Iris Prize LGBTQ+ Film Festival kicks off today with fabulous line up

For the 16th annual Iris Prize Festival, organisers are showcasing 51 short films to an eager audience of 84,000 people.

A person is wearing a shimmering gold outfit and peach as part of the 16th annual Iris Prize Film Festival.

Today, October 11, the LGBTQ+ Iris Prize International Short Film Competition will begin. This is a six-day global queer short film festival, awarding £30,000 to one lucky winner. The festival takes place annually in Cardiff, Wales, attracting 11,000 admissions, with a UK online audience of 84,000 people. The event begins with an opening night ceremony at Premiere Cinemas, tonight at 7 pm.

Speaking about the upcoming festival, Wales’ Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, said: “I’m delighted that Creative Wales is able to support Iris Prize again this year. We are champions for inclusivity and diversity across the creative industries in Wales.

“We are proud to support an initiative that showcases Welsh creative talent within the LGBTQ+ community and takes this to a global stage. I’d like to wish participants the best of luck and congratulate them on their creative journeys so far.”

This year, in the 16th edition of the Iris Prize LGBTQ+ Film Festival, 51 short films are making the cut, along with other features, micro-shorts, community and education shorts, industry talks, and the annual education day.

The festival’s director, Berwyn Rowlands, welcomed the return of the face-to-face event, saying: “We are excited to welcome filmmakers, guests, and film fans from around the world and the UK to Cardiff. Opening Night once again sees Angharad Mair from S4C’s primetime magazine hosting an evening celebrating the best of filmmaking in Wales.

“There are six premieres with four of the films made by women. This is the moment during the festival when Wales shouts loud and proud to the world – look what we are, and here are our stories.”

Over the six days, audience members can choose from a variety of 36 short films to see, with 15 entries going head-to-head for the Iris Prize Best British Short. Supported by Film4 and the Michael Bishop Foundation, this year’s award will be chosen by a jury of students attending the University of South Wales Film and TV School. This is an excellent opportunity for these young filmmakers to rub elbows with the elite of the industry, as it has created many other opportunities for Iris Prize alumni in previous years.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of male homosexuality in Norway, the organisation is welcoming a retrospective of Norwegian LGBTQ+ short films. Supported by the Norwegian Embassy and Film Institute, this collection was created by Bård Ydén, Chair of the 2022 Iris Prize Jury.

This worldwide celebration of film, diversity, friendship and visibility will begin today with the UK premiere of six Welsh-made short films:

  • Blooming, directed by Efa Blosse Mason and Sophie Marsh.
  • Cardiff, directed by Sarah Smith (winner of the 2019 Iris Prize)
  • I Shall be Whiter than Snow, directed by Frederick Stacey.
  • Queens Cwm Rag, directed by Lindsay Walker.
  • Sally Leapt Out Of A Window Last Night, directed by Tracy Spottiswoode.
  • G♭, directed by Peter Darney.

There are several Irish productions among the festival offerings, with Who We Love, directed by Ireland’s Graham Cantwell, being one of the most highly anticipated picks. Who We Love has also been nominated for six IFTA Awards, including best film, director and script, and was adapted from the short film Lily, shortlisted for the Iris Prize in 2017.

Tickets for the festival, as well as the full event programme, can be found on the Iris Prize website. Would you like to read more about other wonderful celebrations of LGBTQ+ short films? We’ve got you covered.

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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