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Two Winners for Film Competition

The votes have been counted, and it's a tie! Two filmmakers, Sam McGowan & Millie Hayes, were announced as winners for the Keep the Vibe Alive film competition at this week's 2019 Melbourne Queer Film Festival Program Launch.

The Keep the Vibe Alive film competition asked filmmakers to submit film pitches that would highlight the issue of smoking among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer communities - where smoking rates are more than three times higher than the general population and often 'kill the vibe'.

After receiving over 40 pitches, screenwriter Benjamin Law and a panel of judges went on to selected four finalists to go into production. Each finalists received a $4000 grant to produce their film. The four films created were then released for a public vote. You can see all four films here. The final films were viewed over 4200 times and with over 1000 votes online, there were not just one, but two films receiving the highest number of votes.

Fuming, a short film created by Sam McGowan of Forest Hill in Melbourne, is shot in black & white with classic Italian background music. All seems to be going to plan until the attractive smoker begins to cough and splutter, ruining the intimate moment.

While The Third Wheel by Canberra’s Millie Hayes illustrates a woman grappling with her smoking addiction. The addiction takes the form of a person dressed as a cigarette, ruining precious moments, as the cigarette follows the woman around.

The winning filmmakers, Sam and Millie, were awarded $4,000 each. Their films will also air before each 2019 Melbourne Queer Film Festival screening between 14-25 March 2019.

MQFF’s Program Director Spiro Economopoulos said “The finalists created award-worthy films which entertain, but also draw attention to smoking. With smoking rates being more than three times higher among the LGBTIQ+ community than the general population, MQFF is committed to working with like-minded organisations to help raise awareness. "

Screenwriter and member of the competition judging panel, Benjamin Law, said all four films were of an exceptional standard.

“We were blown away by the fact over 40 people entered the competition, and were even more staggered with the quality of the entries. We’re so grateful for everyone who invested their time and effort to support social justice across our communities. It was hard boiling those entries down to a shortlist, and it seems virtually impossible for voters to decide on a winner. Hence, why we have a tie” Law said.

The Keep the Vibe Alive short film competition was led by Quit Victoria and Melbourne Queer Film Festival with support from Thorne Harbour Health and Minus18.

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