The 10th anniversary celebrations – Andrew Pierce, Iris Prize Chair, WELCOMES FILMMAKERS, LOVERS OF FILM AND FRIENDS – OLD AND NEW TO CARDIFF FOR THE BIGGEST IRIS PRIZE FESTIVAL EVER!

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We were asked earlier this year, by my good friend and Iris’ generous patron Lord Glendonbrook, not to take our hard fought for liberties for granted. As we started the 10th anniversary celebrations in the company of funders, sponsors and supporters at the House of Lords, not one of us present on that sunny spring evening could have imagined the dark horrors that would unfold in Orlando.

Over the five days, of this our 10th anniversary festival, we will have time to reflect on the lives of LGBT people across the world who for political or religious reasons are not able to exist freely. Some are killed for falling in love, some are jailed for holding hands. Here in the UK, thanks to successive governments of all political persuasions, LGBT people are enjoying more freedoms than most of us could have dreamed of.

Next year we can look forward to the 50th anniversary of the 1967 act to decriminalise homosexuality in England and Wales. (Scotland had to wait a further 13 years till 1980 and Northern Ireland two years later in 1982). Yes, we have come a long way and part of this journey has involved Iris.

Movie Maker logoWe should congratulate our growing global family who make films, distribute films and watch films. I believe passionately that sharing our stories through film is the best way to educate the world about being LGBT. Our stories must be seen by as many people as possible; this is why Iris and her partner festivals in 17 countries play such an important role. The role of film festivals is changing and evolving and over the next 10 years, Iris will be there creating content and sharing our stories with the world.

If this is your first visit to Cardiff for the Iris Prize – enjoy the screenings, parties and opportunities to make new friends. If you are returning, you know what it’s all about, and remember to pace yourself.

I would like to congratulate Berwyn and his team for once again looking after Iris and in this 10th anniversary year securing Iris the A-List standard by BAFTA. The team not only deliver an annual 5-day festival, they also produce two short films a year, deliver an education programme funded by Ffilm Cymru Wales in 5 Welsh schools – and this year thanks to the Big Lottery Fund have started delivering an ambitious 3-year community project across Wales.

Many thanks also to our funders and sponsors who you will see listed here. Without them we would not be here creating and sharing our stories.

Enjoy Iris 2016,

Andrew Pierce
Chair, Iris Prize

 

The above short films will give you an idea of what to expect if you come and join us this October!
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