Bible documentary takes home Vancouver Queer Film Festival top prize

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Like mushrooms after rain, the inexorable follow-up to a film festival is the awards. 

      This year, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF) gave away over $50,000 in prizes to movies across local, international, and people’s choice categories—the top picks out of the 92 films from 27 countries that played at the festival. 

      “Thank you, Vancouver, for coming out and embracing our storytellers; your presence and warm reception had a profound impact on their festival experience,” said Charlie Hidalgo, artist director of Out on Screen and lead festival curator, in a statement. “We took a stand and committed to only showcasing stories made by our community, and the difference was felt by all who attended.”

      1946: The Mistranslation that Shifted Culture, from American director Sharon “Rocky” Roggio, won the inaugural $5,000 RBC Narrative Change Award for a documentary examining how “homosexuality” came to be added to the English translation of the Bible. 

      The film, which had its Canadian premiere at VQFF, also won a $2,500 cash prize for People’s Choice International Feature.

      “I am proud to be a part of a community that believes in the ability of storytelling to bridge gaps, foster empathy, and ignite meaningful dialogue,” said Roggio in a press release. “I am proud to be a part of a community that believes in the ability of storytelling to bridge gaps, foster empathy, and ignite meaningful dialogue.”

      Tabanca, Lauren Marsden’s short following a genderqueer Trinidadian woman in a Vancouver slump, won the Gerry Brunet Memorial Award: Best British Columbia Short, taking home $2,500 alongside a $15,000 camera package from Keslow Camera. 

      “It is a great honour to receive the Gerry Brunet Memorial Award and join the incredible list of past awardees. I am deeply proud of everyone on the Tabanca team who helped bring this story of self-love and queer Caribbean joy to life,” Marsden said in a release. 

      Three more films also received recognition as part of the People’s Choice Awards. This Place, from director V.T. Nayani, won $5,000 in the Canadian Feature category. Nayani’s debut feature film depicts two women falling in love, with the backdrop of intergenerational grief and care.

      Scaring Women at Night, from director Karimah Zakia Issa, netted a $20,000 camera package from Panavision as the favourite Canadian Short. The 10-minute film sees Ash, a trans man, trying to reckon with the dynamic he now has with women.

      And Foreign Uncle, from Sining Xiang, scooped a $2,500 cash prize for International Short for his 20-minute film in which a Chinese man brings his American boyfriend home to his family under a non-romantic guise, before accidentally coming out.

      “I am deeply moved by and immensely grateful for the support of the VQFF audiences,” Hidalgo concluded. “This 2023 edition of VQFF has been the most extraordinary and rewarding experience of my curatorial career.”