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ImageOut: The Rochester LGBT Film Festival

Film Awards and Juries

2017 Jury Award – Best Narrative Feature: God’s Own Country directed by Francis Lee

For its exceptional direction, haunting imagery and the ability of its two leads to create a vivid, three-dimensional relationship, oftentimes using only spare dialogue, the Narrative Jury awards the prize for Best Narrative Feature to Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country.

Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting

BPM (Beats Per Minute), directed by Robin Campillo, has an almost epic runtime, warranted by the story’s historical significance, and yet the film’s length is never an issue. The narrative is moved along at a beautiful pace by the fluid editing. But it is the incredible ensemble cast led by Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, giving naturalistic performances that effectively capture the anger, the love, the pain, and the triumph of the times, that truly captivates.



2017 Narrative Film Jury

Jim Farmer

Jim Farmer has coordinated Out On Film, Atlanta’s LGBT film festival, since 2008. The recipient of a grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Oscars) in 2013 for the festival’s visiting filmmaker series, Out On Film has also been the recipient of the Guardian Angel Award from the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (AGLCC) for nonprofit excellence and the Center for Civic Innovation’s Creative Impact Award.  Out On Film was voted Best Local Atlanta LGBT Event by the readers of The Georgia Voice in 2015 and in 2016 was named as a Grand Marshal in the Atlanta Pride parade. Most recently Out On Film was awarded the Beacon Award for Community Engagement as part of’s Luminary Awards. Jim has served on several festival juries over the last decade, most recently as the jury chair of the Atlanta Film Festival. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Jim Farmer has written about the arts for more than 20 years and is a member of several critic’s associations. His work can be seen on and in The Georgia Voice and Simply Buckhead. He lives in Atlanta with his husband Craig.

KJ Mohr

KJ Mohr has been working in film for twenty-five years as a curator, programmer, educator, filmmaker and consultant. She is currently the Director of Programming for the Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which celebrates its 28th anniversary this fall. As Director of Film and Digital Media Programs at Baltimore’s Creative Alliance, she founded the Charm City Queer Film Festival, now heading into its seventh year. KJ teaches film at George Mason University, having taught previously at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In the mid-2000’s KJ served as the first Curator of Film and Media Arts at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, prior to which she was the curator of Conversations at the Edge, a weekly visiting artist series at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago. She got her start with the extraordinary media arts and activist organization and film festival Women in the Director’s Chair (1980-2005).

Ken Salzer

Ken Salzer worked as a programmer for ImageOut from its first year in 1993 until he moved in 2003. He currently lives in Pittsburgh, where he programs for their Reel Q LGBT Film Festival.




2017 Jury Award – Best Documentary Feature: The Untold Tales Of Armistead Maupin directed by Jennifer M. Kroot and Bill Weber

For its accomplished storytelling that is both enlightening and entertaining, successfully peeling the many (untold and sometimes delightfully surprising) layers of a well-known gay literary icon for many in the LGBTQ+ community, the Documentary Jury gives the top prize to The Untold Tales Of Armistead Maupin.

Special Jury Prize for Social Justice Focus

The Death and Life Of Marsha P. Johnson, directed by David France, is a powerful film that uses the frame of a cold-case investigation to draw the viewer in and then proceeds to expertly demonstrate how the past remains present. The film eloquently emphasizes the need to push harder for trans rights and to seek justice for all victims of transphobia.




2017 Documentary Film Jury

Allen Braude

Allen Braude has over 20 years of experience as a programmer with a variety of film festivals including: Out On Screen Vancouver Queer Film Festival; Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival; Sprockets International Film Festival for Children (Toronto); Reel Talk Toronto; and Tumbleweeds Film Festival for Children and Youth (Salt Lake City). Allen is currently a member of the programming team for the Toronto Jewish Film Festival.


Rachael Brister

Rachael Brister has been working in the LGBT community for almost 20 years starting as the Programmer and Chair of ImageOut, the Rochester Lesbian & Gay Film Festival just after graduating college. In 2004, Rachael moved to Seattle to become the Executive Director of Three Dollar Bill Cinema, the organization that produces The Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, The Seattle Transgender Film Festival and other film events throughout the year. In 2012, Rachael accepted the position of Vice President of Marketing & Tourism for the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA), the largest LGBT Chamber of Commerce in the US. Prior to joining GSBA’s staff, Rachael served on the organization’s Board of Directors for over 5 years. In 2016, Rachael joined the staff of GreenRubino, an integrated marketing agency, as their LGBT Strategist and a Pubic Relations Manager. Rachael is thrilled to be involved with ImageOut in its 25th year. She credits volunteering with ImageOut her sophomore year at the University of Rochester in 1994 (and the subsequent 10 years with the organization) for changing the trajectory of her professional life… for the better!

Laura Chekow

Laura has been devoted to all aspects of cinema since her Mom first took her and her sister to see hippopotamuses dance in tutus to sensationally scored music in Disney’s 1940 animated feature, Fantasia. She hopes it goes without saying that it was in re-release. Laura enthusiastically taught both documentary and narrative film history and appreciation at R.I.T. for four years, during which time she was also honored to participate on the judges’ panel for the Rochester Teen Film Festival Additional film festival experiences include Hamptons International Film FestivalBerkshire International Film FestivalHigh Falls Film Festival, and Greentopia Film Festival.

2017 Jury Award – Best Short Film: Scar Tissue directed by Nish Gera

Scar Tissue creates remarkable depth in its short length. Depicting how gay men from very different worlds can reach across their differences to connect (and yet still not fully bridge the circumstances which divide them), this film’s masterful pacing, rich cinematography, and strong performances deeply impressed the Short Film Jury.

Special Jury Prize for Originality

The Night Cleaner, directed by Blair Fukumura, stands out for its originality, both in content and style. At its core is a candid and touching interview with a young man who works cleaning a bathhouse, a topic rarely discussed. The film then creatively visualizes his story with animation depicting the sometimes disgusting but sometimes surprisingly sweet moments of this man’s life on the job.




2017 Short Film Jury

Aviva Dove-Viebahn

Aviva Dove-Viebahn has a PhD from the University of Rochester in Visual and Cultural Studies and served on the ImageOut Programming Committee from 2006-2008. She is currently an Honors Faculty Fellow at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, a Contributing Editor for the Scholar Writing Program at Ms. Magazine, and Web Content Manager for the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.



J. O’Neill

J. O’Neill first volunteered with the ImageOut Public Relations Committee in 1995, creating the (one and only) ImageOut mascot, Globey. He later joined Programming, co-chairing from 2004 to 2006. J. now lives in Philadelphia, where he works as a teacher, writer, and colonial stand-up comedian.




Sam Roberts

Sam Roberts was a member of the ImageOut Programming team from 2000 to 2006. He’s been a lab engineer at the University of Rochester Laser Lab since 1998. He’s currently taking non-matriculated courses at the  U of R and still trying to find himself.




2017 Audience Award – Best Narrative Feature: A Million Happy Nows directed by Albert Alarr

2017 Audience Award – Best Narrative Feature Runner Up: I Dream In Another Language directed by Ernesto Contreras





2017 Audience Award – Best Documentary Feature (Tie): Rebels On Pointe directed by Bobbi Jo Hart

2017 Audience Award – Best Documentary Feature (Tie): The Lavender Scare directed by Josh Howard

2017 Audience Award – Best Short Film (Tie): Curmudgeons directed by Danny DeVito

2017 Audience Award – Best Short Film (Tie): Sisak directed by Faraz Ansari