The Iris Prize Festival is a six-day celebration of LGBT film in Cardiff, Wales (UK). The programme includes screenings of the 35 international short films competing for the Iris Prize and the 15 Best British Short nominees, as well as feature films, parties, talks, the Producers Forum and much more. The festival culminates with the Iris Carnival, where the award winners are crowned, including the winner of the prestigious £30,000 Iris Prize, supported by the Michael Bishop Foundation. It takes place from the 10th to the 16th October.
Organisers announced more programme details about the festival, which will include 10 feature films and more international guests than ever before. This year they have also announced Co-op as a major new partner of the six-day celebration of LGBT film. In addition, the Co-op has arranged for singer Heather Small – well known for being lead singer of M People with hit songs including “Proud” – to perform a selection of songs at the festival in her capacity as a Co-op Respect Network partner.
Neil Moffatt, a member of the Co-op’s Respect Network steering group and member of the Iris Prize Best British jury, explained: “With a programme which includes screenings of 35 international short films competing for the Iris Prize and the 15 Best British Short nominees, as well as premiere screenings of 10 feature films, networking opportunities and an Education Day for schools there will be much to celebrate.
“At the Co-op we promote a culture of respect, raising awareness to ensure that inclusion is at the heart of what we do. We are proud to support events such as Iris which brings issues of discrimination into focus.”
Andrew Pierce, Iris Prize Chair, commented: “What will you see in Cardiff? This is our new strapline which we have adopted for Iris in this our 11th year, our second decade and we are determined to be fresh and relevant – therefore this year you will notice some changes to the festival programme.”
“To bring the festival to a close we are organising our biggest party every – that’s the promise as we present the inaugural Iris Carnival an all-day extravaganza combining, music, food and film. We are taking over the Depot on Dumballs Road and the delightful Heather Small will be headlining our sound stage and Matt Lissack, from Capital FM is back by popular demand to present the Iris Awards Show.
“The carnival will also include the Co-op Food Village which involves a number of its local Welsh suppliers including: Boss Brewing Company; Village Dairy; Frank’s Ice Cream; Radnor Hills Mineral Water Co; Village Bakery; Edwards of Conwy and the Authentic Curry Company. The food village is an excellent way to demonstrating a flavour of the diversity of great Welsh food and drink available in its stores across the UK.”
Guests and film makers from Australia, US, Israel, India, Hong Kong, Austria, Denmark, Brazil, Czech Republic, Spain, Ireland, England and Scotland will be attending the festival. They include:
Craig Boreham from Australia who will be screening his new feature film Teenage Kicks. Craig is an Iris Prize alumnus having had 3 short films in competition, two in 2011 and one in 2012. Craig returns to Cardiff for a second time.
Fawzia Mirza is and actor, writer and producer from Canada. She co-wrote, produced and stars in Signature Move her first feature which received its world premiered at SXSW and won the 2017 Outfest Grand Jury Prize for Best US Narrative Feature. She uses performance, personal storytelling & comedy to break down stereotypes across a multiplicity of identities: race, religion, sexual orientation, gender & defy the concept of the “model minority”.
Brian Robinson (Iris Prize Jury Chair) was a film programmer with the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (now BFI Flare) from 2000, but has been a keen fan of queer cinema for a lot longer. His career with the BFI spanned a quarter of a century, and as well as selecting and programming films for LLGFF/Flare he has worked extensively with the BFI’s vast archive, so much so that the Independent called him a “walking encyclopaedia on silent film”.
Christopher Schaap is a filmmaker and Seattle University graduate. In 2016, he wrote, directed, and starred in his first feature film, Prom King, 2010, which won the New Vision Award at Cinequest 2017 and has since played at a variety of festivals including Frameline, Outfest and the Iris Prize Festival. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn.
Christopher says: “It’s my first time visiting Cardiff, and I’m beyond thrilled to have this opportunity to immerse myself not only the talent of LGBTQ+ filmmakers, but also the culture and people of the Welsh capital!”
The Iris Prize Festival 2017 in numbers:
- 9 programmes of short films competing for the Iris Prize
- 3 programmes of shorts competing for the Iris Prize Best British
- 3 programmes of shorts on Super Saturday when we discover the finalists
- 10 new feature films with many screening twice
- 6 question and answer sessions with visiting feature film directors
- 4 amazing talks with topics covering “Women and Film”, “Dementia and Us”
- 1 Producers Forum
- 1 opening night celebration and post screening party
- 4 film makers and pass holders lunches at: The Stable (Wed), Juboraj Mill Lane (Thu), Park Inn (Fri) and Chapel 1877 (Sat)
- 5 late night parties in Park Inn, Pulse, Chapell 1874, Kings, and tbc
- 1 amazing Iris Carnival an all-day extravaganza combining, food, film and music with Heather Small
The full programme is available here.