VANCOUVER, August 21, 2023The Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF) is pleased to announce the 2023 Award recipients. $52,500 CAD in prizes will be distributed to 2SLGBTQIA+ filmmakers, with the highest accolades bestowed upon RBC Narrative Change Award winner director Sharon “Rocky” Roggio’s 1946: THE MISTRANSLATION THAT SHIFTED CULTURE (USA), who will receive a cash prize of $5,000 CAD and the Gerry Brunet Memorial Award: Best British Columbia Short winner director Lauren Marsden’s TABANCA, who will take home a cash prize of $2,500 CAD courtesy of the Directors Guild of Canada, BC plus a $15,000 CAD camera package from Keslow Camera.

“I am deeply moved by and immensely grateful for the support of the VQFF audiences. We saw more attendees this year than in pre-pandemic times. Thank you, Vancouver, for coming out and embracing our storytellers; your presence and warm reception had a profound impact on their Festival experience,” said Charlie Hidalgo, Artistic Director, Out On Screen. “We took a stand and committed to only showcasing stories made by our community, and the difference was felt by all who attended. This 2023 edition of VQFF has been the most extraordinary and rewarding experience of my curatorial career.”

“I am truly humbled and profoundly honoured to be the first recipient of the RBC Narrative Change Award. Thank you Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Out On Screen and RBC, for establishing this incredible award that uplifts the power of storytelling and its ability to reshape the very fabric of our society. I extend my heartfelt gratitude for this recognition to the jury who saw the power and potential in 1946: THE MISTRANSLATION THAT SHIFTED CULTURE. I am proud to be a part of a community that believes in the ability of storytelling to bridge gaps, foster empathy, and ignite meaningful dialogue,” said Sharon “Rocky” Roggio director of 1946: THE MISTRANSLATION THAT SHIFTED CULTURE.

TABANCA director Lauren Marsden commented, “It is a great honour to receive the Gerry Brunet Memorial Award and join the incredible list of past awardees. I am deeply proud of everyone on the TABANCA team who helped bring this story of self-love and queer Caribbean joy to life. Here’s to many more!”

$30,000 CAD in cash and prizes will be distributed amongst the winners for this year’s People’s Choice Awards. The 2023 winners are:

Canadian Feature
THIS PLACE dir. V.T. Nayani 
Includes a $5,000 CAD cash prize from the Canada Media Fund (CMF) 

Canadian Short
SCARING WOMEN AT NIGHT dir. Karimah Zakia Issa
Includes a $20,000 CAD camera package from Panavision 

International Feature
Includes a $2,500 CAD cash prize from Out On Screen 

International Short
FOREIGN UNCLE (China/USA) dir. Sining Xiang
Includes a $2,500 CAD cash prize from Out On Screen 

The 2023 jurors for the RBC Narrative Change Award were acclaimed film producer and Director of Transgender Representation at GLAAD, Alex Schmider; award-winning journalist and media personality Shar Jossell; and Firelight Media’s Documentary Lab Director, Lucy Mukerjee. 

Jury’s statement: 

The RBC Narrative Change Award goes to 1946: THE MISTRANSLATION THAT SHIFTED CULTURE, for its ability to excavate and deliver deep cultural revelations in a way that’s both educational and entertaining. 1946 is a film that the jury believes will help transform the worldviews of others, as it did them, and encourage necessary exploration and inquiry by all who watch it.”

The 2023 jurors for the Gerry Brunet Memorial Award: Best British Columbia Short were filmmakers V.T. Nayani (THIS PLACE), Gabe Gabriel (RUNS IN THE FAMILY), and Twiggy Pucci Garçon (MnM).   

Jury’s statement: 

The Gerry Brunet Memorial Award: Best British Columbia Short goes to TABANCA, a film that artfully explores the numbing ache of loneliness. Not the kind one feels when missing a single person but rather the kind that pulls one’s heart towards home — home as in community, culture, and self. Though universal, this is a quintessentially queer experience embodied here by a lead actor who communicates pain and hope in equal but subtle measure, and captured simply and beautifully through thoughtful direction and cinematography.”

Out In Schools is excited to add three films that screened at the VQFF to our Film Catalogue: Pete (USA) dir. Bret Parker, Twin Sparks (USA) dir. Ollie Yao, Heather Yun and MnM (USA) dir. Twiggy Pucci Garçon. These films will be screened online by educators, and in person with Out In Schools facilitators reaching approximately 10,000 youth over the course of the 2023-2024 school year.

This year, VQFF’s lineup exclusively showcased films by 2SLGBTQIA+ storytellers. Throughout the Festival, audiences attended in-person and virtual screenings and were captivated by 92 films from 27 countries, including 24 feature films and 10 World Premieres. In the festival, first, the Opening Presentation: Stronger Together, showcased six short films; the Centrepiece Presentation featured the Canadian Premiere of Sharon “Rocky” Roggio’s astonishing documentary 1946: THE MISTRANSLATION THAT SHIFTED CULTURE (USA) and Ian Gabriel’s RUNS IN THE FAMILY (South Africa) closed the Festival. 

The 2023 Festival programme was curated by VQFF Artistic Director Charlie Hidalgo; Festival Programmers Sarah-Tai Black and Rico Johnson-Sinclair; 2023 VQFF Programming Disruptor Fellowship recipients Jasmine “Audder” Monton, Romi Kim, and Eva Grant; Guest Programmer Simone Ling. 

Festival images and press materials can be downloaded here

The VQFF would also like to thank its generous partners for their support, including lead partner RBC Royal Bank, premiere partners Canada Media Fund, Rogers, Warner Bros. Discovery Access Canada and Telefilm Canada, signature partner Twin Sails Brewing, screening partners UBCP/ACTRA, Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, Herschel Supply Company and the Canadian Media Producers Association, festival funders Canada Council For the Arts, Government of Canada, City of Vancouver, Creative BC, The Province of British Columbia and British Columbia Arts Council, cultural partner SFU Woodward’s, exclusive technical partner 24 Frames Digital Films, transportation partner Modo, exclusive media partner CBC Vancouver, advertising partner Western Media Group and festival supporters bed, Vancouver Civic Theatres, MT+Co, IATSE Local 891,, James Goodman, Black Screen Office and ACFC West, Local 2020 Unifor. 


Media Contact
Laura Steen
Route 504 PR 

About Out On Screen

Out On Screen is a charitable organization that illuminates, celebrates, and advances queer lives through film, education, and dialogue. The Vancouver Queer Film Festival creates a dynamic platform for queer cinema that reflects a diversity of experiences while connecting and strengthening our communities. The award-winning Out In Schools program brings age-appropriate queer cinema into school classrooms to combat homophobia, transphobia, and bullying, and to provide the language and tools for inclusion. Out On Screen is proud to be among the leaders in Canada working to create an equitable society where sexual and gender diversity are embraced.