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Smoking: Don't let it kill the vibe, Quit Vic and MQFF announce new film competition

Posted 10 Oct, 2018

Quit Victoria and the Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) are joining forces to help raise awareness of high smoking rates in the LGBTIQ community with a new short film competition, ‘Keep The Vibe Alive’.

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 that smoking rates in the LGBTIQ community are up to three times higher than those in the general population, partly because of tobacco company marketing exploiting queer popular culture.

“We are really excited to partner with MQFF to start a conversation about LGBTIQ issues related to smoking and to understand how we can empower members of the community to quit for good. This partnership is part of a broader alliance between Quit, Thorne Harbour Health and Minus18 working together to reduce the impact of smoking on the LGBTIQ community,” Dr White said.

“Research[1] has found that viewers of movies with LGBTIQ themes are exposed to one depiction of tobacco use every 15 minutes. This competition will, we hope, provide a new, community-driven way to challenge the idea that smoking is cool.”

Five successful pitches will each be awarded a $4,000 grant from Quit Victoria to develop their concept into a short film. Competition entrants must show in their films how cigarettes can interrupt and ‘kill the vibe’ of intimate or important moments.

MQFF Chief Executive Officer, Maxwell Gratton, said, “Quit Victoria has helped thousands of Victorians to quit smoking, and we are thrilled to see their commitment towards reducing smoking rates in the LGBTIQ community.”

“Our community has been targeted by the glamorising of smoking in queer popular culture for years; this competition will turn this around in a creative and empowering way and generate exposure and recognition for our talented filmmakers.”

The winning film will be chosen by a panel of judges from Quit Victoria, Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Minus18 and Thorne Harbour Health, based on criteria including innovation, creativity, relevance and relatability.

Minus18 Chief Executive Officer, Micah Scott, said, “Minus18 are proud to champion inclusive and supportive education programs that foster the development of healthy LGBTIQ young people."   

"We have a long history of running smoke-free events and we are pleased to be working with Quit Victoria to help young people make informed choices about smoking."

 Thorne Harbour Health Chief Executive Officer, Simon Ruth, said, “As an LGBTIQ community controlled organisation, we believe our communities need responses developed by us. Only our communities can lead us towards a healthy future. We are proud to support this initiative to raise awareness of high smoking prevalence and drive positive health outcomes through helping LGBTIQ people quit smoking for good.”

The winning filmmaker will win an additional $4,000 in prize money and their film will be shown before every screening at the 2019 Melbourne Queer Film Festival. The winner 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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