Press Release: Derek Oyston Film Prize: winner announced
3 April 2011
The Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) has presented a major film award to the shocking début documentary Mutantes (Punk Porn Feminism) directed by cutting-edge French cultural activist Virginie Despentes. In complete contrast, the runner-up is We Were Here, directed by David Weissman, a heart-warming account of the San Francisco lesbian and gay community’s early mobilization around the AIDS epidemic, at a time when treatments were unknown.
“Mutantes is a very challenging film,” said George Tregaskis, one of CHE’s three judges for the £2000 Derek Oyston Film Prize. “However, through lively deliberation with the British Film Institute, our panel determined that of all the amazing films screening at the 2011 London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, this colourful production most aligns with the objectives of CHE. The Derek Oyston Film Prize seeks to inspire new and exciting LGBT film projects, and we’re certain Ms Despentes’ example contributes to this aim.”
The award was announced by CHE’s Ian Stewart before the showing of Mutantes on Friday 1st April. Nazmia Jamal, one of the festival programmers, accepted the cheque and framed certificate on behalf of Virginie Despentes.
Speaking before today’s showing of We Were Here, Nettie Pollard, a member of CHE’s Executive Committee, said “CHE was set up in 1969, at a time when it was common and legal for gay and lesbian people to be discriminated against and even sacked for being gay, and has been campaigning for LGBT rights ever since. CHE is holding two important events open to all: on Sunday 10th April, Michael Brown is delivering the first Robert Cook lecture at 2pm at the Calthorpe Arms, Grays Inn Road, and on the 3rd of July there will be a debate on gay marriage with Peter Tatchell and Andrew Lumsden.”
For information about the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, and full details of these and other upcoming events, see the website at www.c-h-e.org.uk. CHE is a democratic, member-led organization, campaigning to change the attitudes and laws that make life difficult for LGBT people.
The CHE Film Prize is funded by a substantial legacy from the late gay Tynesider, Derek Oyston, alongside the Derek Oyston Achievement Award, presented last week to veteran campaigner Michael Brown. The Film Award winner in 2010 was Kuchus of Uganda, voicing LGBT people under homophobic attack, and in 2009 Darling! the Pieter-Dirk Uys Story, showcasing the work of the South African HIV educator.
Background on Mutantes
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 montage. 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 international reputation. See also the BFI website, http://www.bfi.org.uk/llgff/.
CHE judges for the Derek Oyston Film Prize:
- George Tregaskis
- Ian Stewart
- Nettie Pollard.