By Berwyn Rowlands
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04 October 2019
“We’ve seen in the news recently disturbing images of anti-LGBT+ protestors picketing a Birmingham school over its positive attitude towards diversity. I’m proud to show the world we do things differently in Wales.”

Tonyrefail Community School’s new LGBT short film, I Feel Love to receive world premiere on opening night.
Organisers of the Iris Prize have confirmed that a new short film made by pupils of Tonyrefail Community School will feature as part of their opening night celebrations. Inspired by the Ballroom Culture of 1980s New York - as seen in the documentary Paris is Burning and the Emmy-winning drama Pose - I Feel Love was made as part of an Iris Prize Outreach project funded and supported by Ffilm Cymru Wales, University of South Wales, Stonewall Cymru and Welsh Government.

Berwyn Rowlands, Festival Director, commented:
“We’ve seen in the news recently disturbing images of anti-LGBT+ protestors picketing a Birmingham school over its positive attitude towards diversity. I’m proud to show the world we do things differently here in Wales.”

“We have worked with thousands of school pupils across the country and been supported by a huge number of teachers and parents. I’m excited that we can give Tonyrefail Community School’s short film centre stage as part of our opening night celebrations. At Iris we’ve always had a strong commitment to working with schools across Wales to openly celebrate diversity, and more recently we’ve started working across the border in Manchester.”

Inclusion, tolerance and defiance at heart of 2019 Cardiff Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival.

Inclusion continues to be at the heart of the Cardiff-based film festival, which this year celebrates its 13th edition. The programme features stories from around the world dealing with sexuality and gender representing the gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans communities.

Berwyn Continued:
“This year has been once again a very difficult one for the trans community at home in the UK, but also further afield. I have become completely convinced that Iris has a crucial role to play in supporting the trans community through this challenging and often dangerous time.”

“It is one thing to be inclusive and tolerant but at times we need to be defiant. This is further confirmed by the announcement of trans activist, filmmaker and actor Jake Graf as the 2019 Jury Chair. Jake will also be joined on the jury by his wife Hannah Graf, who is the highest-ranking transgender officer in the British Army.”

“This is not the first time we have had a couple on the jury together, but this is our first trans couple. They are both amazing role models for both young and older trans people, which is why I was thrilled and delighted when Jake and Hannah agreed to join us in Cardiff for the festival.”

“Our film programme is packed with trans shorts in both the Best British and International competitions. We also have the European Premiere of a new feature documentary Changing the Game, directed by Michael Barnett, which is a poignant tribute to young trans athletes changing the rules in the face of hate.”

Expanded Industry Talks
The festival will also include an expanded programme of industry events sponsored by the University of South Wales and Creative Europe Desk UK Wales. Many of the events will take place at the University’s ATRiuM building. The full programme includes sessions on acting, producing and how to get your work into film festivals with representatives from Los Angeles, Toronto and Dublin.

The growing sector of creating drama web series will also be examined during the festival. Mary Duong, a Vietnamese-Australian filmmaker from Brisbane who co-wrote and co-produced LGBTQ web series Two Weeks, is one of the confirmed speakers for the session. She will also be joined by Jacquie Lawrence. Writer of web series Different for Girls, she is also Creative Director of the DIVA Media Group and a former Commissioning Editor at Channel 4 and Sky One.

This year sees the festival’s first ever Student Showcase, featuring new LGBT+ short film from 6 UK-based film schools, when details about the development of the Iris Film Academy will be announced.

Documentary Day
On Thursday 10 October the festival will be celebrating documentary filmmaking. The panel session will include Cardiff-based Angela Clark, who’s 2018 Iris Prize shortlisted documentary Bachelor, 38 was nominated for a BAFTA Award. She will be joined by fellow Cardiff-based filmmaker Ian Smith, who’s film Go Home Polish will premiere on opening night.

The feature documentaries screening at Iris 2019 are Changing the Game (Michael Barnett); The Archivettes (Megan Rossman) and Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life (Tomer Heymann).

Berwyn Rowlands, Festival Director, commented:
“I’m excited about our documentary strand. The festival has always championed the genre and each year we have a wonderful selection in competition. This year we’ve taken things a step further by programming three hugely different feature documentaries and hosting a panel session which will feature local and international filmmakers.”

The 2019 Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival opens on Tuesday 8 October with the launch of Iris Live! on opening night. The six-day Cardiff extravaganza includes 14 feature films; 17 programmes of short films; an expanded programme of industry talks — including Iris’ first showcase of UK student LGBT+ films; and networking opportunities during lunches in a series of Meet the… sessions with professionals from across the industry.

Berwyn Continued:
“We’ve always loved Cardiff, and Cardiff has been an amazing home for Iris. The opening night has become one of the highlights of the festival, and this year is no exception. I don’t want to give too much away – but I would like to think Iris Live! is a love letter from Iris to the City. The evening is sponsored by FOR Cardiff and it will be our most ambitious opening night ever.”

The closing Iris Carnival and Iris Awards returns to the Tramshed in Cardiff where popular TV writer and producer Russell T Davies (Years and Years, Torchwood, Doctor Who) will present the £30,000 Iris Prize. Russell last presented the Iris Prize in 2008 to the second winner, Till Kleinert from Germany (pictured above). Guests will be entertained by Cardiff based BLɅCKƎLVIS with the food and drink being presented by Welsh based suppliers including Edwards of Conwy, Llaeth y Llan, Village Bakery, Aber Falls, Penderyn Distillery, Authentic Curries and world foods and Joe's Ice Cream in partnership with the Co-op.

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