Thirty five international filmmakers are set to compete for £30,000 prize money as the organisers of Cardiff’s International LGBT+ Short Film Prize, Supported by The Michael Bishop Foundation, have today announced the shortlisted films in competition for the world’s largest international LGBT+ short film prize. The Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival runs 6th to 11th October. 

Iris Prize has 25 international partner festivals who nominate films each year for the Iris Prize shortlist, with the rest being chosen by a pre-selection jury from a record number of films entered through open submissions. 

Still from “Blackn3ss”.

UK audiences can join in the experience for the first time in the festival’s history, by watching all the nominated shorts for free online, ensuring it reaches a wider audience than ever. 

Directors from India, China, Brazil and Macedonia compete with counterparts from the UK and around the world, offering dramatically diverse representations within the global LGBT+ community. Filmmakers share personal family expectations and the intimacy of relationships alongside the transformative impacts of meeting the right person at the right time. 

Still from “1-1”.

They stand alongside sobering stories of cultural, political or even family restraints that mean fighting for the freedom to be true to self, overcoming fear, hostility and alienation. We encounter characters who are tentatively exploring their sexuality for the first time or breaking free of their past to embrace unique identities and genders. Plus, at a time when we need it most, there are reminders that there is plenty to be joyful about, and reason to laugh out loud. 

The one uniting factor in all 35 films is an exhilarating celebration of lives of LGBT+ people across the world. 

Find the full shortlist here.

Still from “When in Rome”.

Acknowledging the challenges that this year’s event have presented, Andrew Pierce, Iris Prize chair says: “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. 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.” 

He continues, “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, but more about this later. 

“This is why I’m delighted to share with you the Class of 2020. The 35 short films in competition are the best of the best. They 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”. 

With Iris making its programme available online, Andrew Pierce says, “2020 is the year we take the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival online, making it available to everybody in the UK and from 6 – 11 October all screenings will be free. These 35 short films are what I believe to be the perfect way to engage a new audience and keep our traditional audience happy.” 

The trailer of the 35 films competing for the 2020 Iris Prize is available here:

The organisers have also confirmed the names of the 15 short films competing for the Iris Prize Best British short award, supported by Film4 and Pinewood Studios Group. 

The festival opens on Tuesday 6th October and close 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. 

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