Celebrating LGBTQ+ Excellence: American Pavilion’s Queer Shorts Program Shines at Festival de Cannes

The Two Gay Geeks received this wrap up of the Cannes Film Festival from our wonderful international Correspondent, Patricia Chica. Patricia gives us a list of items she participated in at the American Pavilion while at the Festival.

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Report Post Cannes

AmPav Queer Shorts Awarded Filmmakers.
Photo by Paige Thornton.

In a momentous occasion at the 2023 Festival de Cannes, the winners of the Queer Shorts program of the American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase were unveiled, igniting a surge of excitement within the LGBTQ+ film community. Our international correspondent, Patricia Chica, was on the scene, capturing the winners’ elation and their thoughts on this prestigious recognition.
AmPav Queer Short Jury Award Winner Logan Vaughn, director & writer of “Benny and James”.
Photo by Paige Thornton.

Among the esteemed honorees, the Jury Award went to Logan Vaughn, the director and writer of the captivating short film “Benny and James.” Vaughn’s film delves into the lives of two African American queer men, anxiously awaiting an event they have longed for. One of them, guided by a dream he believes to be a divine message, grapples with doubts, and believes that they should wait.
TRAILER of “Benny and James”:

“Benny and James” intimately explores the unspoken fears and doubts that men face as fathers, offering a space to shed light on this silenced topic. Vaughn, inspired by her own family members’ journey and the silence of her brothers, seeks to illuminate the power of dreams as a guiding force in her storytelling.

“My brothers are fathers and I think they were very young, they had a lot of fear and they never shared it with anyone so I wanted to sort of give a space to explore that specific dynamic… and also dreams are a space for me that are quite powerful that I believe are giving me a lot of signs, guidance and affirmation of times. I write of my dreams often,” explained Logan Vaughn.

Thrilled with the accolade, Vaughn expressed her gratitude, stating, “It feels amazing, it’s such a gift. There are so many incredible filmmakers telling important, unheard stories, and to be mentioned alongside them is an honor in itself. I am truly grateful that the esteemed panel of my peers embraced ‘Benny and James,’ granting us this award. This is a remarkable achievement for my entire team,” she adds.

When asked about the importance of portraying queer narratives on screen, Vaughn passionately affirmed the significance of such storytelling. “It’s really important to tell queer stories. I would also say my mission whether it’s on stage or in film is to tell stories of those who have been silenced, forgotten, disenfranchised. Because it’s in the power and the humanity of telling those stories that it transcends and becomes the humanity of everyone and we have to find spaces in any moment, time we can that we get to sit in our truth. I would keep it simple and tell our stories from our point of view. To really represent the humanity of who we are and allow that to keep transcending and become the humanity of others,” she explains.

Monika Skerbelis, programming director for AmPav Emerging Filmmaker Showcase & Director-Writer Logan Vaughn.
Photo by Paige Thornton.

About the American Pavilion
The American Pavilion, a longstanding advocate for queer filmmakers, continues to champion the LGBTQ+ community year after year. During the 2023rd’s edition, a staggering 38 short films were showcased, with an inspiring nine of them centering on LGBTQ+ themes. Undoubtedly, one of the most coveted events at the festival is the American Pavilion’s Queer Party, designed to highlight the creative contributions of the queer community.

Julia Sisk, the founder and president of the American Pavilion, emphasized the significance of this ongoing commitment. “We launched Queer Night in 2004, following the success of Ellen Huang’s Queer Lounge at Sundance. With the only gay bar in Cannes closed, there was a void in LGBTQ+ spaces. John Cameron Mitchell and I envisioned this event, and now, 20 years later, it continues to thrive! Welcoming him back for the 20th-anniversary celebration, with him DJ’ing on the beach, fills me with immense joy!”

Recognizing the significant impact of a dedicated category for LGBTQ+ filmmakers, the American Pavilion’s efforts represent an important stride toward a more inclusive future.

As this initiative continues to grow in popularity and influence, the anticipation for what lies ahead in the coming years only intensifies, leaving us eagerly awaiting the next groundbreaking edition.

For more information, visit the official website: www.Ampav.com

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