LGBTQ South Florida

Jewish, LGBT film festivals to screen ‘Stories of Our Lives’ at O Cinema Miami Beach

A scene from ‘Stories of Our Lives.’
A scene from ‘Stories of Our Lives.’

Stories of Our Lives, a film that tells the stories about five people — gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex — in Kenya, will be screened June 25 at O Cinema Miami Beach.

The screening celebrates LGBT Pride Month and is presented by Miami Jewish Film Festival, O Cinema and the MiFo LGBT Film Festivals, says Igor Shteyrenberg, director of Miami Jewish Film Festival.

Miami Beach attorney Elizabeth Schwartz will host the free screening, which will feature a Skype Q&A with director Jim Chuchu.

Here’s the complete news release:

Miami Jewish Film Festival (MJFF), a program of the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE), is proud to present with O Cinema and the MiFo LGBT Film Festivals the Florida Premiere of Stories of Our Lives on Thursday, June 25 at 7pm at O Cinema Miami Beach. The special event celebrating LGBT Pride Month will be hosted by Elizabeth Schwartz, one of Miami’s best known advocates for the legal rights of the LGBT community. Following the screening there will also be a Skype Q&A with director Jim Chuchu. The event is free but requires an RSVP in advance.

The award-winning Stories of Our Lives is an anthology of five minidramas with LGBT themes from the East African republic of Kenya. It was made by the Nairobi-based art and activist group The Nest Collective, many of whose members prefer to conceal their identities to avoid possible persecution under Kenya’s notoriously draconian anti-gay laws. Despite its acclaim and awards abroad, Stories of our Lives remains banned in Kenya, and last summer, the country’s Republican Liberty Party proposed a controversial “stone the gays” legislation. In spite of this, the members of The Nest Collective have opted to stay in Kenya and fight openly for their human rights and are determined to continue their struggle for recognition.

“The Miami Jewish Film Festival is guided by the values statements of Keshet, a national organization that works towards equality and inclusion of LGBTQ individuals in Jewish life. MJFF believes the values that Keshet has identified within the Jewish tradition, such as respect, communal responsibility, and solidarity, can and should guide the way in which LGBTQ individuals are treated throughout our society and our world.” Said MJFF committee chair Mark Kravitz

“It is a great honor for us to present Stories of Our Lives, a film which defies a climate of discrimination by creating an astounding visual poem that boldly stands up for hope and love in the face of cruelty,” said MJFF director Igor Shteyrenberg. “We hope the powerful stories shared in the film will help broaden the conversation in our community about stigmas and discriminations that still occur in society today.” "Stories of Our Lives is a brave film that is deeply beautiful, extremely compelling and immensely important. It is a window into a world few of us know and like truly great cinema does, it resonates and stays with us long after the credits end. It's a pleasure to be bringing it to Miami audiences," said O Cinema co-director Kareem Tabsch.

"Beautifully shot in high contrast reminiscent of a Sebastiao Salgado photo essay, the Stories of Our Lives gives empathic and engaging faces to the true stories collected from the Kenyan LGBT community," said MiFo LGBT Film Festivals director Victor M. Gimenez.

For more information, please visit miamijewishfilmfestival.org or call 305-573-7304.

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