With empanadas in one hand and mimosa in the other, queer filmmakers and SXSW-goers alike filled up the Iron Bear Saturday morning during aGLIFF’s annual Queer Filmmakers Brunch. Festivalgoers also got a peek into aGLIFF’s 2019 lineup; specifically – who Austin’s queer film fest will honor this year with the aGLIFF Breakthrough Award.
Sometimes-local Lisa Donato will be the 2019 recipient – announced Artistic Director Jim Brunzell. After leaving “corporate America cube farm,” to pursue her dream of filmmaking, Donato has centered her work on uplifting marginalized communities. This past aGLIFF saw her short films, "There You Are" and "Foxy Trot."
“Films have saved my life, and in particular,” Donato said, “seeing people represented on the big screen has saved my life. I’ve committed my craft to making films for and about the queer community. aGLIFF is family.”
Some of the other highlighted filmmakers of the morning included Michelle Randolph Faires and Tracy Frazier of Becoming Leslie, Flavio Alves of The Garden Left Behind, Rodney Evans of Vision Portraits, and Harrod Blank and Rusty Tidenberg of Why Can’t I Be Me Around You.
Faires, whose documentary paints a portrait of Austin’s cultural icon Leslie, spoke about how her film career began as a mere festival volunteer after stumbling into the Alamo Drafthouse seven years ago to find aGLIFF happening. A true child of aGLIFF, she rose from coincidental volunteer to board member to now filmmaker and urges others to do the same. “Get involved, pay it forward, mentor people, but bring it back home to aGLIFF.”
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