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Keep the Vibe Alive film comp winners revealed Sam and Millie tie for the trophy

Posted 12 Feb, 2019

The results of the 2019 Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) Keep the Vibe Alive film competition are in – it’s a draw between Fuming created by Sam McGowan and The Third Wheel by Millie Hayes.

Announced at tonight’s Melbourne Queer Film Festival Program Launch, both films uniquely highlight the issue of smoking in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer+ (LGBTIQ+) community, where smoking rates are more than three times higher than in the general population.

Fuming, a short film created by Sam McGowan of Forest Hill in Melbourne, is shot in black & white with classic Italian background music. All seems to be going to plan until the attractive smoker begins to cough and splutter, ruining the intimate moment.

While The Third Wheel by Canberra’s Millie Hayes illustrates a woman grappling with her smoking addiction. The addiction takes the form of a person dressed as a cigarette, ruining precious moments, as the cigarette follows the woman around.

Quit Victoria Director Dr Sarah White congratulated Sam and Millie on the win, and all the finalists and participants for using their creativity for a positive cause.

“Congratulations to Sam and Millie on being named the winners of the 2019 Keep the Vibe Alive film competition. With a mix of creativity, humour and shock, they’ve shown that it’s entirely possible to entertain and engage audiences, without portraying smoking as a glamorous or attractive activity as the film and entertainment industry so often does,” Dr White said.

“The competition attracted an incredible 4000-plus people who either watched or voted for their favourite film – this level of support is essential in helping Quit Victoria and our partners at MQFF, Minus18 and Thorne Harbour Health start a conversation about the normalisation of smoking in the LGBTIQ+ community and how we can change that for the health and wellbeing of all.”

Winning filmmakers Sam and Millie were awarded $4,000 each. Their films will also air before each 2019 Melbourne Queer Film Festival screening between March 14 and 25.

The other two Keep the Vibe Alive finalists were Sebastian Berto (Northcote, Victoria) with Worm Lurve, and Brigitte Haviland and Amber Kinnear (Camden, NSW) with their creation, Vibe-raters.

All four films were watched over 4200 times on YouTube and received over 1000 online votes collectively. The two winning films received the highest number of votes.

MQFF’s Program Director Spiro Economopoulos said “The finalists created award-worthy films which entertain, but also draw attention to smoking. With smoking rates being more than three times higher among the LGBTIQ+ community than the general population, MQFF is committed to working with like-minded organisations to help raise awareness. "

Screenwriter and member of the competition judging panel, Benjamin Law, said all four films were of an exceptional standard.

“We were blown away by the fact over 40 people entered the competition, and were even more staggered with the quality of the entries. We’re so grateful for everyone who invested their time and effort to support social justice across our communities. It was hard boiling those entries down to a shortlist, and it seems virtually impossible for voters to decide on a winner. Hence, why we have a tie” Law said.

Click here to watch Sam McGowan's winning film Fuming 

Click here to watch Millie Hayes' winning film The Third Wheel

See all four film finalists

About the competition and partnership

‘Keep the Vibe Alive’ is proudly supported by Minus18 and Thorne Harbour Health.

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 finalist or one of the organisations’ spokespeople, contact Lauren Allnutt, Quit Victoria Communications Coordinator, (03) 9514 6476.

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