It’s a wrap. The closing night of qFLIX Philadelphia 2019 ended on Sunday, March 31, at the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, marking the 25th edition of Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ film festival, continuing the tradition and celebrating the legacy.
Awards dominated the preceedings with the presentation of qFLIX’s first-ever “Industry Award” to the Philadelphia-based distribution company, Breaking Glass Pictures, for its long-term support of LGBTQ+ indie films, many of which have been acquired over the past five years after titles premiered at qFLIX as well as BGP’s titles that were procured elsewhere but were screened at the film festival. Both moved and appreciative, the founder, CEO and president Rich Wolff applauded such an award’s category, pointing out that he was unaware of other festivals acknowledging the role distribution companies serve.
Then qFLIX producers, James Duggan, Thom Cardwell, and Bill Egan presented both the annual jury and audience awards for 2019, the result of the all-volunteer jurors and the participation of the audience voting for the most favorite films via an all new and improved app that not only enhanced procedure but attracted greater response for festival attendees.
The Jury Awards are:
Short Film: Cisgender Male Identifying ended in a tie: one for “Sequins,” directed by Michael Beddoes of the UK. “This well-acted film was exuberant, and one of our favorite feel-good films in the category,” explained the jurors and “DIX (Ten),” directed by Villette Franck, France. “This dark comedy was clever and visually appealing. It featured a fun voiceover narration that helped this film stand out,” said the jurors.
Short Film: Cisgender Female Identifying: “Misdirection,” directed by Carly Usdin of the USA. The jurors remarked: “A charming, engaging story. Especially appreciated that the cast was nearly all people of color, and that the main character was portrayed as living and thriving with a mental health disability.”
Short Film: Trans Identifying: “Back up Plan,” directed by David Beck of the USA, “This film was touching and featured a strong performance from the lead character. We also appreciated the immediate relevance, in a time when individuals can still be fired for being trans,” observed the jurors.
New Media: “The Book of Craig,” directed by Tyler Stuart, USA. Jurors agreed: “After being torn among the many great and important stories in this category we had to choose the original premise behind Book of Craig. This web-based series is an original, uproariously funny commentary on race, relationships, faith, and present-day America. This fresh and fast paced series had us eager to see what came next and where the series can go. This film has the power to bring audiences together and unify diverse groups of people in a way that we need right now.”
First-Time Director: “Two in the Bush: A Love Story,” directed by Laura Madalinski, USA.
Documentary: “From Baghdad to the Bay” Directed by Erin Palmquist, USA. Jurors said: “All of us found this film to be an original, powerfully told, complex and compelling story, and it came full circle for us. It received the highest overall score among the categories.”
Feature Film was a tie: “Canary” Directed by Christian Olwagen, South Africa and “Kill the Monster,” directed by Ryan Lonergan, USA.
The Audience Awards were:
Short Film: Cisgender Male Identifying: “ruok,” directed by Jay Russell, USA.
Short Film: Cisgender Female Identifying: “Heather Has 4 Moms,” directed by Jeanette Buck, USA.
Short Film: Trans Identifying: “Endless Summer for the Queer Mind,” directed by Ricardo Dal Moro, USA.
New Media: “History” directed by Jack Tracy, USA.
First-Time Director: “Bathroom Stalls & Parking Lots,” directed by Thales Correa, USA.
Documentary: “Jack & Yaya,” directed by Mary Hewey & Jen Bagley, USA.
Feature Film: “Ripples of Water,” directed by AJ Ciccotelli, USA.
The first-ever Thom Cardwell Grand Jury Award was also won by “Jack & Yaya.”
Why so many awards? “We like giving out awards recognizing filmmaker’s accomplishments and individuals’ contributions to the LGBTQ+ indie film industry,” said Duggan, “and we also like expanding award categories, making them this year more diverse and all-inclusive.”