Arts & Entertainment
2 min

The people have spoken

Undertow nets top prize at Vancouver's queer film fest

The 22nd Vancouver Queer Film and Video Festival’s curtain fell on Aug 22 with the presentation of awards at the closing gala.

Peruvian director Javier Fuentes-León copped the OutTV Peoples’ Choice Award for best feature for the moving Undertow.

The film is the tale of fisherman and father-to-be Miguel. His commitments to his Catholic faith, local village traditions and machismo culture are at odds with his unshakable feelings for his free-spirited gay lover, who dies in a boating accident.

Undertow also won the World Cinema Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Miami International Film Festival.

The OutTV Hot Pink Shorts Award went to director Jen Crothers for her piece Butch Tits.

“I’m really honoured,” Crothers told the closing gala crowd. “Thanks to everyone who took their clothes off for me.”

Former BC deputy premier and OutTV chairperson Joy MacPhail, who was on hand with OutTV CEO and husband James Shavick, presented the two prizes.

Cal Garignan’s Waiting 4 Goliath copped the Gerry Brunet Memorial Award, presented for the best short film or video by a British Columbian director.

The film is the story of Florian who, while waiting for his blind date at a café, bumps into Hassan, a charming but nosy ex-lover. The two end up rehashing some of the emotional highs and lows of their relationship.

The runner-up for the Brunet was author Karen X Tulchinsky for Ms Thing, a tale that offers up the ideal solution for finding satisfaction, featuring a cast and crew of local talent.

The award 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 queer film festival.

Out On Screen programmer Amber Dawn called this year’s festival an unqualified success.

Festival-goers are fully aware of the problems arts festival producers such as Out On Screen are facing in the wake of provincial government arts cuts, she notes.

“The turnout has been fantastic,” she says. “We’re getting very good support for some of our underdog programs like IndigeQUEER.”

Out On Screen executive director Drew Dennis announced the festival had raised $26,000 during its 11-day run this year.
“The festival has grown in leaps and bounds as a result of your generous response,” Dennis told the crowd before the screening of closing gala film Strella at Empire Granville 7 Cinemas.