The Derek Oyston CHE Film Awards
CHE, in association with the London
Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, presented the Derek Oyston CHE
Film Awards for five years running, from 2009 to 2013. The awards were for "the film screened in the
London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival which most reflects the aims and
objectives of CHE."
2013: two prizes awarded
First prize: Taboo... Yardies, directed by Selena Blake
It’s not illegal to be gay in Jamaica but legal
sanction is the least of your worries. Jamaican society is profoundly and
murderously homophobic. This utterly compelling account of how ordinary LGBT
people exist under these conditions was filmed on the island itself.
Extraordinary stories of violence and the constant living in fear make for
sometimes uncomfortable viewing. Interview subjects tell of the casual and
relentless attacks; their faces are digitally obscured because there is nowhere
for an openly gay person to be safe on the island. The relationship between
dancehall culture and some of its notorious artists is well known. Using
interviews with a wide range of Jamaicans and leading cultural figures in
exile, this is a wide-ranging film which explores how Jamaica got to be this
way, and how some people are working for change.
Second prize: Intersexion, directed by Grant Lahood
in 2,000 is born with genitalia so ambiguous that no-one can tell if the child
is male or female. Mani Bruce Mitchell, New Zealand’s first ‘out’
intersex person, takes us on a journey to meet some of those people. Most of
the participants in Intersexion suffered numerous surgeries and treatments
since birth in an attempt to ‘fix’ them and make their bodies fit the
male/female binary. All now identify as neither male nor female. Their stories
are often heartbreaking, frequently hilarious but always eye-opening. A
powerful and important film which needs to be seen because, as Mani Bruce
Mitchell says, ‘I hope this documentary will show everyone that the ‘shame
and secrecy’ model hasn’t worked – and that intersex children can grow up
to make informed choices about their own bodies.’
2012: two prizes awarded
First prize: 365 Without 377, directed by Adele Tulli
under British colonial rule, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code criminalised,
among other things, homosexuality. In July 2009 the Delhi High Court repealed
the clause in a landmark decision. Tulli, who graduated in South Asian Studies
and has worked on several activist projects in India and Europe, follows three
defiant Indian activists as they head to the first anniversary celebrations of
the scrapping of 377 and share their personal stories, experiences of fighting
the clause, and consider what a year of legalised homosexuality has brought.
Second prize: This is What Love in Action Looks Like, directed
by Morgan Jon Fox
In the summer of 2005, parents
of gay teenager Zach Stark packed their son off to Love In Action, an ex-gay
ministry purporting to cure gay youths of their homosexual desires. Documenting
the ordeal on his Myspace blog, word of Zach’s situation spread rapidly
throughout the community, and as a small group of protesters began to grow
outside the organisation, it was not long before the mainstream media showed an
interest in Zach’s story and began to question the damaging nature of
fundamentalist ex-gay programmes. Six years in the making, Morgan Jon Fox’s
passionate documentary chronicles one of the most controversial cases in recent
gay history, featuring interviews with the former director of Love In Action,
several ex-clients and Zach himself. Whilst undoubtedly a sad and often
shocking tale, this is ultimately a film about hope, celebrating the power of
the community to rally together and incite political change.
For more about why these films were chosen, see
our Press Release dated 2 April 2012.
2011 winning film: Mutantes (Punk Porn Feminism)
April 2011, CHE announced the winner of this year's Derek Oyston Film Award as
Mutantes (Punk Porn Feminism). Ian Stewart, one of CHE's team of
judges, presented the cerfificate and the cheque for £2,000 to Nazmia Jamal,
to be passed on to the director, Virginie Despentes.
Mutantes assembles a stunning array of personal archives and
constructed footage, presenting punk interventions from leading players at the
very forefront of the pro-sex movement, and closing with an experimental
The 90-minute documentary airs the insights of expressive women in the sex
industry – many now important feminist cultural figures – with recent work
by performance and lens-based artists in
America and Europe, bundled amidst the observations of eminent scholars of
This year CHE also nominated a runner-up. On the 3rd of April, Nettie
Pollard, another of the judges, announced that
the runner-up is We Were Here, directed by David Weissman, a
heart-warming account of the San Francisco gay community’s early mobilisation
around the AIDS epidemic, at a time when treatments were unknown.
For more details see our press releases:
(23 March (longlist),
30 March (shortlist) and
3 April (final results).
Following the showing of the film on 21st March 2010, the
certificate, and a cheque for £2,000 was presented by Griffith Vaughan
Williams, Secretary of CHE, to Nazmia Jamal, a programmer for the Film
Festival, to be passed on to the film's director, Mathilda Piehl.
Particularly inspiring in light of changes in the law that happened after
this film was made, this is a documentary about SMUG (Sexual Minorities
Uganda), a group of radical LGBT activists who risk their lives in order to
push for queer rights.
See also our press release.
2009 winner: Darling!: the Pieter-Dirk Uys Story
The award of £2,000 was presented to the film's director, Julian Shaw, at
at the main screening of the film in the LLGFF by CHE's Vice-President, the
Broadcaster, Television Reporter and Gay Rights Campaigner Ray Gosling.
The other nominated films were:
Place to Live: The Story of Triangle Square Dir Carolyn Coal
Deferred: The Sakia Gunn Project Dir Charles B Brack
Fig Trees Dir John
Greyson and David Wall
This Our Lives: The Reunion Dir Topher Campbell
Summer in New Paltz, a Cautionary Tale Dir Nancy Nicol
Out Late Dir Beatrice
Alda and Jennifer Brooke
Sex Positive Dir
Dir Elliat Graney-Saucke
The CHE Film Award jury members in this inaugural year are:
- Griff Vaughan Williams, Media Officer of CHE
- Emma Smart, LLGFF Programmer
- Nettie Pollard, a founding member of Feminists Against Censorship and CHE
Executive Committee member.