Quit Victoria, the Melbourne Queer Film Festival and Thorne Harbour Health are calling on budding filmmakers across the country to create works addressing the impacts of smoking in our LGBTIQ communities, with their new short film competition QuitFlicks.

With smoking rates in the LGBTIQ community more than double the national average, the short film competition—which is now in its second year—is a fantastic way to not only raise awareness, but also empower our communities to make positive changes in our lives.

“We’re thrilled to partner with MQFF again and continue the conversation about how we can empower the LGBTIQ community to reduce smoking rates.” said Quit Victoria Director Sarah White.

“This partnership is part of a broader alliance between Quit and Thorne Harbour working together to promote wellbeing within the community.”

One of last years winning films, Third Wheel by Mille Hayes, was shown at the opening of Melbourne Queer Film Festival films during the 2019 season.

Themed ‘Cope and Connect Without the Smokes’, all that filmmakers need to do to enter this years QuitFlicks is pitch a 60 second short film idea. The film needs to challenge the perception that the LGBTIQ community need cigarettes to cope and connect, as well as promoting health and wellbeing.

“Smoking within the LGBTIQ community is used to cope with social anxiety,” Dr White said, “and smokes are a way to connect with others socially, as well as managing stress in people’s lives. We want filmmakers to address these challenges and find alternatives to coping and connecting without cigarettes.”

Four of the successful pitches will be awarded a grant of $6,000 grant from Quit Victoria to develop their concept into a short film, a short interview with an LGBTIQ community member who has quit smoking and a photo pack. 

Not only will the winning filmmaker and runner up’s works be shown before every season of MQFF 2020, they will also win an additional $6,000 and $3,000 respectively in prize money, and have their films form part of a community-driven public education initiative that will not only give the filmmakers work greater exposure, but help reduce smoking within our community.

“Last year’s competition drew some brilliant submissions and kickstarted the career of some of our talented filmmakers.” MQFF Chief Executive Officer Maxwell Gratton said.

“Given the historical glamorising of smoking in queer popular culture, this partnership is a fantastic initiative to tackle a serious issue in a creative and empowering way.”

Judges from Quit Victoria, MQFF, Thorne Harbour Health and creative studio Catch the Bird will be assessing works that innovation, creativity, relevance and diversity. Like the other winning short film from last years competition, Fuming by Sam McGowan.

Got an idea for a film that you would like to make? Then find out more at www.quit.org.au/quitflicks.

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