Winners Revealed for Out Film CT's 37th Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival

The festival included 70+ features, documentaries and short films across in-person and virtual screenings.

By: Jul. 02, 2024
Winners Revealed for Out Film CT's 37th Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival
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Out Film CT recently brought down the curtain on the annual Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival, which included 70+ features, documentaries and short films across in-person and virtual screenings. Out Film CT, the organizers of state's oldest and most diverse film event, has announced the winners of the prestigious Jury Award and Audience Awards for the thirty-seventh installment of this festival featuring the work of LGBTQ filmmakers and storytellers from around the globe.

Festival Director Shane Engstrom states, "Our audience enthusiastically embraced the return of the festival to June, and they appreciated the opportunity to watch the best of LGBTQ+ cinema from all over the world. Based on the extremely high Audience Award scores, it’s clear that our audience embraced these international stories, awarding their top three picks to films from Spain, Austria and Belgium."

The Audience Awards recognize the films that received the highest scores from audience balloting.

The Audience Award winners for 2024 are:

Audience Award - Best Feature

  • Winner: Love & Revolution (Spain)
  • Runner Up: What A Feeling (Austria)
  • Honorable Mention: Young Hearts (Belgium)

Love & Revolution, which was the festival opener, is a smart and sassy comedy about a young man who comes out with the help of a group of revolutionaries, and the transformation of his very traditional mother into a surprisingly active crusader for LGBTQ rights in 1977 Spain. What a Feeling features a successful doctor who suddenly faces numerous life-changing events when she falls for an independent, free-spirited handywoman who is unable to come out to her aging mother. Young Hearts, the festival’s closing night film, is a beautifully crafted film about the awesome power of youthful love.

Audience Award - Best Documentary Feature

  • Winner: Hidden Master: The Legacy of George Platt Lynes (USA)
  • Runner Up: Lesvia

Hidden Master: The Legacy of George Platt Lynes is a fascinating documentary about one of the first openly gay American artists, a gifted photographer of stunning male nudes who associated closely with Gertrude Stein and Alfred Kinsey. Lesvia chronicles 40+ years of conflict between the residents of a small village on the Greek island of Lesvos and the lesbians who traveled there searching for love, freedom and community.

Audience Award - Best Short

  • Winner: The Eighth Day (USA)
  • Runner Up: The Dinner (Spain)
  • Honorable Mention: Totems (France)

In The Eighth Day, two gay Jewish men are new parents to a baby boy, but when grandparents, family and friends arrive on the eighth day expecting a traditional bris, they discover that’s not what the dads have in mind. In The Dinner (La Cena), a gay young man attempts to come out to his completely clueless parents with hilarious results. In Totems, when Bastien dies, his friends scramble to get to the apartment before his mother does so they can remove his prodigious collection of sex toys.

Out Film CT's panel of jurors selected the following films for the 2024 Jury Awards:

Jury Award - Best Feature

  • Winner: Listen Up! (Norway)
  • Special Mention: Sebastian (UK)

In Listen Up!, a goofy, awkward, yet ultimately loveable 13-year-old Pakistani immigrant living in Norway uses his wickedly offbeat sense of humor to decode integration, gender identity, class, and family dynamics. The Festival Jury selected Listen Up! "for its original concept and an unflinching commentary on racism, religion and class, as well as the cast’s fantastic comedic performances." The Jury also recognized Sebastian for its original storytelling that blended a modern exploration of the sex work industry and inter-generational relationships.

Jury Award - Best Documentary

  • Winner: Hidden Master: The Legacy of George Platt Lynes (USA)

Hidden Master: The Legacy of George Platt Lynes, also selected as the audience’s favorite documentary, was praised by the Festival Jury "for bringing to light the life one of the first openly gay American artists, nearly forgotten by history. Both his art and his life were noteworthy, and we are thankful that his work and his story were preserved. We also hope that this film will renew interest in exhibiting his masterful work in galleries across America."

Jury Award - Best Short

  • Winner: Totems (France)
  • Runner Up: Some Kind of Paradise (USA)
  • Special Mention: If (India)

Totems tells the story of friendship, and the lengths to which close friends will go to preserve the honor and memory of their loved one. The Festival Jury was impressed by the strong performances of the entire cast, the universal message of the film, and the flawless delivery of both humor and sentimentality. Some Kind of Paradise was a modern romance showing how love can be sparked in the most unlikely of places and can lead to lasting change. If tells the story of two women separated by arranged marriage, but destiny brings them to a strange crossroad in life.

The Rising Star Award recognizes a filmmaker who the jury believes has demonstrated outstanding potential based on the quality of their first or second feature film. The award is funded through a bequest from the late Pamela Connelly, a longtime member of Out Film CT and film festival volunteer.

The 2024 Rising Star Award was given to Canadian writer/director M.H. Murray for his film I Don’t Know Who You Are. Out Film CT Festival Director Shane Engstrom states, "M.H. Murray has received accolades for his web series Teenagers, which he has written and directed from the age of 23. By writing, directing, producing and editing his first feature film, Murray has elevated his artistry and has demonstrated an impressive ability to bring compelling stories to life. We look forward to seeing more feature films from Murray in the years ahead.”

The Director’s Award, selected by festival director Shane Engstrom, is being presented to Anthony Schatteman, writer/director of Young Hearts. Engstrom states, "Young Hearts is a highly personal story based on the filmmaker’s own life growing up in rural Belgium. While Anthony wasn’t able to attend the festival in person, his pre-recorded Q&A bridged the distance and resonated with our audience, as Anthony shared the behind-the-scenes details and motivations that they were eager to hear about. He said that he ‘made the movie that I needed to see when I was young’ after he struggled with his own sexuality at a young age and couldn’t find the answers he needed from home, school, books and movies. We agree that this was the movie we all needed at that age.”

Best Ensemble Award

  • Winner: The Fuscos (USA)

For the first time, the Out Film CT Jury has awarded a Best Ensemble Award to the cast and crew of the short film The Fuscos. Engstrom shared, “The Jury was very impressed by the cohesive performances in the film, and it was clear from the cast and crew’s presence at the festival that their close relationships went far beyond their roles. Their film and their presence brought joy, smiles and laugher.” 

Out Film CT would like to acknowledge the generosity of the 37th Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival major sponsors: Title Sponsor The Greater Hartford Arts Council, Diamond Sponsors J. Walton Bissell Foundation, Roberts Foundation for the Arts, and The LGBTQ+ Justice & Opportunity Network; Platinum Sponsors: Webster Bank and Hartford HealthCare.

Out Film CT’s mission is to entertain, educate and promote community through the exhibition of LGBTQ film. A volunteer, nonprofit cultural organization, Out Film CT is dedicated to presenting outstanding LGBTQ cinema and other theatrical events throughout the year, culminating in the nine-day Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival. Connecticut’s largest LGBTQ cultural event holds a special place in our state’s cultural landscape, bringing the community together to introduce, celebrate and rediscover the ideas and values that make the LGBTQ community unique. Out Film CT also presents the monthly Queer Thursdays film series in partnership with Cinestudio, usually shown on the second Thursday of each month.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Film Factory


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