It was a wrap for qFLIX Philadelphia 2017 at the Prince Theater on Sunday, March 19, 730pm, as the a la Oscar finale of the city’s and region’s six-day LGBTQ film festival, continuing the tradition of 23 years of producing such an event for the city and the region.

The closing night ceremony included the most awards ever given in various categories determined by a committee of jurors, the audience and several specialty awards to First-Time Directors to the [Barbara] Gittings International Human Rights Award, initiated in 2014, and the Unsung Hero Award, initiated in 2016.

“The expansion of the awards allowed for greater opportunities for filmmakers to win their all-important festival laurels in the all LGBTQ indie film festival that premiered more than 60 features, documentaries, shorts, and new media, primarily web series, that were all considered in competition,” said festival producers, Thom Cardwell and James Duggan, in a joint statement.

As festival producers, the duo approved the inclusion of the First-Time Director Award initiated in 2016, selected by the diverse and all-inclusive panel of nine jurors, with winners chosen for men’s and women’s features, documentary, women’s and men’s shorts.

Audience awards were determined by festival attendees who rated the films on a user-friendly “qFLIX” app, introduced in 2016, that proved popular and resulted in greater participation in selecting this year’s winners.

The results were in high contrast between what the jury selected versus what the audience claimed as their favorites in all categories. In fact, the trend was a new one for the first time with awards going to a slew of foreign entries.

Six nations were represented among the winners in their respective categories, vying for either jury or audience awards, for a total of 11, announced on the closing night.

Jury Awards for qFLIX Philadelphia 2017 were presented to . . .

Best Women’s Short, “Suicide,” directed by Molly Ratermann (USA).

Best Men’s Short,You Deserve Everything,” by Goran Stolevski (Australia).

Best Documentary, “The Freedom to Marry,” directed by Eddie Rosenstein (USA).

First-Time Director,Closet Monster,” directed by Stephen Dunn (Canada).

Best Men’s Feature,Tomcat” directed by Handel Klaus (Austria).

Best Women’s Feature,Girls Lost” directed by Alexandria-Therea Keining (Sweden).

Audience Awards for qFLIX Philadelphia 2017 were presented to . . .

Best Women’s Short,Manly Stanley Goes to New York” directed by Shelby Coley (USA).

Best Men’s Short, Bayard and Me” directed by Matt Wolf (USA).

Best Documentary,The Lavender Scare” directed by Josh Howard and Jill Landers (USA).

New Media (Web Series), “Daddyhunt” directed by Ra-ey Slaeh (USA).

Best Feature Film,The Pass” directed by Ben Williams (England).

Special awards were bestowed upon two First-Time Directors, chosen by the administration of qFLIX Philadelphia 2017, acknowledging the directorial debuts with First-Time Directors award to Brandon Ruckdashel for “Grinder,” (USA) and to David Berry for the North American premiere of “Something Like Summer,” that also served as the closing night film for qFLIX Philadelphia 2017 following at the proceedings held at The Prince, the festival theater headquarters.

Established by the producers of qFLIX Philadelphia, the third Gittings International Human Rights Award was presented to the producing and directing team of Raydra Hall and David Hylan for “Small Town Rage,” (USA) a documentary about AIDS activism with ACT UP at the height of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Shreveport, Louisiana.

This is the first time that a recipient of the Gittings award went to an American entry, having granted the first and second awards in 2015 and 2016, respectively to entries from Uganda and India.

To a very surprised producer, Cardwell was given this year’s Unsung Hero Award by the qFLIX Philadelphia 2017 team for 23 years of consecutive service for producing an LGBTQ film festival in the city and region.

In midweek, Casper Andreas, referred to as a “qFLIX alum,” having premiered six of his ten feature films in Philadelphia’s LGBTQ film festival over the years, was the recipient of this year’s Artistic Achievement Award in Directing. He was in town to premiere “Flatbush Luck.” Many of the audience remember some of his earlier titles such as “The Big Gay Musical,” “Slutty Summer,” and last year’s “Kiss Me, Kill Me.”

Actually, qFLIX Philadelphia 2017 started out the way it began with the first-ever Appreciation Award, presented to Stephen Carlino and Dennis Fee as the presenting sponsors of the six-day event, who were surprised to receive such an honor, for their philanthropy and a variety of in-kind support at UBar, Tavern Restaurant, and Tavern on Camac.

“We are never restricted to handing out awards for accomplishments and achievements to anyone, from filmmakers to sponsors to community leaders,” Duggan exclaimed.

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