Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) has announced Sophie Saville as the winner of $10,000 cash funding through their Pitch, Pleez! competition program.
Saville will use that cash to complete their short film Pineapple, which is expected to play at next year’s MQFF.
With support from VicScreen, the Pitch, Pleez! competition invites finalists to present their pitch in front of a live audience and panel of industry judges. A diverse selection of finalists were selected to compete in this year’s live Pitch-Off event at the Victorian Pride Centre, but only one finalist walked away with the $10,000 cash prize.
‘Since its inception, Pitch Pleez! has awarded over $50,000 to Australian LGBTQI+ filmmakers to create short fiction films, documentaries or web series pilots,’ MQFF CEO, David Martin Harris said. ‘We’re so proud to be able to provide this important opportunity for emerging filmmakers each year, and to continue our work in platforming queer Aussie stories.’
‘Congratulations to Sophie Saville and their project Pineapple.’
Sophie’s pitch impressed the judges and was selected as the winner for Pitch, Pleez! 2023. In Pineapple, Sarah moves into her first solo apartment only to discover her new next-door neighbour is Peach, her aloof old flame. Seeing this as a sign, the now older, more confident Sarah impulsively invites Peach over for her housewarming dinner. But is ‘the one that got away’ worth the wait?
‘I’m really excited to be making this sequel in my fruity anthology,’ said Sophie, whose previous film Peach centered on the aforementioned ‘old flame’ in Pineapple.
‘We were up against so many other fantastic films and talented filmmakers in this competition. A massive thank you to Melbourne Queer Film Festival and VicScreen for the $10,000 prize money to fund our new short.’
Along with $10,000 cash funding, Saville also receives an all-access pass to the 2023 Melbourne Queer Film Festival.
MQFF said it was ‘thoroughly impressed’ with the calibre of submissions received this year, and that the variety of genres and themes showcased by the finalists ‘highlights the importance of supporting and amplifying diverse queer voices in Australia’.
Queer Screen gave special mention to the Pitch, Pleez! finalists for 2023 – Rosie Pavlovic and Siobhan Reilly (for their project ATTACHED), Simon Croker and Benjamin Nichol (Sugar), Carolyn Cage and Ben Lindberg (Queer Asian Proud), Brandon Bentley and Adam Coutts (Yuletide) and Vee Shi, Nicholson Ren and Roberto Nascimento (Arnon).
Pineapple will be completed this year and will premiere at the Opening Night event of this year’s Festival.