Four talented filmmakers have been announced as the finalists in the QuitFlicks short film competition and will now bring their short films challenging smoking in LGBTIQ communities to life.

Congratulations Millie Hayes from the ACT, and Teddy Darling, Hugh Murray and Rosie Pavlovic from Victoria. Each have received a $6000 grant to develop their written concept into a short film that the public will then vote on.

“The creativity and originality of the finalists’ pitches makes us really excited to see these concepts brought to life on screen,” MQFF Program Director Spiro Economopoulos said. “It’s a reflection of the incredible creative talent we have in this country.”

This is the second year of QuitFlicks, launched by Quit Victoria, the Melbourne Queer Film Festival and Thorne Harbour Health, which asks filmmakers to address issues of coping and connect with cigarettes in our communities, creating work that addresses the challenges faced.

‘The quality of the scripts made it extremely difficult to select only four,” Quit Victoria Director Sarah White said. “We’re confident in the finalists’ abilities to bring their diverse pitches to life and looking forward to viewing the final product.

“Each concept explores a very different way to combat smoking in our LGBTIQ communities,” Thorne Harbour Health Chief Executive Simon Ruth said, “and all four tackle a very serious topic in an ingeniously imaginative way.”

Now it’s time for the finalist film makers to go from the drawing board to production, with some beginning filming of their one-minute short film this weekend.

“I’m really passionate about trans representation in film and the arts so that’s what I wanted to bring straight off the bat,” Finalist Teddy Darling told the Star Observer. “I’m in a team with two other trans and non-binary people, and together we have come up with a concept which doesn’t make people feel guilty about smoking, because when people feel isolated or not respected, that’s when they have a smoke.

“Instead, we decided to make something that helped people feel good about themselves and supported in understanding why they would make this decision to smoke, looking at how they can be compassionate with themselves. But that’s all I am going to say because I don’t want to give anything away.

“We would never have had this opportunity to tell this kind of story without the QuitFlicks short film competition. All of our main crew and cast are trans and gender diverse, so the grant money is going back into community and back into emerging artists and people that want to develop a career in film. Quitflicks has really motivated us to continue to grow our ideas.”

Once complete the four short films we be open to a public vote, with the winning film screened at the opening of Melbourne Queer Film Festival 2020 Sessions.

Click here to see last year’s winning films and find out more about QuitFlicks.

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