Without insulting the calibre of judges at last week’s My Queer Career short film competition, winner Kristian Pithie has faced tougher critics.

They may not have the CVs of former Eat Carpet producer Joy Toma or the educated passion of The Movie Show‘s Fenella Kernebone, but the children who have also judged Pithie’s Oranges know what they like.

And if a film’s got two boys kissing in it, it had better be good.

Oranges is a story about the bizarre circumstances leading to a young teenaged boy’s first kiss.

The main character -“ a picture of long-limbed adolescent awkwardness -“ meets a slightly older boy when he crashes his bike and gives himself concussion.

It has screened at children’s, mainstream and gay and lesbian festivals worldwide, winning a best youth award at the prestigious Oberhausen international short film festival in Germany.

But Pithie did not set out to make a film for young audiences.

It was kind of deliberate that it doesn’t have any adults in it, but at the same time I didn’t look at it as a kid’s film, he says.

I thought, -˜God, this will never get into kid’s festivals.’ But that hasn’t been the case at all.

Accepting his prize at the State Theatre on Thursday 17 February, Pithie said Oranges was just a moment in time, explaining to Sydney Star Observer it was autobiographical with a bit of dramatic licence.

It was also a story that a lot of people could relate to, he said.

Your first kiss often happens at the most unexpected time, and with the most unexpected person.

Oranges was one of eight finalists in the annual Queer Screen My Queer Career competition.

Pithie said he was extremely impressed by the standard of this year’s entries, particularly Vicki Sugars’s Moustache and Craig Boreham’s Transient.

When I saw Transient I thought it was a shoo-in. I thought, -˜There goes Oranges.’ And Moustache blew me away, I thought it was a fantastic film.

Pithie said he would continue to show Oranges to diverse audiences, as long as people want to watch it.

I have a broad sense of where it’s going -“ I just want it to be seen by the most amount of people it possibly can.

The 2005 Mardi Gras Film Festival runs until Thursday 3 March. Bookings and information are available online at www.queerscreen.com.au.

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