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On Sunday, September 10, the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF) announced the award winners for the 30th edition of the film festival prior to the Closing Night screening of Daniel Powell and Elizabeth Rohrbaugh’s BECKS at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – South Lamar. Damon Cardasis’s SATURDAY CHURCH took home the award for Best Narrative Feature, and Arshad Khan’s ABU was named Best Documentary Feature. The following day, it was announced that Dome Karukoski’s TOM OF FINLAND (Narrative), and Rebecca Adler’s locally-produced documentary TRANS YOUTH won the festival’s Audience Awards.

Arshad Khan speaks after receiving his award for ABU (Photo by Erica Rich)

Arshad Khan speaks after receiving his award for ABU (Photo by Erica Rich)

aGLIFF Program Director Jim Brunzell, said, “Our awards presentation this year was the culmination of a wonderful 30th anniversary for aGLIFF. A number of attending filmmakers came to Austin to enjoy the fest with so many film fans that have seen countless films here through the years in addition to quite a few people enjoying the fest for the first time. As they say, we had the best of both worlds this year, and the reception by the audiences and the lively discussions at our Q&As reflected that enthusiasm. As with everything about the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival, our award winners demonstrated that diversity reigns here – whether it be with the filmmakers, the audiences, or the subjects of the films themselves.”

TOM OF FINLAND - winner of the aGLIFF Audience Award for Narrative Feature

TOM OF FINLAND – winner of the aGLIFF Audience Award for Narrative Feature

The award presentations were made by Brunzell and the attending festival jurors, which included Lisa Donato (SIGNATURE MOVE), Jimmy Flannigan (Austin City Councilman, District 6), John Livingston (former aGLIFF programmer), Jen Richards (“Her Story”), Kristian Salinas (QFest), Jeffrey Schwarz (THE FABULOUS ALLAN CARR), Jeremy Teel (CBS Houston), and Bridgid Wheeler (Indie Memphis). ABU’s director Arshad Khan was rushed from an emotional screening of his film ABU just in time to hear his name called and gave an equally emotional acceptance speech.

The TRANS YOUTH team (L to R: Tony Costello (Editor), Hannah Haley (subject), Pater Haley (subject), Rebecca Adler (Director), Elliot (subject), Seb Sterling (subject), Winn Ellinger (subject), David Lovas (Titles)) (Photo by Erica Rich)

The TRANS YOUTH team (L to R: Tony Costello (Editor), Hannah Haley (subject),
Pater Haley (subject), Rebecca Adler (Director), Elliot (subject),
Seb Sterling (subject), Winn Ellinger (subject), David Lovas (Titles))
(Photo by Erica Rich)

Other winners included; Pouria Heidary Oureh’s APRICOT GROVES receiving a “Special Jury Mention” in the feature film category; Elegance Bratton’s WALK FOR ME named as “Best Narrative Short Film”; Michelle Fiordaliso’s THE STREETS ARE OURS: TWO LIVES CROSS IN KARACHI won “Best Documentary Short Film”; and Caitlin Stickels’s TWO BIRDS taking the award for “Best Student Film.”

aGLIFF 2017's Best Narrative Feature: SATURDAY CHURCH

aGLIFF 2017’s Best Narrative Feature: SATURDAY CHURCH

The 30th Annual Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival began in high style with a heartfelt introductory welcome from Austin Mayor, Steve Adler, prior to the screening of Frances Lee’s award winning, GOD’S OWN COUNTRY. The festival’s screenings included full contingents of cast and crew from Anthony J. Caruso’s BROTHERLY LOVE, and Travis Mathews’s DISCREET, as well as a number of the documentary subjects from Adler’s TRANS YOUTH, a special 4K 30th Anniversary (dovetailing nicely with the fest’s 30th) presentation of James Ivory’s classic, MAURICE, and the first double feature presentation of documentarian Schwarz’s work (THE FABULOUS ALLAN CARR/WRANGLER: ANATOMY OF AN ICON). aGLIFF also added two red carpet entrances to the proceedings this year as the resurgence of the festival in recent years became very evident to anyone present in the Alamo Drafthouse’s main lobby area or any of the fest’s events and parties.

A lot of documentary filmmaker love: ABU's Arshad Khan gets a hug from Lisa Donato as Jeffrey Schwarz looks on (Photo by Erica Rich)

A lot of documentary filmmaker love: ABU’s Arshad Khan gets a hug from Lisa Donato as Jeffrey Schwarz looks on (Photo by Erica Rich)

For more information on aGLIFF, go to http://agliff.org.