Hat-trick as Australia takes the 2014 Iris Prize

All God’s Creatures about the relationship between two young brothers following the death of their father has been announced as winner of the 2014 Iris Prize – Cardiff’s International Gay and Lesbian Short Film Prize supported by The Michael Bishop Foundation. The £25,000 prize will allow the filmmaker to make a new short film in the UK.

And the other winners are:

Middle Man directed by Charlie Francis – Best British Short sponsored by Pinewood Studios and described by the jury as a perfect short film.

Boy Meets Girl directed by Eric Schaeffer - Iris Prize Best Feature Award

Michael Welch (Robby) in Boy Meets Girl Best Actor in a Feature

Kate Trotter (Alise) in Tru Love Best Actress in a Feature

Bombshell directed by Erin Sanger (USA) - Iris Prize Youth Award sponsored by Cardiff University.

At the sold out Iris Awards 2014 presented by Amy Lamé at Cardiff’s Park Inn Hotel, Lord Glendonbrook announced that the international jury had selected filmmaker Brendon McDonall from Australia to scoop the coveted award.

Sara Sugarman, Chair of the Iris Prize Jury said, “Iris’ 2014 theme was ‘bigger and better’, and this was nowhere more evident than on the screen.  The standard of films this year was exceptionally high, covering a rich diversity of genres and themes, and this made for some very robust jury discussions.  We were really pleased to see stories tackling some of the most pressing issues affecting the LGBT community globally, as well as more intimate, personal dramas.”

Three short films reached the final stage of the competition. They were:
1. All God’s Creatures
All God’s Creatures is a brilliantly executed film, with wonderful performances from its two young leads and beautiful art direction.  At its heart it covers all LGBT issues about being comfortable with who you are.”

2. Aban + Korshid
Aban + Korshid is an intensely moving and delicate piece of filmmaking, and makes a strong political statement about LGBT human rights.”

3. Bombshell
Bombshell was another film that used its young actors to excellent effect, and told a  gripping and beautifully crafted story of lesbian empowerment.”

The Iris Prize Best British Short was presented to Middle Man directed by Charlie Francis who was at the ceremony. The new award is sponsored by Pinewood Studios who have committed services valued at £14,000 for the winner’s next short film. Jury Chair Judith Nobel said: “Middle Man is a perfect short film. It is beautifully structured, witty and touching. In 5 minutes we have watched great directing, wonderful characterisation, excellent editing and a great story. A story about love with universal appeal.” There was also a Commendation for We Are Fine directed by Simon Savory.

The Best Feature Award was presented to Boy Meets Girl. The jury which included former Iris Prize winner Eldar Rapaport was presented by Martin Briggs who said: “Boy Meets Girl has an emotional depth, an honesty and directness, lightened by moments of sharp wit with final notes of hope and determination that left us with tears streaming down our faces.”

The performance awards sponsored by Gay Star New were presented to Michael Welch for his role as Robby in Boy Meets Girl and Kate Trotter who played Alice in Tru Love. Presenting the Award Tris Reid-Smith and Lynne Reynolds said, "This has been a breakthrough year for features at Iris and our deliberations were tough but the performances we chose represent  the best of LGBT cinema - challenging, heart-warming and true".

Finally, the Iris Prize Youth Award was presented to Bombshell directed by Erin Sanger from the USA. The Youth Jury said, “This film is really useful as a teaching aid because issues of identity and prejudice are drawn out authentically for a teenage audience. It is a perfectly scripted and played mood piece that discusses misogyny and encourages empathy with those who are perceived not to be normal."

There was also a special mention for Butterfly as a positive film that helps us understand the realities of living with aspergers and transgender issues."

Festival guests included directors Till Kleinert (The Samurai, Germany) and Daniel Ribero (The Way He Looks, Brazil); and a strong UK contingency including Paul Sweeney, Senior Film Buyer for Cineworld , Andrew M Smith (Pinewood Studios). The International Jury included last year’s Iris Prize winner Tim Marshall from Australia, Hen Yanni (Melting Away, Israel), Diva Magazine’s Film Editor Joanna Benecke and TLV Fest founder Yair Hockner.