Queer Filmmakers Group – 1st Year Round Up

It has been a year since we started holding monthly free sessions for the Queer Filmmakers Group – let’s reflect on what these past 12 months have looked like!


We hosted a Short Film Pitch session, for which we asked members with short film ideas to give a 5 minute presentation about the story, genre, cast and crew plans they had for it. After hearing from many great contenders, the panel (formed by Reece Cargan, Indigo Korres and Leo Torre) decided to award three films. Young Geek Seeks Blood Loving Freak, dir. Heath Virgoe, a fiction film about coming out and vampires, received a £500 support price. A Different Home, dir. Jules LF and A tight 5 hours, dir. Ewan received a £250 support price each. In following sessions during the rest of the year, we have had the filmmakers come in to give us updates about their work and share support requests, receiving feedback from the members.

January + February

Despite the January cold, members braved a 48h filmmaking challenge. We gathered in the CCA Clubroom to discuss groups, themes, required elements and time frames for the project. We organised crews, cast and equipment within the first half of the session, and members got to writing almost immediately. The films had to explore the theme of queer temporality, and if possible, include the following line of dialogue: “Who the fuck puts water in the bin?”.

Three films were made as a result of the weekend of collaboration: WYRMS, I’ve Got Something To Tell You and Queer Time. With incredible comedic timing, puppets, cowboys, haircuts, animation, moody queer representation and digital collage included, the films were a fantastic opportunity for members to get to know each other beyond the sessions, actually practising skill sharing and coming into new filmmaking roles.

In February, we hosted a screening of the three films, met with a very long round of applause. We then set the chairs in a circle and began a lovely discussion about the progress, touching up on the pressure of 48h competitions and the differences in rhythm. Many members appreciated the relaxed approach of the weekend while still having sufficient pressure to start and finish a project under a specific amount of time. The room wide verdict was for the films to be sent out to the film festival circuit – which saw us start a section of the Discord to share festivals that have free/cheap submission rates. 


In March we received an update from our awardees and then delved into scriptwriting. We had previously asked members to bring scripts of their own or from TV and films they enjoyed. We read 2, talking about the format of the document and content of the writing. There was also an organically growing internal group of queer filmmakers organising to hold scriptwriting sessions, which we highlighted.


After the pitch session in December, we were approached by No Drama, an independent rental house specialising in the hire of digital cameras, lenses and more. Through many chats, we ended up setting a partnership with them and No Drama team members James, Jason and Kathryn came to the April session to showcase some of their rental catalogue, camera specifics and discuss booking procedures. This was a very dense session during which our members focused a lot on specifications and slight kit differences.

The team at No Drama very kindly offered free equipment booking for QFG member projects too, for which we have developed a project development check in system together.

May + June

After seeing the creative and joyful success of the 48h challenge, we offered members a new practical task: creating the SQIFF24 trailer. 

In May, we hosted a short screening of previous SQIFF trailers and had talks about what makes them fun, exciting and engaging. Festival trailers are usually very short and snappy, so we began to plan what the new trailer could look like in such a quick film format. Thinking about early 00s advertising, the members decided to take on reimagining the 2004 anti-piracy ad.

In June, we screened the first draft of the trailer (and watched it a couple times through the session because it is that good!) and talked about the festival circuit again.

Members discussed fundraising and approaching curators as ways of making it into the festival circuit (finding low-to-no-budget submission festivals, fundraising for festival fees and how to set up community screenings), but our conversations highlighted again the need for a gathered resource on approaching this side of filmmaking. We are hoping to develop from the Discord section we made back in February into something more comprehensive.

What is coming up next?

This last year has been filled with connection, skillsharing, feedback and mostly making new friends! We have in total had over 300 people benefit from the sessions, supported the making of 7 short films and had members jump in to help with each other’s projects.

Come join us for the premier of Young Geek Seeks Blood Sucking Freak, A Different Home and A Tight 5 Hours during the 2024 Scottish Queer International Film Festival. The festival will run from the 8th to the 12th of October, keep an eye on this website and our social media to stay aware of when the full programme drops. You will also very soon be able to watch the trailer for the festival too!

As our funding from the National Lottery Community Fund comes to an end, we are currently fundraising to keep hosting this space. We are very thankful for the support from No Drama, See Me Scotland and Glasgow Filmmakers Alliance to host two extra sessions this summer. Check the dates in our events page and stay tuned for what they will be about.

If you’d like to support the Queer Filmmakers Group, you can do so by visiting SQIFF’s Patreon and pledging to support monthly!

Lots of love,


Leo Torre (SQIFF’s Queer Filmmakers Group Facilitator)

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