It was a wrap for qFLIX Philadelphia 2018 at the Perelman Theater at The Kimmel Center for Performing Arts on Sunday, March 25, 8:00 PM, as the a la Oscar finale of the fifth edition of the region’s seven-day LGBTQ+ film festival, continuing the tradition of 24 years in producing such event for the city and the region before a large and enthusiastic audience.

The closing night ceremony included the most awards ever given in various categories determined by a committee of jurors and the festival’s audiences, as well as this year’s Artistic Achievement in Acting to Alan Cumming for his outstanding body of work in film, stage and television, for always being a fearless out actor, and for his impassioned activism and support of numerous non-profit organizations and causes on both sides of the Atlantic.

Festival producers easily agreed the multi-talented, 52-year-old Cumming was the perfect recipient of the specialty award.

During his acceptance speech, Cumming spoke of his personal love for Philadelphia and why the qFLIX Philadelphia LGBTQ+ film festival is so near and dear to his heart. During his first festival experience, in 2004, his then-date, later boyfriend, ultimately became his husband for now 14 years.

The results were in high contrast between what the jury selected versus what the audience identified as their favorites in all categories. This year’s trend saw jury awards skewing toward foreign entries, while the audience favored films shot in the USA.

“The expansion of the awards allowed for greater opportunities for filmmakers to win their all-important festival laurels in the LGBTQ+ indie film festival that premiered more than 80 features, documentaries, shorts, and New Media (primarily web series) from over 25 countries that were all considered in competition,” said festival producers, Thom Cardwell and James Duggan, in a joint statement.

In addition to the United States, five other countries were represented among the winners in their respective categories, vying for either jury or audience awards, for a total of 12, announced during the closing night ceremony.

Jury awards for qFLIX Philadelphia 2018 were presented to the following films:

  • “Agnes and Milane,” directed by Tristan Titiloy (France) and “Dusk,” directed by Jake Graf (UK) for Best “Female Identifying Subject” Short Film.
  • “Sisak” by Faraz Arif Ansari (India) for Best “Male Identifying Subject” Short Film.
  • “Calamity” directed by Severine De Streyker (Belgium) for Best “Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Identifying Subject” Short Film (Narrative).
  • “Little Potato” directed by Wes Hurley (Russia) for Best “Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Identifying Subject” Short Film (Documentary).
  • “Blindsided” directed by Lisa Oliveri (USA) for Best Documentary.
  • “Discreet” directed by Travis Mathews (USA) for Best Feature Film.

Commenting on the jury selection of “Blindsided,” an intimate portrayal of an individual’s vulnerability and resilience, as she confronts deafness and blindness while in abusive relationships, the jurors stated, “Impressive on various levels, this important and effective yet humbly crafted film inspires deeply and has the ability to motivate a wide audience to create change.”

The jurors had this to say about their Best Feature film winner, “We chose ‘Discreet’ because of its creativity and original voice. The film is also technically well-executed, particularly its use of sound and editing to maintain tension in the film’s narrative. Queer cinema has a rich history of challenging audiences with content and storytelling style. ‘Discreet’ took familiar themes and spun them together in unexpected ways.”

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

Audience awards for qFLIX Philadelphia 2018 were presented to the following films:

  • “Seeing Glory” directed by Rick Hamilton (USA) for Best “Female Identifying Subject” Short Film.
  • “Something New” by TJ Marchbank (USA) for Best “Male Identifying Subject” Short Film.
  • “After The Date” directed by Iris Devins (USA) for Best “Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Identifying Subject” Short Film.
  • “Random Acts” BBC4 directed by Various Directors (UK) for New Media (Web Series).
  • “Dragged” directed by Christopher Birk (USA) for Best Documentary.
  • “Daddy” directed by Gerald McCullouch (USA) for Best Feature Film of the Festival.

Philadelphia-based filmmakers, Iris Devins and Christopher Birk, were on hand to be congratulated for their respective accomplishments. Gerald McCullouch, the director and star of “Daddy,” the audience pick for Best Feature Film was also in attendance at the ceremony. Upon his winning the award, McCullouch noted, “It was great being back in Philadelphia. qFLIX is such a great festival. They were one of the first to show my first short film. and now to have two feature films screen on closing weekend, and ‘Daddy’ winning the Audience Award, was the icing on a pretty snazzy piece of cake.”

On the opening night of the festival the director of “Hello Again,” Tom Gustafson, was given the Rising Star in Directing Award.

Throughout the run of the festival, Centerpiece Selection film directors and actors were also presented with the following awards:

  • Canadian Charlie David (“Judas Kiss,” “Mulligans,” “Dante’s Cove”) the First Time Director Award for “Shadowlands.”
  • Hong Kong’s SCUD (“City Without Baseball,” “Utopians,” “Love Actually. . .Sucks”) the Artistic Achievement in Directing Award for “Voyage.”
  • Los Angeles-based Jeffrey Johns (“Waiting in the Wings,” “Rehearsal”) the Artistic Achievement in Acting Award for “Still Waiting in the Wings.”

“The festival in 2018 had expanded to seven days, moved its venue headquarters to Plays & Players Theater, added more award categories, programmed a more diverse and all-inclusive lineup of films that represented countries of the world, from Cyrus, Iran, Belgium, South Korea, Argentina, India, Spain, and China, by, for and about the LGBTQ+ community,” said artistic director and producer Cardwell.

Producer Duggan was thrilled to announce that qFLIX Philadelphia 2019 will mark the 25th anniversary of the city’s LGBTQ+ film festival (March 18-25) with a tribute to a dynamic history and tradition of queer cinema, old and new, several groundbreaking films and a cavalcade of special guests.

Presenting Sponsor: The Tavern Group; Official Sponsors: Wyncote Foundation, Liguisearch, Sofitel Philadelphia, One Liberty Observation Deck, QUEERtimes.net; Partner Sponsors: Woody’s & Voyuer, Tootsie’s Salad Express; Patron Sponsors: The Prime Rib, Printer’s Place, Plays & Players Theater and The Revivalists Spirits; a long list of community sponsors, industry sponsors, including Breaking Glass Pictures, Qreel and The Film Collaborative, in addition to a host committee of donors all supported qFLIX Philadelphia 2018.

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