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 23rd year, QFest hosts a citywide celebration of queer film, and is proud to host its second juried competition, now with an expanded selection of prizes for our shorts competition.

QFest Awards
1.) Freedom of Vision Prize
QFest's highest honor. Awarded to only one film. The recipient of the Freedom of Vision prize cannot be considered or awarded in any other categories.
2.) Grand Jury Prize
(Features Only.)
3.) Jury Prize for Best Short Film
4.) Jury Prize for Best Direction
(Shorts and Features.)
5.) Jury Prize for Best Performance or Most Inspiring Subject
(Shorts and Features. A gender neutral award for either best lead performance or the most inspiring subject of a documentary)
6.) Jury Prize for Best Screenplay
(Shorts and Features.)
7.) Special Jury Prize (Features Only. At jury's discretion, a film can be awarded in a category not already designated.)
8.) Jury Prize for Best Student Feature
9.) Jury Prize for Best Student Short

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

All requirements are included below for each respective award category

Overall Rating
  • 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