By Team Iris
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04 October 2018
* 35 Short films compete for the 2018 Iris Prize. 20 countries represented bringing together films featuring contemporary dance, brutal violence and challenging stories about gender
* Seven feature films to receive UK Premiere in Cardiff
* Brit Award and Mercury Prize winning singer Heather Small will return to the Iris Prize Festival to be on the judging panel

The 12th Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival will begin at Cineworld Cardiff on Tuesday 9th of October with a six day celebration of films, talks and social events.

The programme includes screenings of 35 international short films competing for the Iris Prize and the 15 Best British Short nominees, as well as feature films, parties, talks, an education day and much more. The Festival culminates with the Iris Carnival at the Tramshed in Cardiff on Sunday where the winners are announced including the winner of the main prize of £30,000, supported by The Michael Bishop Foundation. A special jury will watch the entire programme and Iris is delighted that singer Heather Small will join the jury this year following her stunning appearance at the Iris Carnival last year. Iris continues to be the only LGBT short film prize in the world which allows the winner to make a new film.

The Opening Night (Tuesday 9th October) will kick things off in style with a red carpet arrival at Cineworld, Cardiff, and a screening of six short films. These include:

Cake – A film made by Birchgrove WI Cardiff in collaboration with Iris Outreach.
Wild Geese – The 9th production by Iris Prize
Arth – The latest film made by Straeon Iris, programme to present content in the Welsh Language

The Co-op is proud to once again be confirmed as a partner for the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival, while Brit Award and Mercury Prize winning singer, Heather Small – a Co-op Respect Network Partner - will be coming back to Cardiff as a member of this year's judging panel.

Heather Small, said: “I jumped at the chance to take part in Iris – it’s a wonderful and vibrant celebration of diversity, inclusivity and creativity, and I am looking forward to immersing myself in the array of talent which I know will again provoke discussion and debate, and make judging an incredibly difficult process.

Berwyn Rowlands, Festival Director, said:

Iris is about sharing stories. Stories about falling in and out of love, stories about loss and grief, stories about the everyday that shine a light on our lives, our hopes, our dreams. Iris is always about making the invisible visible.

“”There are many top feature films in our programme this year, seven of which are receiving their UK premieres at Iris. I’m also looking forward to the second Iris Carnival at the Tramshed with the Co-op Food Village and Cardiff’s star singer Lily Beau headlining our live music stage, the perfect way to bring the six-day festival to a close.There will be amazing music , chill-out areas, opportunities to see the winning films, welcome drinks reception and not forgetting the 2018 Iris Awards.

A number of films in this year’s programme (both narrative and documentary) take a look back at the early days of AIDS, and so we’re taking this opportunity to ask, what are the responsibilities that come with telling that story? When is it appropriate to return? Who is the audience? And do today’s filmmakers have anything new to say? We are thrilled to have brought together a group who collectively bring many experiences about AIDS and film to this important discussion, which promises to be a highlight of the 2018 festival.”

Students from schools across Wales will attend Iris’s Education Day to watch some of the films competing at this year’s and share films that they have made through the Iris Prize outreach programme. They will also take part in workshops discussing LGBT+ issues, filmmaking and storytelling.

The six days of films, talks and events will take place at Cineworld, Mary Ann Street , Cardiff from Tuesday 9th October until Sunday 14th of October .

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The Iris Prize Festival 2018 in numbers:

  • 9 programmes of short films competing for the Iris Prize
  • The US have the most nominations at 9, followed by the UK with 5 and Germany with 4
  • 3 programmes of shorts competing for the Iris Prize Best British
  • 3 programmes of shorts on Super Saturday when we discover the finalists
  • 13 new feature films with 7 UK premieres
  • 6 question and answer sessions with visiting feature film directors
  • 3 amazing talks
  • 1 Producers Forum
  • 1 opening night celebration and post screening party
  • 1 amazing Iris Carnival an all-day extravaganza combining, food, film and music
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