On Friday, the first-ever winners of the inaugural ESI Film Festival were announced, with transgender athlete-focused documentary Emzii: It’s For Everyone taking first place.
The ESI Film Festival is a new event put on by B2B esports and media company Esports Insider and non-profit partner ESG Gaming is an awards show for films within the esports and gaming spaces. There were over 40 submissions to the festival, whose theme was “digital inequality, diversity, and mental health.”
“This exciting new addition to the ESI London agenda will shine a light on those behind the screens, with a focus on stories related to esports and video games. The festival’s themes this year are digital inequality, diversity, and mental health, reflecting the potential of video games and esports to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives,” the festival’s website reads.
Emzii: It’s for Everyone is a 14-minute documentary following Emma “Emzii” Rose, a transgender woman who currently professionally plays EAFC and creates content around the game for Team 7am. The documentary tells her story, and shows the amount of transphobia she has dealt with along the way to be coming a professional esports player who has represented her country, and an esports observer as well.
Emzii is this year’s gold medalist in eFootball for the Commonwealth ESports Championship, which she won while representing Northern Ireland. This win got her called up to the Great Britain women’s team to play eFootball at the European Games Esports Championships, where she took the silver trophy after falling to her GB teammate, Guild Academy’s AnnaFut.
The top three submissions to the ESI Film Festival shared a prize pool of £10,000, with first place receiving £5,000, second taking £3,000, and third taking £2,000. The top three also all received invitations to BAFTA’s Games Sessions Open Day in April, which will include the winners in its Games Awards. The submissions for this festival were judged by a board that included members from the British Film Institute, Ubisoft Film & Television, and Manchester Film Festival.