By Berwyn Rowlands
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20 August 2019
Actors and directors from Australia, Philippines and USA to attend Cardiff based LGBT+ film festival to introduce 14 feature films including 2 UK and 1 European premiere

Iris to celebrate documentary films during a special strand of short and feature films which includes European premiere of new trans documentary Changing the Game

Live BSL screenings for closing weekend as festival strives to be more inclusive

Organisers of the Iris Prize have today (20/08/2019) announced details of the 2019 Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival. 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.

The closing Iris Carnival returns to the Tramshed where popular TV writer and producer Russell T Davies (Years and Years, Torchwood, Doctor Who) will present the £30,000 Iris Prize for the second time. Guests will be entertained by Cardiff based BLɅCKƎLVIS (pictured above) with the food and drink being presented by Welsh based suppliers in partnership with the Co-op.

FEATURE FILM HIGHLIGHTS
Sequin in a Blue Room
arrives at Iris fresh from its International premiere at Outfest LA in Los Angeles and two strong outings back home in Australia where it played both Sydney and Melbourne’s International Film Festivals.

Director Samuel Van Grinsven’s impressive first film was made budget in film school on a modest and follows our 16-year-old hero, Sequin, as he seeks out sex with men, deleting them from his dating app once he’s achieved his objective. However, Sequin, played by Connor Leach, gets into trouble when he tries to reconnect with an older-man he encountered at a sex party.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Harry Windsor, reviewing the film said:
“The film’s exploration of social media is central to young lives, Sequin in a Blue Room feels very much of the moment, but it’s upholstered by an impressive command of good old-fashioned craft.”

The organisers are delighted that Connor Leach (pictured above) who plays Sequin will be in Cardiff for the duration of the festival attending all the screenings including the Sunday screening which will be a live BSL screening.

Other guests attending the festival include director Samantha Lee (pictured left) (Billie and Emma) from the Philippines and Mark Blane (pictured left) (Cubby) from the USA. Further guests including the 18 jury members will be announced later this month.

EXPANDED INDUSTRY TALKS
The festival will also include an expanded programme of industry events sponsored by the University of South 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 Two Weeks, an LGBTQ drama web series is one of the confirmed speakers for the session.

The first Student Showcase of new LGBT+ short film from 6 UK based film schools will also take place at Iris, when details about the development of the Iris Film Academy will be announced.

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 feature documentaries and hosting a panel session which will feature local and international filmmakers.“

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

Berwyn Continued:

“We’ve managed to fit a lot into our six days and as we get closer to opening night, we will be revealing more about what you can see in Cardiff this October. We’ve always loved Cardiff, and Cardiff has been an amazing home for Iris. We will be announcing more details about our opening night closer to the date. The evening is sponsored by FOR Cardiff and it will be our most ambitious opening night ever.”

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