Out on Film, Atlanta’s annual celebration of LGBTQIA+ cinema, has named the winners of its 2020 jury and audience awards. For the first time in its 33 years, the festival was held virtually. Thanks, COVID-19.
The 11-day event drew more than 9,500 viewers and reached 482 ZIP codes, 39 states and three countries, according to festival director Jim Farmer (an ArtsATL contributor). The numbers will likely rise as organizers factor in how many people from each household watched films, how a weekend encore of viewings fared and how well Facebook events did.
The 2019 in-person festival, by comparison, attracted more than 10,000 filmgoers.
Twilight’s Kiss from Hong Kong was, perhaps, the biggest winner. Writer-director Rey Yeung took the jury and audience prizes for best international film and Tai-Bo won the jury award for best actor. He plays a man who drives his taxi all day, goes home to his wife at night and has occasional family dinners with his children and granddaughter. His life changes when he meets a long-divorced man with an adult son. Cautiously, the two elders hook up, enjoy time together at a gentlemen’s sauna and shop for groceries on a stolen weekend like long-marrieds.
The French film Two of Us, a dramatic comedy directed and cowritten by Filippo Meneghetti, took the jury awards for best narrative feature and best first film. It follows Nina and Madeleine, two retired women who’ve been secretly in love for decades. Everyone assumes they’re simply neighbors, sharing the top floor of their building, until an unforeseen event turns their relationship upside down and leads Madeleine’s daughter to unravel their truth. A complete list of winners is below:
BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE: Two of Us. Runner-up: the U.S. film Shiva Baby, directed by Emma Seligman.
BEST DOCUMENTARY: Britain’s Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story, directed by Posy Dixon. Runner-up: The Capote Tapes, directed by Ebs Burrough.
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM: Twilight’s Kiss. Runner-up: Chile’s Los Fuertes (The Strong Ones), directed by Omar Zuniga Hidalgo.
BEST FIRST FILM: Two of Us. Runner-up: Shiva Baby.
SPECIAL JURY AWARD FOR WEB EXCELLENCE: The U.S. Web series After Forever, Season 2, directed by Tina Cesa Ward.
BEST DRAMATIC SHORT: Britain’s Wings, directed by Jamie Weston. Runner-up: The U.S. film Two Little Boys, directed by Farbod Khoshtinat.
BEST DIRECTOR: Hidalgo for Los Fuertes (The Strong Ones). Runner-up: Meneghetti for Two of Us.
BEST SCREENPLAY: The U.S. film Give or Take by Paul Riccio and Jamie Effros. Runner-up: The U.S. film Cicada by Matthew Fifer and Sheldon D. Brown.
BEST ACTOR / FEMALE: Robyn Lively for Through the Glass Darkly (USA) and Alexandra Grey for Gossamer Folds (USA).
BEST ACTOR / MALE: Tai-Bo for Twilight’s Kiss. Runner-up: Antonio Altamirano for Los Fuertes.
BEST ENSEMBLE: The U.S. films Give or Take and Milkwater.
This year’s jury included actor-writer Ben Baur (Hunting Season, #Adulting); Sound Unseen Festival director Jim Brunzell; journalist Richard Eldredge; director Leo Hollen Jr. (Queer Moxie); director Erica McCarthy (Damn Good Dog); director KJ Mohr (Annie Complex), an adjunct professor at George Mason University; director Tony Osso (The Devotion Project series); and actor-director Doug Spearman (From Zero to I Love You, Hot Guys With Guns).
BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE: The U.S. film Breaking Fast, directed by Mikr Mosallam. Runner-up: Cicada.
BEST DOCUMENTARY: Surviving the Silence, directed by Cindy L. Abel of Atlanta. Runner-up: Britain’s Steelers: The World’s First Gay Rugby Team, directed by Eammon Ashton-Atkinson.
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM: Twilight’s Kiss. Runner-up: Namibia’s Kapana, directed by Philippe Talavera.
BEST LOCAL SHORT: Cowboy Joe, directed by Darryl Dillard.
BEST WOMEN’S SHORT: The U.S. film Natural Disasters, directed by Connie Shi. Runner-up: The U.S. film Discovering Brooklynn, directed by Aliya Brooks.
BEST MEN’S SHORT: Two Little Boys. Runner-up: Britain’s S.A.M., directed by Eyre and Ely.
BEST TRANS SHORT: Argentina’s The Name of the Son, directed by Martina Matzkin. Runner-up: Britain’s My Dad Marie, directed by Maj Jukic.
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