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Philadelphia QFest announces honorees

The Philadelphia Cinema Alliance is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s awards. They are - 2009 Gay Icon Award: Sharon Gless; the 2009 Rising Star Award: H.P. Mendoza; the 2009 Artistic Achievement Award: Chad Allen; and the 2009 Barbara Gittings Award: Dr. Dee Mosbacher. Each honoree will be present to accept his or her award at one of four special ceremonies during the 15th Anniversary of Philadelphia QFest, July 9 – 20, 2009.

Actress Sharon Gless will receive the Gay Icon Award on Sunday, July 19 at The Prince Music Theater before a screening of her new movie Hannah Free. Gless entered the national consciousness as detective Christine Cagney on the classic series “Cagney & Lacey”, a show unafraid to tackle difficult issues like AIDS, abortion and racism. In 2000, Gless created the role of the beloved PFLAG-Mom Debbie Novotny for the groundbreaking series “Queer as Folk”, remaining with the series throughout its five-season run. She recently completed an Emmy-nominated, multiple-episode arc in the hit series “Nip/Tuck”, and currently stars in “Burn Notice”. Her current project, Hannah Free, finds the actress playing a free-spirited lesbian trying to reunite with the love of her life. Off-screen, Gless is an active participant in the ongoing struggle for reproductive rights and a consistent supporter of national and international human rights.

The multi-talented H.P. Mendoza will receive the Rising Star Award on Thursday, July 16 at the Ritz East Theater, preceding the screening of his new film Fruit Fly. An innovative, musical and prodigious talent, H.P. Mendoza returns to QFest this year with his bubbly directorial debut. Born in San Francisco to Filipino immigrants, he studied film at the College of San Mateo, where he met Richard Wong. Wong went on to direct Colma: The Musical which Mendoza wrote and composed. Colma was one of the highlights of PIGLFF 2007. H.P. has also released several CDs over the past few years, including the new “Nomad”.

Hollywood mainstay Chad Allen will receive the Artistic Achievement Award Thursday, July 9 at The Prince at QFest 09 Opening Night celebration, following the screening of Hollywood je t’aime. Many know Allen for his impressive body of professional work on family dramas ranging from “St. Elsewhere” to “Our House” and “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Women.” Equally important to Allen is his personal life, being one of the few openly gay actors working in Hollywood today, one willing to speak candidly about his sexuality. Allen has most recently gained recognition as the sexy, shrewd and resourceful gay detective Donald Strachey in the series of films Third Man Out, Shock to the System, On the Other Hand, Death (all of which screened at PIGLFF) and Ice Blues. Allen is a solid supporter of AIDS/LIFECYCLE, in which he recently rode 545 miles to help raise more than $11 million for the fight against AIDS.

Dr. Dee Mosbacher will receive the Barbara Gittings Award on Saturday, July 18 at The Prince, presented along with a screening of her movie, Training Rules. The Philadelphia Cinema Alliance, in conjunction with Equality Forum, created the Barbara Gittings Award to be presented to an out member of the entertainment, arts, sports, politics or media industry. Dr. Diane (Dee) Mosbacher MD, PhD has gained international recognition as an Academy Award-nominated director/producer. Motivated by the gay-bashing and anti-woman atmosphere of the 1992 Republican National Convention, Mosbacher founded Woman Vision to counteract the Right’s well-funded and misleading anti-gay campaigns. Mosbacher has strived to “promote the values of understanding and diversity, and provide positive role models and supportive images of societally marginalized people” tackling a wide range of subject matter with a common thread of LGBT gender equality and social justice.

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