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The Independent Critic

FEATURING
Matthew Smith, Solly Hemus, Greg Louganis, Carson Kressley, Josh Strickland, Keaton Simons, Eric Roberts, Eliza Roberts, Cassandra Church, Miranda Foster, Jason Somerville, Patrick Burke, Vanessa Selbst and Ben Milliken
DIRECTED BY
Matthew Smith
MPAA RATING
NR
RUNNING TIME
88 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
QC Cinema
DVD EXTRAS
Lifeworks & OutSet Sizzle Featurettes; Bloopers; Extended Interviews; Photo Gallery; Trailer
ORDER THIS DVD
 "Out in the Open" a Welcoming Voice for LGBTQ Youth 
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While its tongue is planted firmly in cheek, there's a whole lot going on within director Matthew Smith's Out in the Open, a feature documentary is geared towards at risk-youth across the world and the people who support them including friends, parents, teachers and more. Smith, a former Disney Channel actor, takes a refreshing and entertaining look at what it means to be "out" in the gay community.

Featuring both celebrities and non-celebrities, Out in the Open is rare in that Smith takes a decidedly light-hearted approach to what he fully realizes is a mighty serious subject - bullying and LGBTQ youth. The body of the film is essentially a variety of people sharing the stories of coming out, surviving bullying, discussing the gay community and quite a bit more. In addition to Smith, featured interviews include Solly Hemus (Smith's boyfriend), Carson Kressley (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), Eliza Roberts, actor Eric Roberts, Olympic diver Greg Louganis and quite a few more.

The key to the film, and perhaps something that makes it most unique, is that it weaves together both those who are actually in the LGBTQ community and those who are outspoken about their support of the LGBTQ community - I guess you could say they're "straight but not narrow." Smith's work here is quite often funny, including the utilization of an almost "old school" news reel narration that accompanies much of the film. Rest assured that Smith is not making light of the subject matter but, instead, he's weaving serious testimonies into a package that's authentic, honest and entertaining.

If there's one theme that shines through in the film it's that "we're all different" and we all should be celebrated, a message that comes through time and time again in the words and the stories that are shared. While the film lacks the emotional wallop of, say, those gosh darn tearjerking "It Gets Better" videos that seemed to show up everywhere for awhile, Out in the Open is the kind of film that needs to be seen by youth groups and classes studying human sexuality all around the world.

The film has been picked up for a multi-platform release on January 29th by QC Cinema, the LGBTQ arm of Breaking Glass Pictures. The film is already available for pre-order on Netflix, Amazon and kmart.com.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic
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