Open Dialogues: Stories From the LGBTQ Community

Present a Live Film Screening and Discussion with the Center


The Art and Culture Center/Hollywood is collaborating with organizations in South Florida to present screenings and discussions of our short documentary film Open Dialogues: Stories From the LGBTQ Community.


Through the coming-out narratives of seven Broward County residents, Open Dialogues 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. Partnering entities follow the screening with a moderated talk/Q&A with a guest speaker(s) of their choosing.


Screenings/talks lasting approximately one hour can be presented live via Zoom, or in an in-person format at the organization’s facility (contingent on the status of Covid-19). Open Dialogues community events can be scheduled any time, or be targeted to Pride Month (June) or LGBTQ History Month (October). 


To learn more about presenting an Open Dialogues event, contact Jeff Rusnak, Director of Development, at or 954.921.3274, ext. 222.

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About the Film

Open Dialogues: Stories From the LGBTQ Community was produced by the Center and directed by Miami-based filmmaker Freddy Rodriguez. Rodriguez is an EMMY®, TELLY® and Promax/BDA® award-winning writer, director/DP, and editor of commercials, music videos and short films. 


The seven Broward residents who took part in on-camera interviews are Julie Marie Wade, Dan Bassett, Christine Walters, Omar Morales, Gary Keating, Franchesca D’Amore, and Michael Goodman. 


Julie Marie Wade is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Florida International University. She is the author of 12 books of poetry and creative nonfiction. A native of Seattle, Washington, she lives in Dania Beach with her spouse, Angie Griffin.


Dan Bassett is Assistant Principal of St. Mark’s Episcopal School in Fort Lauderdale. He has served as the artistic director of the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble since 2005. He plays the trumpet and lives in Fort Lauderdale with his husband Francis Lyn.   


Christine Walters is Co-Chair of the South Florida Bisexual+ Network. A native of Pembroke Pines, she is a veterinarian specializing in exotic and aquatic animal medicine. 


Omar Morales is an Office Assistant – Administrative and Executive Department at the LGBTQ Community Service organization SunServe in Wilton Manors. A native of Puerto Rico, he lives in Fort Lauderdale with his partner Johnnie Mejia. 


Gary Keating is the Director of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus, which he founded in 1986. He lives in Oakland Park with his husband Richard Schultz. 


Franchesca D’Amore is a member of the Hollywood LGBTQ+ Council and serves on the Board of Safe Schools South Florida. A Hollywood resident, she has more than 25 years of experience as a personal/professional development and life coach.


Michael Goodman is the owner/founder of GPR/Goodman Public Relations. He is an Honorary Trustee at the Art and Culture Center/Hollywood, Board Chair of the Florida Theatrical Association, and performs nationally under the stage name Michael Dean as Cher.

Director’s Statement from Freddy Rodriguez: 

“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.” 

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Support for Open Dialogues: Stories From the LGBTQ Community was provided by the following funds at the Community Foundation of Broward: Helen and Frank Stoykov Charitable Endowment Fund, Ruth H. Brown Fund for the Arts, Dot and Keith Cobb Fund, and Mary and Alex Mackenzie Community Impact