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Tampa Bay’s annual gay film festival begins Friday

Bill DeYoung



Writer, singer, comedian and director Scout Durwood's "Youtopia" is a featured attraction at the Tampa Bay International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Photo: Screengrab.

Writer, comedian and cabaret singer Scout Durwood stars in Youtopia, one of the featured films in the 33rd annual Tampa Bay International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, which begins Friday.

Film screenings – along with other related events – happen on both sides of the bay through Oct. 15.

Youtopia, which Durwood also wrote and directed, is a musical comedy in which our protagonist (named Scout, duh) gets dumped by her girlfriend – and proceeds to declare herself a sovereign nation, with one explicit rule: If something does not feel completely and utterly honest to who she is, she will refuse to do it.

Other women get wind of this refreshing new attitude, and a cult, of sorts, is born. Just like that “Scoutopia” becomes “Youtopia.”

Youtopia screened at L.A.’s Outfest ’22, prompting this review (excerpted) from

The movie’s low-budget look does wonders to play up the campiness of both the concept and the format. The movie is interspersed with quite odd but terribly catchy and satisfying songs, each essentially done as a separate music video outside of but concurrent to the ongoing plot. There are zero misses in the whole lot of them, ranging from sex ABCs to dog motherhood. It’s rounded out by an equally funny cast and an even more outlandish side-plot that ties everything in this socially conscious/socially critical movie.

While Youtopia will be available virtually later in the TIGLFF schedule, it will be screened in public Saturday at the Postcard Inn on the Beach, 6300 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach. The 9:30 p.m. event is the TIGLFF “Ladies’ Spotlight Film & Party,” which includes after-movie fun. Tickets are available for the film, or the party, or both together. Click here.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor will speak at the festival’s opening night event, Friday (7:30 p.m.) at the Tampa Theatre (711 N. Franklin St., Tampa).

Friday’s movie, Mama Bears, is a documentary about three conservative Christian women who “fight ferociously to make the world kinder and safer for all LGBTQ+ people.”

Here’s the Hollywood Reporter review of Mama Bears.

The festival includes more than 50 films, a combination of in-person and virtual.

View the entire schedule, along with ticket and festival pass opportunities, here.



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