LGBTQ Heroes: Tom Abell
One of the key figures in the distribution of LGBTQ films is the UK is Tom Abell of Peccadillo Pictures.
Abell, the Managing Director and owner of Peccadillo Pictures, has recently been presented with the Iris Prize Fellowship – the first time that the film festival has presented award, honouring those who have made a significant contribution to the LGBTQ film industry
The presentation ceremony was held in London, recognising Abell’s services to LGBTQ film distribution in the UK. Over the past 40 years, Peccadillo Pictures have brought hundreds of films to UK screens – films such as Skin Flicks, Head On, The Watermelon Woman, Weekend, and Sauvage.
Accompanied by his husband Kahloon Loke, other guests attending the event to honour Tom Abell were film directors Hong Khao, Campbell X, Neil Hunter and actor Chris New, star of Weekend.
“There are moments in life when you come across a person and think, he’s a really nice man. Tom Abell is one of those people!” said Berwyn Rowlands, Festival Director of the Iris Prize. “But, he’s much more than just a nice man. Britain would be a very different place today without his commitment to sharing LGBTQ films.”
“Actors, directors, producers are already recognised time and time again for their contribution to the world of film…” said Andrew Pierce, Iris Prize Chair. “It was obvious to us, at Team Iris, that the only person on our shortlist for this inaugural Iris Fellowship was Tom Abell.”
In accepting the award, Abell spoke about the challenges facing an LGBTQ film distributor, lamenting hostile social media comments directed at current Peccadillo release A Deal With The Universe – Jason Barker’s documentary about his own experiences as a trans man putting his gender reassignment on hold in order to carry and give birth to a baby.
“I’m confident that there must be thousands of LGBTQ people across the UK who have been emotionally nourished with Tom’s films…” said Berwyn Rowlands. “The back catalogue of titles holds a mirror to our lives, confirming that we’re alive and exist in many complex ways, in communities across the world, celebrating happy and sad times.”