Announcing the Award Winners!

August 26, 2008

At the Closing Gala Ceremonies the 20th Anniversary Vancouver Queer Film Festival announced the winners of the Vancity enviro Visa People's Choice Award for Best Feature, the OUT tv Hot Pink Shorts Award - both chosen by audience members during the 11 day festival - and the Gerry Brunet Memorial Award, selected by a jury of artists and film curators.

The visually stunning musical Were the World Mine by director Tom Gustafson took the People's Choice Award for Best Feature. The film tells the tale of high school student Timothy, prone to escaping his dismal reality through dazzling musical daydreams, and his discovery of a love potion that turns much of his narrow-minded town gay. Were the World Mine is Gustafson's feature directorial debut and was screened as part of the Vancouver Queer Film Festival's youth focus program. The film proved so popular that a third screening was added during the festival. Vancity enviro Visa generously provides the $1500 prize for the audience's choice for best feature film.

Local filmmaker Claudia Morgado Escanilla took home the festival's first Out tv Hot Pink Shorts Award for her charming film, No Bikini. Based on a story by Ivan E Coyote, the film is about a seven year old who decides to go without her bikini top at a summer camp, with surprising results. The film was screened twice during the festival, once as part of the KinderKino family program and again at the annual The Coast is Queer program. OUT tv provides the $750 prize for the audience's choice for best short film.

The jurors for the Gerry Brunet Memorial Award had a difficult time selecting a winner from among the worthy entries this year, an indication of the quality of the short films the festival now screens. In the end the prize went to two deserving films: Hirsute by AJ Bond and Writing the Land by Kevin Lee Burton. Hirsute features a time-travelling scientist who encounters his future self while Writing the Land offers a meticulous study of language and landscape. Claudia Morgado's No Bikini received honourable mention from the jury. The Gerry Brunet Memorial Award is awarded for the best short film or video by a British Columbian director and is given in recognition of Gerry Brunet, a lifelong contributor to arts organizations and an early Board member of Out On Screen. The award is worth $1500 ($500 cash and $1000 in production services courtesy of Technicolor).

In addition to the annual festival film awards, interdisciplinary artist, writer and activist Laiwan was the proud recipient of the Vancouver Queer Film Festival's 20th Anniversary Award. The award, a $2000 prize, was presented to Laiwan in recognition of her contribution to queer media in BC over the past two decades. Laiwan's multi-media exhibition LOOSE WORK was at the OR Gallery during the festival.

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