Michiel Thomas has brought many important stories to the screen, including those of LGBTQ athletes. | Courtesy of Michiel Thomas

Gay athlete and documentary filmmaker Michiel Thomas last week won his first GLAAD Media Award for his co-directing work with Zeberiah Newman on the documentary short “Relighting Candles: The Tim Sullivan Story.”

The film shares the story of Tim Sullivan, a candle shop owner in West Hollywood that employs newly sober and homeless men and women. Founded in 1996, the candle shop hand pours fragrant candles.

“I’ve always had a passion for a wide range of LGBTQ storytelling, whether it’s the coming out journeys of athletes, or a West Hollywood gay icon employing homeless and newly sobered people,” Thomas told Outsports. “All of these voices matter and deserve to be heard. For these life tales to be celebrated and awarded by our own community is a tremendous honor and fuels the fire to keep sharing these stories.”

Directors Thomas and Newman, along with Sullivan himself, talk with GLAAD.

The honor from GLAAD was a Special Recognition Award, one of a handful of special honors given by GLAAD each year. The film was also executive produced by Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone.

Thomas is a long-time player in gay basketball leagues, including Lambda Basketball in the Los Angeles area. Originally from Belgium, his previous films have included the groundbreaking documentary film “Game Face.” That film tells the story of trans MMA fighter Fallon Fox and gay college basketball player Terrence Clemens. Thomas has also directed a docuseries for Outsports that will be released later this year.

Congratulations to everyone involved with the film on a worthy GLAAD Media Award. You can see the full list of the 2024 GLAAD Media Awards from the Los Angeles Awards show.

You can follow Michiel Thomas on Instagram.