The Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) has encouraged people across Australia to vote for their favourite finalist in the ‘Keep The Vibe Alive’ short film competition.

The competition, which was launched in October last year by MQFF and Quit Victoria, aimed to highlight smoking rates in the LGBTI community by asking filmmakers to submit a written pitch for the production of a 60-second short film challenging the perception that smoking is attractive.

Now that the finalists have been chosen and four short films have been produced, MQFF are calling on the general public to vote for their favourite.

Each finalist received a $4,000 grant to develop their short film, and the ultimate winner will receive an additional $4,000.

Program Director at MQFF, Spiro Economopoulos, highlighted the diversity in the short films produced.

“The final videos ranged in style and focus with subject matter from Ghostbusters to topical legislative changes,” he said.

“The competition finalists have taken their $4,000 grants and created impactful works of art, which is a credit to the creative abilities of each entrant.”

Smoking rates in the LGBTI community are up to three times higher than those in the general population, with recent research from Sydney finding that 48 per cent of 16 – 24 year olds reported using tobacco.

Manager of Health Promotion at Thorne Harbour Health, Adam Hynes, said he was interested to see who the Australian public chose as the competition winner.

“Shortlisting the finalists was a particularly challenging task,” he said.

“These creative filmmakers have done a stellar job of portraying how smoking really does kill the vibe in important moments.”

Screenwriter Benjamin Law and a panel of judges from Quit Victoria, MQFF, Minus18, and Thorne Harbour Health selected the finalists, from a field of more than 40 entries.

Voting is open until Tuesday 5 February at 10:00am (AEDT) on the MQFF website: mqff.com.au/votevibe. The film winner will be announced at MQFF’s Program Launch on Tuesday 12 February, and their concept will air before every screening at MQFF 2019.

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