qFLIX Philadelphia 2018 Awards Announced

qFLIX Philadelphia Shadowlands

qFLIX Philadelphia 2018 Awards Announced at Closing Night Ceremony

PHILADELPHIA – 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.

qFLIX Philadelphia Shadowlands  
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.

Shadowlands miniseries is available on OUTtv and OUTtvGO in Canada and on Vimeo for our friends around the world.

If you enjoyed this article about qFLIX Philadelphia, explore other chats with cast members of the Shadowlands series.

Marc Devigne (Xavier in episode 3 ‘Pygmalion Revisited’ of the Shadowlands series.

Oscar Moreno (Matteo in episode 2 ‘Mating Season’ of the Shadowlands gay series)

Sean C. Dwyer (Alex in episode 1 ‘Narcissus’ of the Shadowlands miniseries)

Nicolas James Wilson (Will in episode 2 ‘Mating Season’ of the Shadowlands gay series)

Vasilios Filippakis (Daniel in episode 2 ‘Mating Season’ of Shadowlands)

Brian Woodford (Drew in episode 1 ‘Narcissus’ of Shadowlands gay series)

Natasha Balakrishnan (Thalia in episode 1 ‘Narcissus’ of Shadowlands

Learn about the hidden ‘Easter Eggs’ in the Shadowlands gay series

 

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Win a Shadowlands Paperback

Win an autographed Shadowlands paperback by following two easy steps at the bottom of this post!

Introducing an experimental film from first time feature director Charlie David SHADOWLANDS.  Shadowlands will premiere as one of the Centerpiece films at qFLIX Film Festival in Philadelphia on Wednesday, March 21st at 7:15pm.  If you’re in the Philadelphia area, come out and meet some of the cast and crew including Charlie David, Nico Stagias, David Robert Moore, Nicolas James Wilson, Vasilios Filippakis, Sean C. Dwyer and Natasha Balakrishnan.  You can get tickets here.

The film which is made up of three unique stories was inspired by the short story anthology of the same title.  All the stories have a homoerotic nature as well as diving into elements that are supernatural, suspenseful and eerie.  We’ve shared one of the short stories from the Shadowlands paperback previously in this post with the story titled October 13th.

Shadowlands explores love in three stories – a narcissist grasping to comprehend it, a couple renegotiating a relationship, and star-crossed lovers mourning its loss.

Shadowlands paperback Narcissus
The film begins in 1928 with Alex, a plastic surgeon hell-bent on perfection, hosting a house party with an assortment of colorful guests. Amid romantic misfires it becomes apparent that the only person Alex is interested in is himself. 

Shadowlands paperback Mating Season
Oscar Moreno and Nicolas James Wilson in Shadowlands ‘Mating Season’

Fast forward to 1951 and a gay military couple exploring the idea of opening their relationship while on a remote camping trip when they encounter a mysterious stranger.

Shadowlands paperback Pygmalion Revisited
Marc Devigne and Charlie David in Shadowlands ‘Pygmalion Revisited’

The stories conclude in 2018 with a painter who in mourning the loss of his lover, becomes obsessed with creating a realistic painting of him. The resulting piece is so beautiful and life like that he is drawn under its spell.

You can learn more about the painter’s story in this post about the film of Pygmalion Revisited. 

Shadowlands paperback

Enter a draw to win an autographed Shadowlands paperback by writing a review for one of Charlie David’s  books Boy Midflight , Shadowlands Mulligans on Amazon or an online bookseller of your choice.  Take a screen shot of your review and email then with your name and mailing address by Friday, April 20th to [email protected]

Shadowlands miniseries is available on OUTtv and OUTtvGO in Canada and on Vimeo for our friends around the world.

If you enjoyed this, explore other chats with cast members of the Shadowlands series.

Marc Devigne (Xavier in episode 3 ‘Pygmalion Revisited’ of the Shadowlands series.

Oscar Moreno (Matteo in episode 2 ‘Mating Season’ of the Shadowlands gay series)

Sean C. Dwyer (Alex in episode 1 ‘Narcissus’ of the Shadowlands miniseries)

Nicolas James Wilson (Will in episode 2 ‘Mating Season’ of the Shadowlands gay series)

Vasilios Filippakis (Daniel in episode 2 ‘Mating Season’ of Shadowlands)

Brian Woodford (Drew in episode 1 ‘Narcissus’ of Shadowlands gay series)

Natasha Balakrishnan (Thalia in episode 1 ‘Narcissus’ of Shadowlands

Learn about the hidden ‘Easter Eggs’ in the Shadowlands gay series

Please follow and share our stories.
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Director Blake Mawson on his controversial Russian LGBT horror film, PYOTR495

Blake Mawson film Pyotr495

Blake Mawson is a talented filmmaker creating compelling new work in horror. 

His first film, PYOTR495, busts genre stereotypes and will stay with you long after the final credits. 


We’ve just started working with director Blake Mawson at Border2Border Entertainment and really hope this is the first of many films for him.  When I first watched PYOTR495 at the Toronto Inside Out Film Festival last year, it picked up another award – the RBC Best Emerging Canadian Artist Award.  

Awards are great of course and this latest accolade was simply adding to the collection for PYOTR495, which include the Best Horror Short at Flickers’ Rhode Island Film Festival.  It’s also been nominated for the Iris Prize, the world’s largest short film prize as well as the SITGES Brigadoon Paul Naschy Award. 

For me the film was a nightmare (in the best possible way!) on so many levels.  It really stayed with me and has had me contemplating all the privileges we enjoy in countries with LGBTQ rights and protections.  Especially now, at a time when being queer in places like Russia, Chechnya, Uganda and Jamaica (to name a few) is still life-threatening.
I sat down with Blake Mawson recently to discuss his film and invite you to watch it first to get the full impact and then join our conversation.

CHARLIE DAVID: You’ve created a film that’s scary on so many levels. It excels as a horror film but it’s also a social commentary on the horrors that LGBTQ people have faced throughout history and still in countries around the world including our own. Was there any specific event that inspired you to make this film?

BLAKE MAWSON: Yes. I’d written PYOTR495 in January of 2014 after Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” bill had just been passed a month earlier, the Sochi Olympics were underway, and the media was bombarded with images of targeted abductions and attacks against LGBTQ people. I wanted to respond with a scenario that I felt could have empowered someone in these seemingly hopeless scenarios, and take that anger and frustration I was feeling and have it manifest on screen in an explosive way. Obviously, the problem didn’t stop after the foreign press left either. We’re now seeing an alarming, growing number of targeted abductions and attacks against LGBTQ people today globally.

Blake Mawson PYOTR495_Stills_6_lighter

From PYOTR495

CHARLIE DAVID: I’ve watched it a few times and I still get chills. The main character Pyrotr is on a dating app and there’s this revelation when he shows up for his date that he’s been lured here. Pyotr is asked if his friends know where he is and he responds no. I think there must be so many of us who have been in similar situations on a date or hook up. It gives you pause right?

BLAKE MAWSON: I think there’s always a risk that you take when you go to meet someone online. Sex is very private for many people, particularly if you are still in the closet and nobody would really know where you’d gone missing to if it was through a random online encounter. Discretion definitely aids Pyotr’s assailants in this particular scenario, as it has in many of the actual attacks which have taken place.

Blake Mawson PYOTR495_Stills_4

From PYOTR495

CHARLIE DAVID: Why was it important for you to create this layered exploration of some of the monsters in society?

BLAKE MAWSON: I suppose with the way things are going in today’s society, nothing’s really more frightening to me than the human race itself. The classic Hollywood boogie-men of film can no longer hold a flame to some of the monsters we have coming into power around the world today. In North America, we’re now faced with having the civil liberties of many of our friends, peers and loved ones revoked. The impending dread of what comes as result of the recent election feels more visceral and present than any horror film I’ve ever seen – the horror of a fractured system for so many has become a reality around the world.

CHARLIE DAVID: As you began sharing the film PYOTR495 at film festivals around the world what kind of reactions were you getting from audiences? Were they aware of the gay propaganda law in Russia?

BLAKE MAWSON: When we made the film, I think we had been naive to assume that many people would already be aware of the attitude towards LGBTQ people in Russia and the violent anti-gay abductions and attacks which the film had been based upon. Surprisingly, that was not the case at all. Many people did not know, but it allowed me to travel to festivals around the globe and talk about LGBTQ rights with an audience who normally may not be presented with, or consider that type of subject matter at genre festival. It allowed us to create discussion and raise awareness in the process of showing the film.

CHARLIE DAVID: Why was it important for the film to not become tragic?

BLAKE MAWSON: I think the LGBTQ community is incredibly resilient and has overcome so much throughout history and is unstoppable in so many ways. I wanted this film to reflect that spirit in an extreme way, an absolute refusal to sit down and just take whatever is thrown at us, and instead stand up and say ‘Actually, if you come for us, then you better watch out. You’re in for a big surprise.’ I believe that if you try to bury or oppress something for long enough, it’s eventually going to surface in ways you never imagined…

Blake Mawson PYOTR495_Stills_3

From PYOTR495

CHARLIE DAVID: How do you think the experience of LGBT dating is different for a person in Russia versus a country with LGBT rights?

BLAKE MAWSON: Dating in most cosmopolitan cities in North America for an LGBTQ person is a pretty privileged situation. In most cases, we don’t even need to think twice about how we present ourselves publicly or who knows about our sexuality, but there are still so many places in the world where it’s heavily frowned upon and/or dangerous to live openly or express affection in any kind of public way, and that includes conservative pockets of North America too. That type of fear exists for people outside of the Western bubble, and there’ll always be work to towards acceptance on a global scale.

CHARLIE DAVID: The film has been so well received at festivals around the world and picked up several awards along the way. Why is it important for the film to be seen and talked about now?

BLAKE MAWSON: With what we’ve seen is happening in Chechnya with the anti-gay purge and concentration camps for gay men, these human rights abuses by Chechen authorities where journalists covering the story are receiving death threats and being forced to flee the country – this is obviously a very clear sign that things are not getting any better and are in fact worsening in many parts of the globe. While I’m not claiming that our short film is solving any of world problems, I do think it is important that we use our voice as artists and as people in any way possible to draw attention to these injustices and continue to raise awareness.

I think if I can use genre-type film to put an audience in the shoes of the people who are experiencing this type of terror and hatred, make them uncomfortable and have them realize that this is actually not so make-believe in the end, that this type of horror is real – then we can begin to open people’s eyes and reach an audience in unexpected ways.

CHARLIE DAVID: It’s easy to become complacent in Canada or the USA or England or Australia when it comes to LGBTQ equality. How would you encourage others to look beyond our own borders to help in the struggle for freedom still being fought in so many places around the world?

BLAKE MAWSON: I would say to use your voice in whatever way you can. Continue to put pressure on your lawmakers and representatives to address these human rights issues directly with the leaders of countries who do not have human rights protections for LGBTQ people, email your Russian Embassy and let them know that you won’t sit quietly while this type of injustice is going on. Join in on local demonstrations and donate to organizations like the Russian LGBT Network and their emergency support program where they are helping to evacuate and provide support for vulnerable, at-risk LGBTQ people from Chechnya currently.

Get in touch with Blake Mawson through his social below. 

Blake Mawson by Eddie O'Keefe

Photo of Blake Mawson by Eddie O’Keefe.

pyotr495.com
facebook.com/pyotr495
twitter.com/pyotr495
instagram.com/blakemawson

If you enjoyed this interview with Blake Mawson, please consider sharing it!

For more context on the current state of where it’s still unsafe to be LGBTQ, check out the documentary film, Beyond Gay the Politics of Pride

It gives an excellent overview of LGBTQ rights around the world and places where the struggle is still very real.

 

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