The 32nd Melbourne Queer Film Festival has announced the winners of this year’s Jury Awards, highlighting the richness of storytelling and the breadth of original talent.
The City of Melbourne Award for Best Australian Short Film valued at $5,000 goes to Beautiful They, directed by Cloudy Rhodes. The winner also qualifies as MQFF’s original selection for the Iris Prize – the largest prize for the LGBTIQ+ short films worldwide.
Dreamily shot in warm, vibrant colour, and sustained with an atmospheric, almost ethereal synth score, Beautiful They is a queer surf romance that enamours with delicate intimacy.
Beautiful They also walked away with the Blackmagic Design Award for Cinematography, for cinematography by Jordan Maddocks, receiving a DaVinci Resolve Micro Panel – valued at $1,569.
The VicScreen Award for Best Director Australian Short Film Prize of $2500 is Sparkles directed by Jacqueline Pelczar, telling the story of a 30-something woman with Down Syndrome who leaves her past behind and runs away from a small country town for the city, making an unlikely friendship with an Outback Drag Queen.
The Blackmagic design award for Technical Excellence goes to director Jacquelynn Auger for Pause, the story of 17-year-old Rosie who returns to her rural hometown after two years, for one night to attend her grandmother’s funeral. With less than 12 hours till she leaves, Rosie attempts to mend the broken heart of her middle school sweetheart, Jamie. Jacquelynn receives the DaVinci Resolve Editor Keyboard – valued at $1,124.
The Shaun Miller Lawyers Award for Best Australian Documentary Short goes to The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone, which reveals the memories of Georgie, an Australian transgender teen as she helps change laws, affirms her gender, finds her voice and emerges into adulthood.
The MQFF Award for Best First Feature Narrative goes to Joyland, directed by Saim Sadiq. Based on the short Darling (winner of the Best International Short at MQFF 2021) Joyland follows the Ranas, a happily patriarchal joint family, as their youngest son secretly joins an erotic dance theatre where he falls for an ambitious trans starlet. Joyland takes home $2,500 in prize money.
The MQFF Award for Best Feature Documentary was snapped up by Uyra: The Rising Forest, directed by Juliana Curi. Also winning $2,500 in prize money, this awe-inspiring documentary explores the life and work of trans non-binary Indigenous artist, Uýra, shot in the breathtaking Amazon Rainforest.
The MQFF Award for Best International Short Fiction or Documentary is Warsha, directed by Dania Bdeir, which took home $1,000 prize money. Warsha is the story of Mohammad, a crane operator working in Beirut who volunteers to take on one of the tallest and notoriously most dangerous cranes in Lebanon. Away from everyone’s eyes, he is able to live out his secret passion and find freedom.
The Step Right Up Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film Dragged Up – directed by Laura Jayne Tunbridge, receives a $1,000 cash prize. Dragged Up is powerful and fabulous comedy about family, identity and drag.
“We are so grateful for the support we receive from our partners which helps make these awards possible,” said MQFF CEO David Martin Harris. “This year’s MQFF program is full of important stories from the LGBTIQ+ community and I’d like to thank everyone who helped make it possible to bring these stories to the big screen.”
For more information about MQFF, visit: www.mqff.com.au for details.
Image: Morgan Davies in Beautiful They (supplied)
Melbourne Queer Film Festival 2022 Awards Winners:
Step Right Up Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film:
Dragged Up – directed by Laura Jayne Tunbridge
City of Melbourne Award for Best Australian Short Film:
Beautiful They – directed by Cloudy Rhodes
VicScreen Award for Best Director, Australian Short Film:
Sparkles – directed by Jacqueline Pelczar
Blackmagic Design Award for Technical Excellence:
Pause – directed by Jacquelynn Auger
Blackmagic Design Award for Cinematography:
Jordan Maddocks – Beautiful They
Shaun Miller Award for Best Australian Short Film Documentary:
The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone – directed by Maya Newell
MQFF Award for Best First Feature Narrative:
Joyland – directed by Saim Sadiq
MQFF Award for Best First Feature Documentary:
Uýra: The Rising Forest – directed by Juliana Curi
MQFF Award for Best International Short Film, Fiction or Documentary:
Warsha – directed by Dania Bdeir