Organisers of the Cardiff-based Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival have confirmed the programme of films and guest speakers to tour the UK in 2020 as part of Iris on the Move. The highlight of the tour will be preview screenings of And Then We Danced, a story of rivalry and desire set within the world of a prestige dancing academy in Georgia.
Berwyn Rowlands, Iris Prize, commented:
“The film is a visually ravishing drama and has secured lavish praise at festival screenings across the world, winning many awards including the Best Feature Award sponsored by Bad Wolf at Iris this October.”
“The controversy surrounding the film’s premier in Georgia a few months ago only proves what we’ve been saying at Iris for some time - we should not take for granted the freedom we have secured for ourselves as LGBT+ people. Things can change very quickly in this world and more often than not it is minorities like us who are targeted.”
“I’m therefore delighted that with the support of Peccadillo Pictures, who are distributing the film in the UK, we are able to include preview screenings of And Then We Danced as part of Iris On The Move.”
And Then We Danced – the story to date:
Sandro Bregadze, leader of Georgian nationalist group Georgian March, pledged to stop the screenings going ahead, describing the film as “a striking example of gay propaganda that has no artistic value. This is propaganda of sodomy and foulness.”
His comments were echoed by Andria Jagmiadze, head of public relations for the Georgian Orthodox Church, who described the film as “yet another attempt to downplay Georgian, Christian values.”
Levan Akin, the film’s director, responding to the protest in Georgia commented online:
“So many people have asked me about what’s going on in Georgia regarding the premiere of And Then We Danced.
Some far-right groups and the Church have basically condemned the film and are planning to stop people from entering the sold-out screenings. It is absurd that people who bought tickets need to be brave and risk getting harassed or even assaulted just for going to see a film.
I made this film with love and compassion. It is my love letter to Georgia and to my heritage. With this story I wanted to reclaim and redefine Georgian culture to include all not just some. But unfortunately these are the dark times we live in and the pending protests just proves how vital it is to stand up against these shadowy forces in any way we can.”
IRIS ON THE MOVE – other highlights
The 2020 touring programme will also include My Brother is a Mermaid; a magic-realist story about a trans teen living in a dilapidated seaside community. Directed by Alfie Dale, it is the first short film to take three awards at the Iris Prize Festival – receiving Cardiff University’s Iris Prize Youth Award and the Buzz Magazine Audience Award as well as the Iris Prize Best British Prize sponsored by Pinewood Studios.
Joining director Alfie Dale on tour will be the film’s lead actor Cameron Maydale, who will be performing a selection of his music to entertain audiences post screenings.
Alfie Dale, director, My Brother is a Mermaid, commented:
“I’m very excited that My Brother is a Mermaid will get to travel across the UK as part of Iris on the Move. We make films to be seen and the Iris tour is a great way to reach a new audience and share an important story. It's an honour and a delight to be a part of the Iris team who have a passion for bold cinema, and really champion the films that come up through the festival.”
2017 Iris Prize winner Mikael Bundsen from Sweden will also be joining Iris on the Move in Plymouth and Bournemouth for screenings of his film Involuntary Activist, the 10th short film made with the Iris Prize.
The organisers have announced that the Wales-based Education and Community Awards, now in their 4th year, will for the first time be accepting entries from across the border in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. They also confirmed the addition of Micro Shorts as a new category in the competition. Submissions close on TBC and the awards will be presented on Friday 24 January 2020 in Llandudno Junction.
Andrew Pierce, Iris Prize Chair, commented:
“It is important that Iris engages with audiences across the UK. I’m thrilled that during 2020 we will be adding Plymouth to our list of destinations, as Iris on the Move returns to Newcastle, Manchester, Bournemouth and Brighton. I’m also pleased that we will also be expanding our coverage in North Wales visiting Bangor and Caernarfon as well as our traditional base in Llandudno Junction”
The full Iris on the Move: North Wales programme and box office is available here
All screenings are open to the public.
Iris on the Move 2020 will be visiting the following locations:
- Caernarfon (Gisda) – Mon 20 Jan
- Llandudno Junction (Cineworld) – Wed 22 Jan
- Bangor (Pontio) – Thu 23 Jan
- Llandudno Junction (Cineworld) – Fri 24 Jan
- Manchester (Home) – Tue 4 and Wed 5 Feb
- Manchester (The Federation) - Thu 6 Feb
- Plymouth (Plymouth Arts Cinema) - Mon 10 and Tue 11 Feb
- Bournemouth (Arts University Bournemouth) - Wed 19 through Sat 22 Feb
- Cardiff (Chapter) - Thu 27 Feb
- Newcastle (Northumbria University) - Wed 4 March
- Newcastle (Tyneside Cinema) – Thu 5 March
- Brighton (The Warren, Brighton Fringe Festival) 30 April through 31 May
Iris on the Move 2020 is funded and supported by: BFI, Film Hub Wales, Attitude Magazine and Peccadillo Pictures.
The main festival sponsors are: The Michael Bishop Foundation, Welsh Government, BFI, BBC Cymru Wales, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Pinewood Studios Group, Cardiff University, For Cardiff, Bad Wolf, Gorilla Group, Co-op Respect, University of South Wales and Cineworld. The festival also works in partnership with BAFTA Cymru, Pride Cymru and Stonewall Cymru.