Arts & Entertainment
1 min

Queer film fest honours best flicks

Were the World Mine takes top prize

DAZZLING. Were the World Mine, winner of the People's Choice Award, was so popular that festival organizers extended its run to three screenings. Credit: (

As the Vancouver Queer Film Festival dropped the curtain on its 20th annual event Aug 24, the best of the show were announced at the closing gala.

Director Tom Gustafson’s Were the World Mine took top honours at the 10-day celebration of queer film.

His work won the People’s Choice Award for best feature — a prize worth $1,500.

The film, Gustafson’s directorial debut, screened as part of the festival’s youth focus program. It tells the tale of high-school student Timothy, who is prone to escaping his dismal reality through dazzling musical daydreams. He discovers a love potion that turns much of his narrow-minded town gay.

Local filmmaker Claudia Morgado Escanilla’s work No Bikini was recognized with the festival’s first OutTV Hot Pink Shorts Award — a $750 prize.

Her work is based on a story by Xtra West contributor Ivan E Coyote, and it tells the tale of a seven-year-old who decides to go without her bikini top at a summer camp.

When it came time for the jury to select the winner of the Gerry Brunet Memorial Award, the process was a hard one.

In the end, the prize went to two films: Hirsute by AJ Bond and Writing the Land by Kevin Lee Burton.

Hirsute features a time-travelling scientist who encounters his future self. Writing the Land offers a meticulous study of language and landscape.

Escanilla’s No Bikini also received honourable mention from the Brunet award jury.

The $1,500 Brunet award is presented for the best short film or video by a British Columbian director. It is given in recognition of Gerry Brunet, a lifelong contributor to arts organizations and an early board member of Out On Screen, the society that produces the festival.

To highlight the festival’s milestone year, jurors presented the Vancouver Queer Film Festival’s 20th Anniversary Award to interdisciplinary artist, writer and activist Laiwan.

The $2,000 prize was awarded in recognition of Laiwan’s contribution to queer media in BC over the past two decades. Her multimedia exhibition, Loose Work, was displayed at the OR Gallery during the festival.

Check out a clip from Were the World Mine: