Trans & Lesbian Films Sweep Awards
qFLIX Worcester 2019: New England’s LGBTQ+ Film Festival returned for its third year of presenting LGBTQ+ film to the Worcester region on October 10-13, at the historic Bull Mansion, 55 Pearl St., Worcester, with community partners Worcester Pride and Boston Pride.
Producers James Duggan and Bill Egan, along with producer emeritus, Thom Cardwell, proudly presentedthe four-day festival to bring the latest and greatest of LGBTQ+ indie as a vital cultural event during the city’s fall season.
Duggan stated that “every year we consciously seek to find LGBTQ+ voices among the world’s filmmakers who have tackled a wide range of topics from the complexities of relationships to their struggle for acceptance, tolerance, freedom, equality, human and civil rights, and this year was no exception – just under 30 films from US, UK, Canada, Ireland and France, to name a few!”
Beyond the films, Duggan further stated that the producers see qFLIX Worcester as a communal experience and a time when individuals can be recognized for their exceptional contributions to the betterment of the lives of the LGBTQ+ community in New England’s second largest city with special awards in addition to filmmakers for their exceptional talent in the art of filmmaking. Three awards were presented on opening night, along with four audience awards to filmmakers during the closing night ceremonies. “These awards are a significant part of the mission of qFLIX Worcester and an opportunity to honor the best and brightest contributors to the city’s LGBTQ+ community,” explained Duggan.
As part of Opening Night ceremonies, the qFLIX Worcester 2019 Harvey Milk Community Service Award was presented to Stacy Lord and Laura Marotta. “Stacy and Laura are both working artists, painting and sculpting and are frequently exhibited in local shows and sold for charitable auctions,” qFLIX wrote about the award. “Both are heavily immersed in Worcester’s LGBTQ+ community, working on a consistent basis with Worcester Pride, Safe Homes, and Love Your Labels to make Worcester a more inclusive, a safe place for all its residents and visitors.” Lord is an active member of the National Art Education Association and has served on the board of the Massachusetts Art Education Association for many years and serves on the board of Love Your Labels. Marotta currently serves as president of the Massachusetts Art Education Association and also serves on the board of Love Your Labels. Partners in life and art, they are the innovative force behind Creative Hub Worcester, a non-profit organization that will provide equitable access to art and creative opportunities for the Greater Worcester community, with a focus on youth who are at-risk or underserved (www.creativehubowrcester.org).
“Stacy and Laura are rare examples of community advocacy in action,” Duggan stated prior the presentation of the award. “Like Milk once said, ‘Hope is never silent.’ This is so true when it comes to the hope our two recipients share with others.”
Following the conclusion of the opening night film, FROM ZERO TO I LOVE YOU, the qFLIX Worcester 2019 Artistic Achievement in Directing Award was presented tothe film’s director, Doug Spearman, who you may recognize from numerous film and television appearances including his role as Dr. Chance Counter on LOGO’s groundbreaking series, NOAH’S ARC. At a recent meeting in Philadelphia, Mr. Spearman made this statement after expressing how he “wanted to make a movie about the Philly that I saw since I was a kid. Being from Washington, D.C., I’ve been coming to Philadelphia my whole life. But it wasn’t till I was here showing my first film that I really saw Philly. Saw all the beautiful side streets and the alley ways and the still thriving colonial heart of this city. I also wanted to make a film about an African American who didn’t need a white savior. There are no saviors in the film. People stand and fall by their own decisions and actions in the film. Learning who you are when things fall apart is very important to me. Especially when things fall apart because of love.” During his acceptance speech Mr. Spearman stated, “I am so honored to receive this award and so proud that this film is the opening night selection of qFLIX Worcester 2019…it means a lot to get this award while attending a LGBTQ+ film festival in a true All-American town.”
During the presentation of the qFLIX Worcester 2019 Audience Awards on closing night of the festival, October 13, there was a first! In the history of qFLIX, this is the first festival that no cisgender gay male film won an award; trans & lesbian films swept the awards!
The audience awards are based on audience votes using the “qFLIX” app.
This year’s winners are as follows:
- Best Short Film: BATHROOM TROLL, directed by Aaron Immediato, USA, Transgender
- Best New Media-Web Series: NUN HABITS, directed by Monica Arsenault, USA, Cisgender Lesbian
- Best Documentary: JACK & YAYA, Directed by Mary Hewey & Jen Bagley, USA, Transgender
- Best Feature Film: HUCKLEBERRY, Directed by Roger Hill, USA, Transgender