QFest is dedicated to promoting the arts as a powerful tool for communication and cooperation among diverse communities by presenting programs by, about, and of interest to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

QFest is a sponsored project of Aurora Picture Show, a 501c3 presenting artist-made, non-commercial film and video, and dedicated to expanding the cinematic experience and promoting the understanding and appreciation of the moving image.

The story of QFest begins in 1996, when a group of maverick arts organizations collaborated and created The First Annual Houston Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, better known as The HGLFF. Inaugurated by Loris Bradley of DiverseWorks, Liz Empleton of Rice Cinema, Sarah Gish of Landmark Theatres, and Marian Luntz of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The HGLFF would soon grow to include Steve Buck of The Angelika Film Center and Andrea Grover of The Aurora Picture Show. In its early years as a multi-venue annual event, The Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) served as the festival’s non-profit fiscal sponsor. The first co-presidents of the HGLFF were Gudrun Klein and Andrew Edmonson, followed by Margaret Zigman and Ernie Manouse. In 2005, Margaret Zigman became the festival’s President.

In 2006, the festival’s tenth anniversary, under then-Board President Sixto Wagan, Rob Arcos, formerly of Landmark Theatres, was named Festival Director and Kristian Salinas was named Program Director. Now charged with creating its own program, the festival condensed its previous two week run into a five-day weekend. In 2007, led by new Executive Director Kristian Salinas, The HGLFF’s 11th year launched with a new name – QFest.

Celebrating its 25th year, QFest hosts a citywide celebration of queer film, featuring a juried feature and short competition.

1.) The John Steven Kellett Freedom of Vision Award (Feature Only)
2.) Grand Jury Prize: Best Picture (Feature Only)
3.) Best Short Film
4.) Best Director
(Feature Only)
5.) Best Performance, Ensemble (three or more lead performers) or Documentary Subject
(Feature Only)
6) Special Jury Prize
(Jury can award either one feature or one short for special recognition)
7.) Houston Film Critics Society's Best Feature
(Members of HFCS select their choice for best feature)

1.) There are no cash or in-kind prizes.

All requirements are included below for each respective award category

Overall Rating
  • What a group of beautiful people making a beautiful festival & keep in touch even after the event! We are not only happy but also proud to be a part of this beautiful festival & it's lovely staff! Thank you for everything!

    November 2020
  • Ryan Craver

    I was unfortunately unable to attend the festival, but the programming staff at QFest: Houston were so kind and generous! It was an honor to have a short in such a great lineup; they played some of my favorite shorts and features that I've seen over the past year in addition to some new titles I hate that I had to miss. The team had very nice things to say about my film, and they obviously take their work seriously. Couldn't be happier!

    August 2019
  • Gisela Chicolino

    QFest have a really exquisite programming

    August 2018