Home Activism Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival – Filmmaker Awards Announcement

Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival – Filmmaker Awards Announcement


The Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF)
announces award winners for 30th Anniversary 
edition of the film festival 

Damon Cardasis’s SATURDAY CHURCH 
is named Best Narrative Feature


Arshad Khan’s ABU wins Best Documentary Feature

Dome Karukoski’s TOM OF FINLAND (Narrative) and 
Rebecca Adler’s TRANS YOUTH (Documentary) takes home 
the aGLIFF Audience Awards

aGLIFF 2017 - Awards - Arshad Khan 9.9.17 (Photo by Erica Rich)
Arshad Khan accepting his award for Best Documentary
Feature (Photo by Erica Rich)

Austin, TX (September 12, 2017) – On Sunday, September 10, the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF) announced the award winners for the 30th edition of the film festival prior to the Closing Night screening of Daniel Powell and Elizabeth Rohrbaugh’s BECKS at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – South Lamar. Damon Cardasis’s SATURDAYCHURCH took home the award for Best Narrative Feature, and Arshad Khan’s ABU was named Best Documentary Feature. The following day, it was announced that Dome Karukoski’s TOM OF FINLAND (Narrative), and Rebecca Adler’s locally-produced documentary TRANS YOUTH won the festival’s Audience Awards.

The TRANS YOUTH team (L to R: Tony Costello (Editor), Hannah Haley (subject),
Pater Haley (subject), Rebecca Adler (Director), Elliot (subject),
Seb Sterling (subject), Winn Ellinger (subject), David Lovas (Titles))
(Photo by Erica Rich)

aGLIFF Program Director Jim Brunzell, said, “Our awards presentation this year was the culmination of a wonderful 30th anniversary for aGLIFF. A number of attending filmmakers came to Austin to enjoy the fest with so many film fans that have seen countless films here through the years in addition to quite a few people enjoying the fest for the first time. As they say, we had the best of both worlds this year, and the reception by the audiences and the lively discussions at our Q&As reflected that enthusiasm. As with everything about the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival, our award winners demonstrated that diversity reigns here – whether it be with the filmmakers, the audiences, or the subjects of the films themselves.”

The award presentations were made by Brunzell and the attending festival jurors, which included Lisa Donato (SIGNATURE MOVE), Jimmy Flannigan ((Austin City Councilman, District 6), John Livingston (former aGLIFF programmer), Jen Richards (“Her Story”), Kristian Salinas (QFest), Jeffrey Schwarz (THE FABULOUS ALLAN CARR), Jeremy Teel (CBS Houston), and Bridgid Wheeler (Indie Memphis). ABU’s director Arshad Khan was rushed from an emotional screening of his film ABU just in time to hear his name called and gave an equally emotional acceptance speech.

Arshad Khan gets a congratulatory hug from Lisa Donato as
Jeffrey Schwarz looks on (Photo by Erica Rich)

Other winners included; Pouria Heidary Oureh’s APRICOT GROVES receiving a “Special Jury Mention” in the feature film category; Elegance Bratton’s WALK FOR ME named as “Best Narrative Short Film”; Michelle Fiordaliso’s THE STREETS ARE OURS: TWO LIVES CROSS IN KARACHI won “Best Documentary Short Film”; and Caitlin Stickels’s TWO BIRDS taking the award for “Best Student Film.”


The 30th Annual Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival began in high style with a heartfelt introductory welcome from Austin Mayor, Steve Adler, prior to the screening of Frances Lee’s award winning, GOD’S OWN COUNTRY. The festival’s screenings included full contingents of cast and crew from Anthony J. Caruso’s BROTHERLY LOVE, and Travis Mathews’s DISCREET, as well as a number of the documentary subjects from Adler’s TRANS YOUTH, a special 4K 30th Anniversary (dovetailing nicely with the fest’s 30th) presentation of James Ivory’s classic, MAURICE, and the first double feature presentation of documentarian Schwarz’s work (THE FABULOUS ALLAN CARR/WRANGLER: ANATOMY OF AN ICON). aGLIFF also added two red carpet entrances to the proceedings this year as the resurgence of the festival in recent years became very evident to anyone present in the Alamo Drafthouse’s main lobby area or any of the fest’s events and parties.

For more information on aGLIFF, go to


aGLIFF – The Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival – was founded in 1987 and became a 501(c)3 in 1995. This year we celebrate 30 years of programming for the Austin community. aGLIFF has grown tremendously in size and scope from a short four-day run of four films primarily focused on coming out and AlDS to a multifaceted nonprofit organization with year-round community programs culminating in our annual film festival program with over 100+ films depicting a myriad of issues across cultures, race, immigration status, class, gender identity and expression, age, and religion.

Our goals:
To create positive and visible film programs relevant to lives of LGBTQ+ identified people
To educate the community about LGBTQ+ issues
To produce and promote the best in LGBTQ+ community building events
To support and partner with other organizations to enlighten the public

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and TV Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board as a chief organizer of the Television Critics Association’s press tours, held twice a year in Beverly Hills and Pasadena. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and the Desert Aids Project, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been an active member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.