Documentary Film Short Open Dialogues: Gen QueerZ To Premiere October 11th, National Coming Out Day
September 28, 2023
The Art and Culture Center/Hollywood is all set to premiere "Gen QueerZ," the fourth installment in its Award-Winning Open Dialogues Documentary Film Short Series, on Wednesday, October 11th, at the Hollywood Central Performing Arts Center, located at 1770 Monroe Street. Coinciding with National Coming Out Day, this event promises to be a powerful celebration of LGBTQ+ Voices and the importance of being true to oneself.
The evening's festivities will kick off with a glamorous red-carpet reception at 6:00 p.m., offering attendees the chance to mingle with the film's cast and crew. The main event, the screening of "Gen QueerZ," followed by a discussion with the cast members and Director Freddy Rodriguez, will commence at 7:00 p.m. Admission to this groundbreaking event is entirely free, allowing a diverse audience to come together in support of LGBTQ+ Youth.
"Gen QueerZ" is a compelling documentary that gives voice to LGBTQ+ Youth who proudly proclaim, "Queer is here. Queer is everywhere." It shines a light on the idea that being out and visible in public and home spaces is a powerful form of activism that helps to demarginalize queer individuals.
Produced by the Art and Culture Center/Hollywood in collaboration with Safe Schools South Florida, the title "Gen QueerZ" refers to LGBTQ+ Youth who belong to Generation Z, encompassing those born since 1997. This thought-provoking film delves into the LGBTQ+ narratives and experiences of eight South Florida college and university students. Their stories represent a rich tapestry of gender identities, cultural backgrounds, and academic pursuits while exploring the complexities of allyship, threats, and family dynamics when "coming out" at home.
One unique aspect of "Gen QueerZ" is its incorporation of original poetry readings by cast members Eric Martinez, who performs "To Know Yourself," and Ja'na Nelson, who delivers "I'm Out."
The film's cast includes Doriyan Caty from Florida Atlantic University, Javier Gomez from Miami Dade College, Sofía Grajales from Broward College, Eric Martinez from Florida International University, Ja'na Nelson from FAU, Kelsey Parente from Broward College, Ian Rodriguez from Florida State University, and Nathalie Saladrigas from Miami Dade College and Emerson College, Boston.
"Open Dialogues: Gen QueerZ" has received vital support from The Our Fund Foundation, The Windhover Foundation/Quadracci Family, and the Dara and Jarrett Levan Fund for the Arts at the Community Foundation of Broward, emphasizing the significance of such a project in our community.
National Coming Out Day, observed every year on October 11th, was first established in 1988, marking the Second Anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. This important day is recognized not only in the United States but also in countries worldwide, serving as a platform to raise awareness about the LGBTQ+ Community and its ongoing civil rights movement.
The Art and Culture Center/Hollywood, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, receives support from its dedicated members, admissions, private entities, the City of Hollywood, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council, and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. The organization welcomes donations from individuals within the community who wish to contribute to their vital work.
"Gen QueerZ" promises to be an inspirational and thought-provoking evening of film, discussion, and celebration, reminding us all of the importance of being true to ourselves and supporting the LGBTQ+ Community. Don't miss this extraordinary event on October 11th – a night that will resonate with audiences for years to come.
Open Dialogues The Series
Open Dialogues: Stories From the LGBTQ Community captures the diverse coming-out narratives of seven Broward residents who shared their stories in on-camera interviews.
Produced by the Art and Culture Center/Hollywood, and directed, photographed and edited by Miami-based Filmmaker Freddy Rodriguez, Stories From the LGBTQ Community reveals in intimate detail how the LGBTQ community is often marginalized within families, schools, churches and public spaces – and how individuals featured in the film learned to empower themselves in these spaces.
The Broward residents who shared their coming-out experience are Dan Bassett, Franchesca D’Amore, Michael Goodman, Gary Keating, Omar Morales, Julie Marie Wade, and Christine Walters. Wade, a nationally renowned writer, reads select poems from her 2014 collection When I Was Straight.
The online publication Queer Guru described Stories From the LGBTQ Community as “powerful,” adding that the film “is exactly what most queer people would have loved to been able to view on the verge of ‘coming out’ as gay. Listening to the stories of seven South Florida members of the LGBTQ Community articulate on their own journeys is such an uplifting experience.”
The Art and Culture Center/Hollywood’s documentary short film Open Dialogues: Black Voices | Black Stories focuses on what social justice looks and feels like for Black Americans, as told through the narratives and performances of eight community leaders in Broward County.
Directed, photographed, and edited by Award-Winning Filmmaker Freddy Rodriguez, Black Voices | Black Stories is a collaboration between the Art and Culture Center/Hollywood and 66 Films to inspire conversation about racial inequity and systemic injustice for the African diaspora in South Florida.
The eight community leaders selected for on-camera interviews and performances represent a diverse range of work/life experiences from such fields as law, education, medicine, public policy, and the arts. They are Darius V. Daughtry, Henry Graham, Yolanda Cash Jackson, Esq., Rudy Jean-Bart, Niki Lopez, David Weaver, Venis Wilder, M.D., and Natacha J. Yacinthe, Ph.D. The film includes a musical performance by violinist Ian Mann, written works by Daughtry and Jean-Bart, and music by Dr. Wilder performing as V. Tiarra.
Photographed in black-and-white, the 24-minute film engages community members to describe openly and honestly, among other topics, their first awareness of being Black, the degrading impact of Racism and Discrimination, creating empathetic listening practices, Black resilience, and “The Talk,” in which Black parents prepare their children to be targeted based on the color of their skin.
Open Dialogues: Queer Allies offers the stories and lived experiences of people who identify as LGBTQ+ (Queer) and the people who love and support them. Directed by Award-Winning Filmmaker Freddy Rodriguez, Queer Allies features deeply moving interviews and performances that focus on the critical role of allies in empowering young people in their coming-out experience.
The 25-minute black-and-white film features a performance by Terry Dyer from his book, Letters to a Gay Black Boy, and a contemporary dance duet by Dance NOW! Miami, with David Harris and Anthony Velasquez performing “Safe Words.”
Queer Allies is emotional and inspiring as it illustrates the power of human empathy to change lives. The stories of six community members interviewed on camera explore with unflinching honesty how parents and teachers provide safe spaces in the home or school, and lacking that, how queer youth must often be their own best ally when their parents reject their sexual identity.
Cast Member Tatiana Williams says in the film, “Oftentimes parents don’t want to really look inside and see if their child is really different because the first thing they think is if the child is different, it’s something that they’ve done. So, for me, it was good for [my mom] to let me know that I was in a safe space, that home was my sanctuary, that it was a world out there and I was gonna have to be empowered from the home.”
For more information about the fourth installment "Open Dialogues: Gen QueerZ" or to host a private screening, call: (954) 921-3274. Or visit: www.ArtAndCultureCenter.org/open-dialogues-films