ImageOut is the second largest gay and lesbian film fest in New York State. Attracting over 10,000 people last year and selling out shows for nine out of 10 nights, it is one the biggest cinematic events of the fall.With venues ranging from Little Theater, Dryden Theatre, George Eastman House and Cinema Theatre, ImageOut offers a wide variety of gay culture for all types of people.The festival begins on Oct. 8 and ends on Oct. 17. Tickets for the opening night films are $12 each and may be preordered through Although the festival is sure to be full of surprises, the one thing we can count on is its deliverance of a rich multicultural contribution to Rochester.”Garden” “Garden” is a unique documentary that follows the life of two teenagers, Nino and Dudu, through Tel Aviv’s Electric Garden District. Dudu is an Arab Israeli who left his abusive family at a young age and made his way through the world by turning tricks and occasionally dealing drugs. Dudu meets the younger Nino, an illegal Palestinian immigrant living in Israel, when they get into a mild altercation. After the dust settles, they bond like brothers. Over the course of a year, the documentary captures their mishaps, enjoyments and even tears.”Garden” cleverly displays the pessimism of corrupted youth contrasted sharply to the innocence of boyhood. Their unguarded and youthful immaturity is a pleasant flash amidst a setting of violence, drugs and sex. The situations and events that these young men must deal with are shocking when juxtaposed with their boyish attitude toward life. The movie is an eye-opening reminder that even through the worst of situations, the bonds of friendship prevail above all. This is an awe-inspiring, heart-pounding, tear-jerking must see-film.”Clara’s Summer””Clara’s Summer” is a French film about sexual awakening during adolescence. Set in a coed summer camp, two inseparable friends, Zoe, played by Stephanie Sokolinski and Clara, played by Selma Brook, explore their sexual identity. Initially, the male campmates flirtatiously tease and ridicule the two, driving the friends closer together. As the film progresses, Zoe professes her unrequited love for Clara. Shocked and confused, Clara turns away from Zoe and rejects her affections. Insecure and hurt, Zoe turns to Sebastian, the quintessential alpha male of the camp, and begins to develop a romance with him. Clara on the other hand, becomes jealous and turns to Sonia, played by Salome Stevenin, a girl who is rumored to be a lesbian. After wrongfully accused of being a lesbian, Clara feels the need to reaffirm her heterosexuality and sleeps with a male campmate. Disgusted by this experience, she turns back to Sonia and sleeps with her. On reflection, Clara realizes that she doesn’t love either of her two partners.Directed by Patrick Grandperret and scripted by Nathalie Straigher, “Clara’s Summer” tends to lose focus and cohesion as the film progresses. In the beginning, it seems as though summer camp will be the paramount event to each girl’s love life, but unfortunately only turns into a series of lust-filled flings. The end of the film also loses steam and motivation – the plot falls apart and does not delve into Clara’s reflections on her lesbian experience.The actresses, however, are not to be blamed for this shortcoming. Their performances accurately captured the sexual confusion and excitement of adolescence. The cinematography and setting of the film are also superb and perfectly capture the nature-filled excitement of a summer camp.”The Experiment: Gay and Straight””The Experiment: Gay and Straight” is a documentary filmed in 2002, taking place in the busy city of Chicago. The premise of the film is somewhat reminiscent of a reality show. Five heterosexuals and five homosexuals are locked in a house for one week and are forced to address issues surrounding their sexual differences. Much like the reality shows of today, it contains confessionals, team games and challenges, and don’t forget all the drama that accompanies these events.Although based on an interesting idea, “The Experiment” tends to draw on at points and is repetitive. The dispute of whether sexual orientation is a consequence of upbringing or genetics is continuously addressed to the point where it becomes obnoxious and counterproductive. Despite its letdowns, “The Experiment” does have some positive redeeming elements. Both heterosexual and homosexual sides are ethnically and socially diverse, accurately portraying that there isn’t a typical gay, lesbian or straight person. Also, the discussion of sexuality in an open and honest forum helps answer questions that the typical American might be afraid to ask in today’s “politically correct” society.If not for the unique approach of the documentary, “The Experiment” is worth seeing for the its sheer educational value.”Brother to Brother””Brother to Brother” documents a unique journey that oscillates between present day urban culture and the historical Harlem Renaissance. The film compares and contrasts issues of African American identity and sexuality during the 1930s and current times.Director Rodney Evans explores these issues through character Bruce Nugent, played by Roger Robinson, a prominent figure from the Harlem Renaissance. Evans develops the plot through dialogue between an elderly Nugent and a fictional young, gay, talented painter, Perry, played by Anthony Mackie. Perry is a student disgusted with society as a whole and seeks guidance and advice from Nugent. During the Harlem Renaissance, Nugent cofounded a controversial literary journal “Fire!” alongside Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and Wallace Thurman.Through the flashback interactions, Evans draws direct parallels between the African American struggle with sexuality and identity in the 1930s and the struggles during the present day. Through this same technique, he also addresses the struggle of the genuine starving artist to resist the manipulation of their work by prospective publishers to better suit their own profit-driven agendas.Evans seamlessly interweaves multiple themes and timelines within the film to deliver what seems to be his prevailing message. He discusses that dissension and misunderstanding within the black community, unless solved and conquered, will forever undermine efforts to equality and peace.”Brother to Brother” is a superbly composed film that is worth seeing for its sexual aswell as artistic value.Aziz can be reached at

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