QFest 2020 Honors

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The John Steven Kellett Freedom of Vision Award

September 27, 2020 (HOUSTON, TX) – QFest presented its juried awards yesterday, honoring the Iranian documentary GRACEFULLY with this year’s top prize, The John Steven Kellett Freedom of Vision Award. Directed by Arash Es’haghi, GRACEFULLY tells the story of an 80-year-old man looking back at happier times in his life as a female impersonator before the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The 24th Annual Houston International LGBTQ Film Festival, hosted by Cinenso, is being held virtually September 24 – 28 in Houston and across North America, EU countries and Australia. Please see below for the complete list of 2020 QFest Jury Prizes.

There are five juried prizes awarded, with the option for a sixth prize awarded in a technical category:

The John Steven Kellett Freedom of Vision Award (Top Prize)


An 80-year-old dairy farmer recounts his time as a female impersonator performing traditional female ballads and dances on stage for decades before the 1979 Iranian Revolution banned public dancing.

Grand Jury Prize Best Feature


A group of women in Khartoum are determined to play football professionally. Their quixotic efforts to become officially recognized as Sudan’s National Woman’s team is at times tragicomic, but always fearless and inspiring.

Best Short Film


Since childhood, Léa has had recurring visions of a pack of terrifying deer with blazing red eyes. Now an adult and in a relationship with Maud, Léa’s visions return and with greater force, threatening her relationship, and her grip on sanity.

Best Director (Feature)


Best Performance/Ensemble or Subject (Feature)


A young woman’s funeral brings together a disparate group of mourners, most of whom await the return of her father. But as his return is delayed and the days drag on, one mourner exposes the disturbing relationship between father and daughter.

Special Jury Prize for Cinematography


Additionally, members of the Houston Film Critics’ Society vote each year to select their own Best Picture winner. The winner of The Houston Film Critics’ Society’s Award for Best Picture is 5 MINUTES TOO LATE (Romania)


A stubborn, arrogant police captain and an equally stubborn, idealistic investigative reporter each attempt to gain control over the public narrative surrounding the vicious beating of a young man by far-right anti-gay extremists, engaging in questionable tactics in an effort to thwart each other. Meanwhile, the young man clinging to life becomes increasingly forgotten amid their power struggle.

The Audience Awards for Favorite Feature and Favorite Short will be announced immediately following the conclusion of QFest.

Six features and seven shorts comprised this year’s competition. A total of twelve individuals who have distinguished themselves for their commitment to advancing the arts, advancing film, and/or advancing causes on behalf of the LGBTQ communities served on this year jury. 2020 jurors are:

Byron Canady

Houston, TX

Owner & Creative Director: Colorbox Multimedia; SWAMP Board of Directors

Ladies Dewald (Rebekah & Demetrea Dewald)

Los Angeles, CA

Independent Filmmakers; 2014 QFest Alumnus: LET THE RECORD SHOW

Trey Ferguson

Houston, TX

Projectionist, MFAH

James Hays

Houston, TX

Writer & Arts Administrator

Jasmine Jones

Alexandria, VA

Independent Film Curator & Consultant, J² Productions

Lisa Jones

Austin, TX

Writer & Editor; Board of Sightlines Magazine


Houston, TX

Artist, Performer, Filmmaker, Educator, and Legislative Policy Advisor

Robin Mack

Houston, TX

LMT, 200YRT; Co-creator of the GENDER book

Debra Millar

Los Angeles, CA

Consultant, Volunteer, Freelance Production

Roger Palomino

Houston, TX

Actor, Producer, Writer, Director; Outreach Director, Houston MediaSource

Stalina Villarreal

Houston, TX

Community College Faculty; Producer, Woman of Steel Productions


Dedicated to promoting the arts as a powerful tool for communication and cooperation among diverse communities by presenting programs by, about, and of interest to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

QFest is a sponsored project of Aurora Picture Show, a 501c3 presenting artist-made, non-commercial film and video, and dedicated to expanding the cinematic experience and promoting the understanding and appreciation of the moving image.

QFest is generously supported by The John Steven Kellett Foundation and funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.

www.facebook.com/QFestHouston/ | www.q-fest.com | www.aurorapictureshow.org

https://cinenso.com/qfest_20 / #haatx | #houstonMOCA