The 2020 Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival starts on Tuesday October 6th and runs until Sunday 11th, with screenings, talks, podcasts, and events reaching a wider audience than ever before. For the first time in the festival’s history, film lovers across the UK will be able to attend the festival virtually online for free on Eventive.
The fifteen shortlisted films competing for the Iris Prize Best British Short supported by Film4 reflect the diversity of LGBTQ+ experiences in contemporary Britain. The winner will receive a package of services sponsored by Pinewood Studios Group. The shortlist of British films is: BETTER (UK, 2019) – directed by Michael J Ferns; CINDY (UK/ France, 2020) – directed by Rosanagh Griffiths; DUNGAREES (UK, 2020) – directed by Abel Rubinstein; GO HOME POLISH (UK, 2019) – directed by Ian Smith; JUST ME (UK, 2019) – directed by Adam Tyler; MANDEM (UK, 2019) – directed by John Ogunmuyiwa; MY GOD, I’M QUEER (UK, 2020) – directed by Matt Mahmood-Ogston; PAINT THE DRAGONS’ EYES (UK, 2020) – directed by James Lucas; POMPEII (UK, 2019) – directed by Harry Lighton, Marco Alessi & Matthew Jacobs Morgan; QUEENS (UK, 2020) – directed by Nick Bechman; QUEERING DI TEKNOLOJIK (UK, 2019) – directed by Timothy Smith; RHIW GOCH (ON THE RED HILL) (UK, 2020) – directed by Anna Winstone; THE PASSING (UK, 2020) – directed by Nichola Wong; THE SCENE (UK, 2019) – directed by James Corley; and WINGS (UK, 2020) – directed by Jamie Weston.
“Congratulations to the Class of 2020, in a year where good news is at a premium, I’m delighted we have 15 superbly crafted stories to share in the Best British competition. This year was particularly competitive with many previous Iris alumni not making the final 15,” commented Berwyn Rowlands, Iris Prize Festival Director. “I can’t wait to share these films for the first time with a UK-wide audience. I hope that the many thousands who have shown an interest in Iris but have been unable to join us in Cardiff for our annual celebration of LGBT+ cinema, will get a better idea of what the fuss is all about. These films are without a doubt the best of the best.”
“The Iris Prize, with its focus on diversity, inclusion and new voices, and its setting in Cardiff, is a perfect fit for Film4,” adds Tim Highsted, Senior Editor, Acquired Feature Films for Film4. “Short form content is a critical proving ground for rising talent, but with new platforms allowing for a wider range of voices to be heard, it’s also increasingly a draw for viewers. We’re delighted to congratulate this year’s shortlisted films and look forward to giving these filmmakers a chance to reach a nationwide audience through Film4 on All 4.”
Iris Prize Best British Short Jury members are: Tim Highsted, Film4 (Chair); Charlie Francis, Iris Prize Best British winner 2014; Sally El Hosaini, Director / writer (My Brother the Devil); Sarah Jones, Team GB’s Women’s Hockey team; and actor Rakie Ayola.
Additionally, 35 international short films are in competition for the Iris Prize, supported by The Michael Bishop Foundation. With £30,000 GBP going to the winning director, it is the world’s largest international LGBT+ short film prize.
In alphabetical order, the competing films are: 1-1 (Sweden, 2020) – directed by Naures Sager; ALL GOOD THINGS (Australia, 2019) – directed by Simon Croker; BABY (USA, 2019) – directed by Jessie Levandov; BATHROOM TROLL (USA, 2018) – directed by Aaron Immediato; BLACK LIPS (Australia, 2018) – directed by Adrian Chiarella; BLACKN3SS (Brazil , 2018) – directed by Diego Paulino; BOYS (BANIM) (Israel, 2020) – directed by Lior Soroka; BREAK IN (USA, 2020) – directed by Alyssa Lerner
CICADA (Czech Republic , 2020) – Piaoyu Xie; DIRTY (USA, 2020) – Matthew Puccini; DOWN DOG (USA, 2020) – directed by Shae Xu; DRIFTING (China, USA, 2019) – directed by Hanxiong Bo; HIS NAME (HANN) (Iceland, 2018) – directed by Runar Thor; OCTOBER (USA, 2019) – directed by Mae Mann; ON MY WAY (Belgium, 2020) – directed by Sonam Larcin; ORVILLE + BOB (USA, 2019) – directed by Alan Griswold; PEACH (Australia, 2020) – Rowan Devereux & Sophie Saville; PRETTY GIRL (CAILÍN ÁLAINN) (Ireland, 2019) – directed by Megan K Fox); QUEENS (UK, 2020) – directed by Nick Bechman; SAVING CHINTU (India, 2020) – directed by Tushar Tyagi; SELMA AFTER THE RAIN (Brazil, 2019) – directed by Loli Menezes; SHEAR AVORY: TO BE CONTINUED (USA, 2020) – directed by Abram Cerda; SHHH! (HYSJ!) (Norway, 2019) directed by Nini Kjeldner; SHORT CALF MUSCLE (Netherlands, 2019) – directed by Victoria Warmerdam; SNAKE (Macedonia, 2020) – directed by Andrey Volkashin; THE CYPHER (USA, 2020) – directed by Letia Solomon; THE PASSING (UK, 2020) – directed by Nichola Wong; THE SHAWL (USA, 2020) – directed by Sara Kiener; THE WAY WE ARE (Canada, 2020) – directed by Amanda Ann-Min Wong; THRIVE (UK, 2019) – directed by Jamie Di Spirito; UNTITLED SEQUENCE OF GAPS (Germany, 2020) – directed by Vika Kirchenbauer; VICTORIA (Spain, 2020 – directed by Daniel Toledo Saura); WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THE RING (Taiwan, 2020) – directed by Yichi Chen; WHEN IN ROME (PAESE CHE VAI) (Italy, 2020) – directed by Luca Padrini; and WINGS (UK, 2020) – Jamie Weston.
The Iris Prize 2020 international Jury members are: Sarah Smith, Iris Prize winner 2019; Phillip Guttmann, Iris Prize winner 2019; Jay Bedwani, Iris Prize Best British winner 2013; Lara Zeidan, director, Iris Prize winner 2018; and Mikael Bundsen, Iris Prize winner 2017.
“Back in April we watched everything around us change as life here in the UK and the rest of the world became a frightening journey into the unknown,” says Berwyn Rowlands. “Almost everything that we knew for certain was taken away from us. During the height of the pandemic the entertainment sector became a lifeline, sharing stories to entertain millions during the lockdown. It also became a victim as the need to protect people from Covid-19 meant we had to stop filming. The Iris Prize could quite easily have become a victim to this unprecedented pandemic. Luckily our dear friend Lord Glendonbrook was determined to offer some hope to the LGBT+ film sector and early on committed the Michael Bishop Foundation to present the 2020 Iris Prize whatever happened. Together with the support of our sponsors and funders team Iris have been working on our most ambitious festival ever. The 35 short films in competition represent excellence in storytelling, taking us the viewer to places that only film can. Pointing a bright spotlight on the lives of LGBT+ people making sure that we are seen in all our colourful diversity”.
In addition to the short film selections, there will be UK premieres of seven features films: GOSSAMER FOLDS starring Alexandra Grey (USA, 2020) directed by Lisa Donato; ARE WE LOST FOREVER (Sweden, 2020) directed by David Färdmar; COCOON (Germany, 2020) directed Leonie Krippendorf; THE TEACHER (Taiwan, 2019) directed by Ming-Lang; BETWEEN THE SEASONS (South Korea, 2018) directed by Jun-Sik Kim; DRY WIND (Brazil, 2020) directed by Daniel Nolasco; and THE PRINCE (Chile, 2019) directed by Sebastián Muñoz, distributed in the UK by Peccadillo Pictures. The Iris Prize Best Feature and Performance Awards Jury members, all from Bournemouth Film School, are: Lewis Bayley, Anna K. McCallum, Daisy Leigh-Phippard, Amy Curtis, Olivia Morrison, and Kieran Wall.
During the festival Iris Prize Live TV! will be broadcasting daily at 7pm GMT on Iris Prize’s Facebook and YouTube, and on Eventive, featuring news and interviews. Tom Selway, Mathew David Hill and Jolene Dover will take part in the broadcasts. Three podcasters, Robert Gershinson, Luyt Smith and Kayed Mason, will join Iris for the run of the festival to offer their insights via the Iris Prize YouTube Channel.
The 2020 Iris Prize festival opens on Tuesday 6th October and closes on Sunday 11th October, with all screenings, talks and events available online for free. There will also be a pay-per-view catch-up service which will run until the end of October. For full details head to the official Iris Prize website.