By David Llewellyn
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12th October 2018

Iris 2018 Jour Trois

In which filmmakers from around the world discover just how competitive Welsh karaoke can get.

So it’s 1:37am, and the Iris Blogger has just returned from an evening of karaoke at the Golden Cross, one of the few remaining Victorian boozers in the heart of Cardiff.

What a night. That’s all he can say (or type) at this ungodly hour. What a night, and what a day, as we enjoyed the first batch of British shorts and a bevvy of feature films, including one of the Blogger’s personal favourites, Steve McLean’s Postcards from London. 

At the morning meeting, there were more scandalous whisperings, but by Day 3 of the festival that’s pretty much par of the course. Let’s just say that certain jury members rolled in late and had to watch their films on the film festival equivalent of “catch-up”.

Programme 4 of the international shorts competing for the Iris Prize itself included Dario, a fun, vibrant and heartwarming film from Colombia, while Programme 5 gave us documentaries that took a look at the LGBT+ past. Of these, When the World Changed was perhaps the stand-out – a touching documentary about the role that lesbians played in helping gay men die with dignity int he early days of the AIDS crisis.

Dykes, Camera, Action! was a joyous documentary that explored the history of lesbian cinema, from the 1960s through to more recent successes such as The Kids Are Alright and Carol. (The Iris Blogger can’t even hear Carter Burwell’s music from Carol without crying with melancholic bliss.)

Programme 6 of the international shorts tackled the subject of intimacy, and of these the subtle Sleepover was possibly the most impressive. Of course, other Iris-goers may disagree. This was an especially strong bunch of films.

The first programme of British shorts gave us a second outing for Wren Boys and one of my personal faves, Clothes & Blow. 

The Iris Blogger had the honour of introducing Steve McLean’s witty and stylish Postcards from London and doing the Q&A which followed, which was an absolute joy, and then it was over to the Golden for this year’s karaoke night.

What can I say? Well… at what is now 1:56am… very little. It was a hoot, a blast, an absolute humdinger of a night. It took a while to explain to some of our visitors that for the Welsh, karaoke is less of an ice-breaker, in which participants are happy to make a fool of themselves, and more the singing equivalent of a blood-sport. But it was so much fun. The Iris Blogger awards a gold star to jury member Andria Wilson for her rendition of Ice, Ice Baby, with a commendation for our very own Mathew David Hill for the way he corralled/bullied the jury into getting up onto the stage.

Anyway. It’s just turned 2:00am, and tomorrow is an insanely busy day, with the Producers Forum, Education Day, and further screenings all happening simultaneously. Wish me luck.

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