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Calling all filmmakers: $24k in grants, prizemoney & MQFF screenings up for grabs

Posted 9 Nov, 2018

Benjamin Law joins judging panel for Keep The Vibe Alive comp

Filmmakers have less than one week left to get their entries in for the ‘Keep The Vibe Alive’ competition, and have their short film seen by prominent screenwriter Benjamin Law.

Five finalists will share in $24,000 in grants and prizemoney, and the winner will have their film shown before every screening at the 2019 Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF).

The competition, from Quit Victoria and the MQFF, aims to raise awareness of high smoking rates in the LGBTIQ community. Entries close Thursday 15 November.

MQFF Chief Executive Officer Maxwell Gratton said the competition is an incredible opportunity for filmmakers.

“Keep The Vibe Alive is a fantastic opportunity for up-and-coming filmmakers to go through the whole process of pitching a concept, receiving a grant to create a film and having it seen by tens of thousands of people throughout MQFF,” Mr Gratton said.

“And with entries closing in just a few days, we’re delighted to announce that well-known screenwriter Benjamin Law will join the panel of judges in choosing the winning entry, which will be shown before every screening at the 2019 MQFF.”

Research [1] has found that viewers of movies with LGBTIQ themes are exposed to one depiction of tobacco use every 15 minutes.

So to enter, filmmakers must submit a written pitch for production of a 60-second short film promoting health and wellbeing and challenging the perception that smoking is attractive.

Quit Victoria Director, Sarah White, said it’s a great way for creative minds to highlight the need to tackle smoking rates in the LGBTIQ community.

“People in the LGBTIQ community are up to three times more likely to smoke than those in the general population. Given that smoking kills two in three long-term users, this is a health issue we’re really keen to shine a light on,” Dr White said.

“Emerging and established filmmakers have the chance to get really creative and use their films to flip the script and show how cigarettes are not romantic – in fact, they can interrupt and ‘kill the vibe’ of intimate or important moments.

“We’re eager to use this competition as a way to create new, community-driven concepts which challenge the idea that smoking is attractive.”

Five successful pitches will be awarded a $4,000 grant from Quit Victoria to develop their concept into a short film. Benjamin Law and a panel of judges from Quit Victoria, Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Minus18 and Thorne Harbour Health will select the winner who will receive another $4,000 in prizemoney.

The winner will be chosen based on criteria including innovation, creativity, relevance and relatability, and will be announced at the Festival launch on Tuesday 12 February 2019.

For more quitting advice, visit or call the Quitline on 13 7848. Quit Specialists are trained to deliver smoking cessation advice to the LGBTIQ community in a culturally appropriate and accessible way.

‘Keep The Vibe Alive’ is a competition designed in partnership by Quit Victoria and Melbourne Queer Film Festival and proudly supported by Minus18 and Thorne Harbour Health. Details of how to enter can be found here: 

Quit Victoria is a partnership between VicHealth, the State Government of Victoria and Cancer Council Victoria. For more information, visit:

Melbourne Queer Film Festival is Australia’s oldest and largest LGBTIQ film festival and celebration of the moving image. For more information, visit:

Minus18 is Australia's largest LGBTIQ youth network. The charity creates social change, mobilises community support and smashes queerphobia through their youth-led events, workshops and campaigns and by delivering education resources nationwide. We aim for an Australia where all LGBTIQ young people feel safe, included and belong. For more information, visit:

Thorne Harbour Health is a community controlled organisation, governed by our members, and working for our sex, sexuality and gender diverse communities. For more information, visit:

If you would like to arrange an interview with a competition entrant or one of the organisations’ spokespeople, contact Shannon Crane on 0432 157 270.

[1]   Out smoking on the big screen: Tobacco use in LGBT movies, 2000–2011 (

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