami and Miami Beach; BFF.com. Festival passes cost $550-$1,025.

If the Oscar-winning, Miami-made drama “Moonlight” is any indication, films that spotlight the black experience are more popular than ever. Helping to champion African-American films, especially the local kind, is Jeff Friday, who began the festival 21 years ago in Acapulco and moved it to Miami in 2002. The HBO-sponsored festival has showcased high-profile actors, films and TV series in recent years, including premieres of OWN’s “Queen Sugar” and FX’s “Snowfall” along with appearances from comedian Kevin Hart and directors Spike Lee and John Singleton. Organizers expect 2018's lineup to be announced sometime next year.

Popcorn Frights Film Festival

August 2018; O Cinema Wynwood, 90 NW 29th St., Miami; 305-571-9970 or PopcornFrights.com. Ticket prices have yet to be announced.

Making a stronger case for quality horror films than the “Sharknado” sequels, this weeklong fright fest haunted Miami’s O Cinema for its third year with 20 sold-out feature films and a slate of shorts devoted to only-in-Florida horror. The creation of Marc Ferman and Igor Shteyrenberg (also co-founder of the Miami Jewish Film Festival), Popcorn Frights delivered buckets of fake blood and comedy, adding more world premieres and films that starred Daniel Radcliffe and Steven Yeun (“The Walking Dead”). Organizers expect 2018's lineup to be announced in the spring.

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