Open dialogues: Stories from the LGBTQ Community is now an “Official Selection” of the 2021 Orlando Film Festival. The documentary short which was produced by the Art and Culture Center/Hollywood and directed by Miami-based award-winning filmmaker Freddy Rodriguez of 66 Films, centers around the coming-out narratives of seven Broward County residents and explores how the LGBTQ community is marginalized among families, schools, churches and public spaces – and how individuals interviewed for the film learned to empower themselves in these spaces.
Julie Marie Wade starts the film followed by Dan Bassett, Christine Walters, Omar Morales, Gary Keating, Franchesca D’Amore, and Michael Goodman. The seven South Florida residents took part in the on-camera interviews over two days in Hollywood, Florida in early 2020. The topics range from personal stories of self acceptance, overcoming rejection/violence based on gender, race, sexual identity, and sexual orientation, and building LGBTQ/Straight alliances.
“Working on Open Dialogues reminded me that hate and misunderstanding not only play a powerful role on how we are perceived as a community, but plays an even more pivotal role in how we perceive ourselves as gay people” – Filmmaker, Freddy Rodriguez
“2020 Best Broward Doc”
Open Dialogues: Stories from the LGBT Community is also an “Official Selection” of the 2020/2021 Outshine LGBTQ Film Festival, the 2021 St. Augustine Film Festival and won “Best Broward Doc” at the 2020 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.
The Making of “Open Dialogues”
The 19-minute documentary, which was also edited by Freddy Rodriguez, consisted of seven interviews which were edited down from over five hours of interviews from the diverse cast. The Art and Culture Center/Hollywood, writer/producer Jeff Rusnak and Rodriguez identified the cast to participate in the deeply personal interviews. The purpose of the project was to inspire conversation about acceptance and inclusion of the LGBTQ community in South Florida. Open Dialogues was shot on stage at the Hollywood Central Performing Art Center and Rodriguez shot the doc on the Lumix SIH using vintage Nikkor AI-S still lenses with the camera set to Black and White. When asked why he shot the short documentary in Black and White he responds “Black and White is an equalizer and just shoots in tones of gray. I wanted to show that we’re all human regardless of color or race, but yet unique even within our own community.”
“Black and White is an equalizer and just shoots in tones of gray. I wanted to show that we’re all human regardless of color or race, but yet unique even within our own community.” – Freddy Rodriguez.
In a statement by Director Freddy Rodriguez, he goes on to say: “It’s a Director’s job to help a film, be it narrative or documentary, to tell its story. In the case of Open Dialogues: Stories from the LGBTQ Community, it was my job to take seven stories and help tell them as efficiently as possible, while striving to keep the emotion authentic. It’s not often that I get impacted so deeply with a project. As a married gay man, who lives safely in a Miami suburb, I have become completely complacent of the LGBTQ struggle. Working on Open Dialogues reminded me that hate and misunderstanding, not only play a powerful role on how we are perceived as a community, but plays an even more important role in how we perceive ourselves as gay people. The stories in Open Dialogues are real, powerful and raw. Prepare yourself.”