Sunday, July 23, 2017 This Week's Paper

Arts & Entertainment: Everybody needs a G.B.F.

// Find out why on opening night at Tacoma Film Festival

The Tacoma Film Festival has a delightful comedy lined up for its opening night gala screening on Oct. 3, one that’s sure to set a tone of fun and excitement for this year’s third annual festival. It’s called “G.B.F.” (“Gay Best Friend”) and it premiered as an Official Selection at the Tribeca Film Festival this past April to rave reviews. If you enjoy classic high school comedies like “Sixteen Candles,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Clueless,” “Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion” and “Mean Girls,” “G.B.F.” will definitely be added to that list.

At North Gateway High in the heart of suburbia, U.S.A., a buzz circulates around the school over the latest accessory every popular girl should have – a G.B.F. When the queens of the high school’s social hierarchy get wind of this new must-have, it’s all out war among them to be the first to get one. Bossy, blonde bombshell Fawcett (Sasha Pieterse), drama club diva Caprice (Xosha Roquemore) and Mormon good girl ‘Shley (Andrea Bowen) scheme and conspire to sniff out their gay prey from among the student body, and end up finding someone who doesn’t quite meet the glamorous stereotype they were expecting.

Enter BFFs Tanner (Michael J. Willett) and Brent (Paul Iacono), both of whom are gay but not “out” to anyone – yet. Tanner wishes to keep it that way, but his more flamboyant pal Brent has different ideas, believing that his social standing would skyrocket were he to become the school’s #1 (and only) gay status symbol. From there things spiral into a hilarious comedy where oversharing on social media really can get you into all kinds of trouble and being yourself is sometimes the hardest lesson to learn.

Lisa Fruichantie is lead projectionist at The Grand and she also works at the new Rainbow Center/Oasis Youth headquarters on Pacific Avenue. She said that out of all the films submitted for this year’s Tacoma Film Festival, “G.B.F.” stood out in numerous ways. “The production quality, the acting, the content…all of it. It really stood alone,” she said.

Full of witty quips, hip one-liners and sharp dialog, “G.B.F.” includes its share of dramatic, “Whoa!” moments as well in its insightful look into the lives of teenagers in the 21st century. Its story is universal, one that all audiences can relate to thanks to the film’s talented writer George Northy (his first screenplay) and direction by Darren Stein (writer and director of “Jawbreaker”). Northy will be in attendance at the opening night gala to talk about the film and take questions from the audience.

“This is the person who wrote it all and has the inside scoop,” Fruichantie said. “I’m curious to hear what he has to say that led him to write this movie.”

Fruichantie said that the magic of “G.B.F.” is in its ability to create a means by which communities can talk about the issues highlighted in the film. “The Grand’s amazing partnership with Oasis and the Rainbow Center allows us in our own community to have that conversation,” she said.

“G.B.F.” is a smart film in its portrayal of how gay youth, and gay people in general for that matter, often struggle to find their place in life, and in its insightful commentary on how gay men in particular are still generally perceived in today’s society. This film challenges stereotypes across the board and not just in how gay people are seen but also in how we see each other such that even the popular rich girl in school may not be as shallow as she seems on the surface.

Tacoma Film Festival’s opening night gala and movie takes place at Annie Wright School, 827 N. Tacoma Ave. For tickets, visit, at The Grand Cinema box office or by calling (253) 593-4474.