Tampa Bay International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Annual Award Winners

28th Annual (2017) Audience Awards

After Louie

Best Narrative Feature



Best Documentary Feature



Best Short Film


28th Annual (2017) Jury Awards

Narrative Feature

Tom of Finland

Director: Dome Karukoski, 2017, FINLAND

Tom of Finland shows how Touko Laaksonen’s real life experiences influenced his art. A compelling film on a largely unknown figure in LGBT history. (David Johnson)

Tom of Finland is a gorgeously textured film about the artist whose work prescribed the gay male standard of beauty and fetish fashion of the 1970's and beyond. In Touko (Tom) Laaksonen's illustrations, authoritarian figures are not despotic gay-bashing bullies, but rather hot and heroic guides of love. In spite of a flamboyant subject matter, the movie maintains a beautiful minimalism of detail and dialogue, depicting Tom as an unassuming man whose private need to render an imaginary utopia dripping with benevolent authority figures engaging in homoerotic acts, unknowingly spurred an empowered mass rebellion against repression and shame on another continent. In the film's culminating moment, Tom realizes that far away from the room in which he has been secretly toiling, he has achieved a sort of super-hero status. The film is thus more than a genius biopic, but is also a dramatic fantasy in which the viewer is invited to hope that someday an ordinary life might prove to be something more extraordinary than one could have envisioned. (Karin Wolf)


Runner-Up: THE WOUND
Director:  John Trengrove, 2017, South Africa

Interesting look at aboriginal culture and how it continues to survive in modern, urban environments near and around Johannesburg. (David Johnson)

The Wound is a very important film from a promising new director, John Trengrove. The story is set during a philosophical detente between the past and the future, the city and the wilderness, conformity and individuation, a tenuous peace occurring within the space and time of a Xhosa rite of passage ceremony. To a foreign viewer, the shock of witnessing male circumcision taking place without sterile conditions and anesthesia might seem a brutal price to pay for passage, but to keep perspective, it is helpful to consider our own coming of age rituals centered around unsupervised, disorganized, isolated, unceremonious roulette experiences that often result in death from suicide, murder, or some drug or alcohol related tragedy. From that lens, it seems enviable that in South African rural Xhosa communities, boys are collectively escorted into manhood by adult males via time-tested cultural rituals. Besides its importance as a ground-breaking film that provides the world of viewers the opportunity to witness a culture other than their own, The Wound is outstanding in its depiction of sexuality between men as a natural expression of love and desire. Ironically, as the filmmaker is outing this secret Xhosa ritual, the charged tension throughout this film is the threat of exposure of the central gay relationship by a young man for whom this particular experience of transition stands in agonizing contradiction to modern values that are powerfully alluring him away from the traditions of his ancestors. (Karin Wolf)

Documentary Feature


Director:  Catherine Gund & Daresha Kyi, 2017, USA

The documentary beautifully captures the intimacy and emotion of Chavela, mirroring the vibrant spirit of her life and music. (PJ Raval)

Fantastic old photographs and wonderful story work by the filmmakers to remind us of the great Chavela and her lasting influence. The film, tracing her adventurous rise and drunken fall, is filled with unfinished stories, old lovers. A great attempt to pluck Chavela from fading memory. (Prudence Browne)

Short Film


 Ryan White, 2016, USA

CRUISING ELSEWHERE is a formally daring - and thoroughly embodied - exploration of gay desire and the utopian possibility of that desire existing unabashedly in public. (Jules Rosskam) 

CRUISING ELSEWHERE is a gorgeous film, period. Through its narration as well as the formal choices the director makes, there's both a reclamation of a hidden history, as well as a reckoning with ghosts that persist in the present. (Nzingha Kendall)

Fabien Gorgeart, 2016, France

The acting is extraordinary and the period costumes and locations synch perfectly with the outstanding cinematography. (Nzingha Kendall)

Alan Ira Dusowitz Emerging Filmmaker Awards

The Friends of the Festival Fund was established in 2009 through the estate of Alan Ira Dusowitz. This endowment trust helps fund film programming content for TIGLFF.  In honor of Alan, TIGLFF will give annual awards for Best Emerging Film-maker in the categories of Full Length Feature Film and Short Film.


Feature Film Winner


Dating My Mother has great dialogue and very real characters with a really interesting family dynamic. Cute, funny, real. An accomplishment in directing. (David Johnson)


Short Film Winner


FOREIGN LOVERS captures the immediacy of desire and connection, especially when these things emerge simultaneously and without warning. It speaks to the ways in which lovers can open us to the world in new and life-affirming ways. (Jules Rosskam)

What I really enjoyed about the film was how timely it is in depicting the frustrations that people have with trying to connect. While it seems that technology has facilitated our ability to connect more often with more people, FOREIGN LOVERS shows how these connections can also be profoundly alienating. The chance meeting of the two main characters presents an opportunity for a real-life connection. What struck me was the suggestion that such connections don't necessarily have to last forever; nonetheless the fleeting nature of their encounter is not a reflection of its depth. (Nzingha Kendall)

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