The month of June is recognized as LGBTQ Pride Month. Each year, Audience Awards hosts our LGBTQ Shorts Film Festival, open to short films that speak to identity, sexuality, and gender. Here are the top three jury-selected winning films from this year’s 2018 LGBTQ Shorts Film Festival.
The winners were decided on by the global audience and the LGBTQ Shorts jury panel including: Christine Dávila, Creative Executive at Stage 13, an original, digital-first content brand of Warner Bros; Nico Raineau, LGBTQ 2017 winner and award-winning filmmaker; James Featherston, leader of all content acquisitions and tactical analysis for Cinedigm’s various digital networks: Dove Channel, CONtv, Docurama, and COMBAT GO; Robert Hébert, LGBT marketing lead for AT&T; Patricia Rozema, distinguished and award-winning writer/director and member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In first place is Ivan Olita’s short, Muxes. Muxes is a piece documenting the far reaches of the southern state of Oaxaca where, in the indigenous communities around the town of Juchitán, the world is not divided simply into males and females. The local Zapotec people have made room for a third category, which they call “muxes” – men who consider themselves women and live in a socially sanctioned limbo between the two genders. Olita talked with us about the making of Muxes and where he drew inspiration for the short. Olita explained,
I was attending a seminar with Werner Herzog and one of the attendees showed us a short piece about LA VELA which is a very big Muxes parade and competion that is being held every year in Juchitan, Oaxaca at the end of wich a reina (queen) is elected. I was immediately struck by these characters and wanted to know more about them. That video was a couple of minutes long and didn’t really go in depth so I felt the urge to discover more. I wanted to know about their daily lives beyond la Vela. After going about my life a couple of months later, I stumbled upon a Ny times article about them when the whole bathroom controversy sparkled in the U.S and I knew that it was a reminder for me to go and discover more. The next day I entered pre-production.
In second place is Igor Coric’s film, Teagan. Teagan is a story of transition – from male to female, and from despondency to happiness. Using recorded interview material and representative artwork, this short touches on the fear and loneliness of living in the closet, and the joy and confidence that comes with stepping into the light.
In third place is Iconoclast by Alex Haney, a story of a mixed-race African-American, Jewish, and gay teenager who struggles to find himself as living visions of his internal battle threatening to tear his world apart. Inspired by the director’s personal journey, this film seeks to ignite conversations about the multicultural and intersectional experience in America. Haney talked with us about some of the difficulties and triumphs behind making the film. Haney told us,
Writing Iconoclast was an incredible experience where I found a way to express and explore the multicultural LGBTQ experience using magical realism, something I hadn’t seen before very much in film and television. Making it was a wonderful challenge which really pushed me and my crew to the next level as we strategized how to mix the conventional with the unconventional and the tangible with the abstract. One of the most rewarding experiences during production was my relationship directing Malik Adjuia Smith-Thompson, who plays the lead. He was always ready to explore and play on camera, and always surprised and amazed me with each take. There were definitely challenges that came up along the way and required some quick thinking to overcome, and I was very lucky to have my DP/Producer/Editor Nicole Rodriguez and first AD Matt Carieri there by my side.
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