RainbowBiz, a social enterprise based in Flintshire, were the winners of the Leadership Award at the second annual Iris Community and Education Short Film Awards. The other winners were PLUS by Stanwell School, Penarth, which took the Best Education Short Film Award and Côr Blimey by South Wales Gay Men's Chorus, who took the Best Community Short Film Award at a packed ceremony at Cineworld in Llandudno Junction.
The awards celebrate the achievements of organisations across Wales, including schools, workplaces and community groups, who over the past year have worked with Iris to make a short film exploring LGBT+ issues.
The Awards show was presented by popular singer and presenter Elin Fflur and was the final event of Iris on the Move, a three-day celebration of LGBT film. Festival highlights included the Education Day attended by Ysgol Tryfan (Bangor) and Ysgol Eirias from Colwyn Bay, a selection of films celebrating love to coincide with Dydd Santes Dwynwen and a screening of God’s Own Country which is nominated for Best British feature at the BAFTA Film Awards.
The first award of the evening for Best Community Film was presented by Assembly Member Suzy Davies to Côr Blimey by South Wales Gay Men's Chorus, which covers the choir's successful journey to to compete at the Cornwall International Male Choral Festival.
The Community Jury said:
"Côr Blimey was the whole package - re-watchable, engaging, and enjoyable for a very wide audience. It could even change attitudes."
The jury awarded second place to Prefer Not to Say by Wales Audit Office.
"The easy, confident performances of this group of non-actors - particularly the central character - sold the story."
Third place was awarded to Three's a Crowd by Swansea People First.
"This heartwarming film featured great performances which raised an issue that is so often lost in LGBT communities."
The Best Education Film award was presented by Assembly Member Hannah Blythyn to the film PLUS by Stanwell School.
The Education Jury said:
"We were impressed with the originality of the content and the energy in its delivery. It brought out details of members of the community that are not usually covered and the use of humour was very effective."
The Jury also awarded second place to Geiriau by Ysgol Tryfan.
"The naturalness of the pupils and the thoughtful way they shared their personal stories created empathy with the audience. The group were very honest and genuine and spoke on the issues with ease."
Third place was awarded to Truth or Dare by Lewis School Pengham.
"From the opening shot they captured us and the young man who played the lead was very endearing. Truth or Dare was a complete story and it was great to see the father coming round in the end."
The final award of the evening, the Leadership Award, was presented by Assembly Member Adam Price to RainbowBiz.
Member of the Leadership Jury, Iris Patron Katie White commented:
"The Iris Leadership Award is aimed at a group or organisation which not only produces an interesting, informative and memorable LGBTQ+ film. It is an award that recognises how the completed project has and will be encouraged to be discussed, shared and showcased, and ultimately lead to future successful LGBTQ+ initiatives. This in turn would support and promote its members, including new members who are sure to be recruited by their warmth, enthusiasm and inclusive nature."
The audience were also shown the two-award winning short films from the 2017 Iris Prize Festival in Cardiff. Mikael Bundsen from Sweden was interviewed after the screening of his film Mother Knows Best, when he explained he will be returning to Wales later in the year to use his £30,000 prize to make a new short film. Also in attendance was Best British winner Dionne Edwards from London who spoke after the screening about her winning film We Love Moses.
Andrew Pierce, Iris Prize Chair, commented:
“It is important that Iris engages with audiences across the UK and this commitment to North Wales is the beginning of an ambitious plan to share LGBT stories with communities across the UK. I’m delighted that during 2018 Iris on the Move will also be visiting: Manchester in February, Newcastle in March and Brighton in May and June .”
The six secondary schools competing for the Education Award were: Ysgol Dyffryn Aman, Ammanford; Ysgol Stanwell School, Penarth; Ysgol Tryfan, Bangor; Eastern High School, Cardiff; Lewis School Pengam, Bargoed and Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn, Castell Newydd Emlyn.
The films were judged by:
• Rhiannon Hughes – Director of Wicked Cymru, Youth Film Festival
• Graham Cantwell – Lily Director, Winner of Iris Prize Youth Jury Award
• Paula Johnson – North Wales Police Enfys
• Alex Polanski - Bangor University LGBT+ Society
There were seven short films competing for the Iris Community Short Film Award, the groups responsible for the films are: Office of National Statistics, Wales Audit Office, RainbowBiz, Shelter Cymru, South Wales Gay Men’s Chorus, Swansea People First, Glitter Cymru.
The films were judged by:
• Mike Jones - Changing Attitude Trawsnewid Agwedd Cymru
• Jenny-Anne Bishop – Unique Transgender Network
• David Holloway – Bearable Director
• Dionne Edwards – We Love Moses Director, Best British Winner