News & Reviews

Melbourne Queer Film Festival announces Jury Award Winners and launches MQFF+

The 32nd Melbourne Queer Film Festival is thrilled to announce the winners of this year’s Jury Awards, highlighting the richness of storytelling and the breadth of original talent.

The City of Melbourne Award for Best Australian Short Film valued at $5,000 goes to Beautiful They, directed by Cloudy Rhodes. This winner also qualifies as MQFF’s original selection for the Iris Prize – the largest prize for the LGBTIQ+ short films worldwide. Dreamily shot in warm, vibrant colour, and sustained with an atmospheric, almost ethereal synth score, Beautiful They is a queer surf romance that enamours with delicate intimacy.

Beautiful They also walked away with the Blackmagic Design Award for Cinematography, for cinematography by Jordan Maddocks, receiving a DaVinci Resolve Micro Panel – valued at $1,569.

The VicScreen Award for Best Director Australian Short Film Prize of $2500 is Sparkles directed by Jacqueline Pelczar, telling the story of a 30-something woman with Down Syndrome who leaves her past behind and runs away from a small country town for the city, making an unlikely friendship with an Outback Drag Queen.

The Blackmagic design award for Technical Excellence goes to director Jacquelynn Auger for Pause, the story of 17-year-old Rosie who returns to her rural hometown after two years, for one night to attend her grandmother’s funeral. With less than 12 hours till she leaves, Rosie attempts to mend the broken heart of her middle school sweetheart, Jamie. Jacquelynn receives the DaVinci Resolve Editor Keyboard – valued at $1,124.

The Shaun Miller Lawyers Award for Best Australian Documentary Short goes to The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone, (pictured above) which reveals the memories of Georgie, an Australian transgender teen as she helps change laws, affirms her gender, finds her voice and emerges into adulthood.

The MQFF Award for Best First Feature Narrative goes to Joyland, directed by Saim Sadiq. Based on the short Darling (winner of the Best International Short at MQFF 2021) Joyland follows the Ranas, a happily patriarchal joint family, as their youngest son secretly joins an erotic dance theatre where he falls for an ambitious trans starlet. Joyland takes home $2,500 in prize money.

The MQFF Award for Best Feature Documentary was snapped up by Uyra: The Rising Forest, directed by Juliana Curi. Also winning $2,500 in prize money, this awe-inspiring documentary explores the life and work of trans non-binary Indigenous artist, Uýra, shot in the breathtaking Amazon Rainforest.

The MQFF Award for Best International Short Fiction or Documentary is Warsha, directed by Dania Bdeir, which took home $1,000 prize money. Warsha is the story of Mohammad, a crane operator working in Beirut who volunteers to take on one of the tallest and notoriously most dangerous cranes in Lebanon. Away from everyone’s eyes, he is able to live out his secret passion and find freedom.

The Step Right Up Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film will be announced in the coming week.

MQFF CEO David Martin Harris said: “We are so grateful for the support we receive from our partners which helps make these awards possible. This year’s MQFF program is full of important stories from the LGBTIQ+ community and I’d like to thank everyone who helped make it possible to bring these stories to the big screen.”



MQFF32 may be over for this year, but everyone can still binge a prime selection of titles from the program with MQFF+, which brings program highlights directly to homes right across Australia, including features and documentaries, available to stream from 21 –27 November.

MQFF+ highlights include:

8 Years, 2021
8 Years explores the relationship of Jose and David — past lovers who reunite on the island where they first met.

All Man: The International Male Story, 2021
This documentary tracks three decades of the catalogue’s unlikely but lasting impact on fashion, masculinity, and sexuality in America.

Black As U R!, 2020
In this highly incendiary documentary, filmmaker Michael Rice interweaves contemporary racial politics with an autobiographical look into his own upbringing in the American south, unearthing the queerphobia prevalent in many black communities.

Blitzed!, 2022
Directed by Bruce Ashley and Michael Donald (UK) – Blitzed traces the evolution of the eponymous London nightclub through the eyes of club regulars Boy George, Princess Julia, Spandau Ballet and more.

Chrissy Judy, 2022
This devilishly dark comedy follows a New York drag queen on a quest to reinvent himself.

Mars One, 2022
A lower-middle-class Black family tries to keep their spirits up and their dreams alive in the months that follow the election of Jair Bolsonaro, a President who represents everything they are not.

My Emptiness and I, 2022
Follow Raphi through this confusing period, as she makes her transition, explores her sexuality and embraces her place in this world.

Private Desert, 2021
A tale in two parts – lovers who’ve not met, separated by miles of desert – a journey of transcendence, of knowing one’s true desires. Set against a backdrop of provincial conservatism in contemporary Brazil, Private Desert is a journey of the heart that will change Sara and Daniel forever.

A range of MQFF+ Film Passes are available to suit different budgets, including a household price to share films among those at home. The best way to experience MQFF+ is to purchase a multi-film-passes. With significant discounts and ease of booking, MQFF passes are a passport to a world of queer cinema available to stream, anywhere.

MQFF+ 3 Film Pass – 9% discount per ticket
MQFF+ 5 Film Pass – 20% discount per ticket

The Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) is the biggest and longest-running queer film festival in Australia, screening the best Australian/International queer films. MQFF aims to engage the community with the best LGBTIQ+ content in order to educate, entertain and celebrate diversity. MQFF is proudly supported by government partners: The City of Melbourne, The City of Stonnington and VicScreen; as well as major partners: ME Bank and Chapel Street Precinct Association.

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