Black Hat wins 2019 Iris Prize presented by Russell T Davies

Drama set within LA’s Hasidic community and directed by Sarah Smith, wins the £30,000 prize for an international LGBT+ short film.

Black Hat, directed by US director Sarah Smith, has been announced by writer and producer Russell T Davies as the winner of Cardiff’s annual international LGBT+ short film award, the Iris Prize. Her film tells the story of a closeted Hasidic Jewish man living in Los Angeles and was a second nomination for Sarah and producer and writer Philip Guttman, who were shortlisted for their comedy D. Asian in 2015. She is the fourth woman to win the prize.
The £30,000 prize, supported by The Michael Bishop Foundation, allows Sarah to make another short film here in the UK. Eleven films have been produced by Iris Prize winners to date, the first being Colonial Gods, from Academy Award-nominated writer and director Dee Rees (Mudbound).
The winner of the Best British award, sponsored by Pinewood Studios, is My Brother is a Mermaid; a magic-realist story about a trans teen living in a dilapidated seaside community. The film, directed by Alfie Dale, was also the winner of both Cardiff University’s Iris Prize Youth Award and the Buzz Magazine Audience Award.

Best Feature sponsored by Bad Wolf went to And then We Danced, a romantic drama set in a prestigious Georgian dance academy, with special mentions going to UK director Hong Khaou’s film Monsoon and the documentary Changing the Game.

Best Performance in a Male Role sponsored by Attitude Magazine went to Monsoon star Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians, A Simple Favor), with Best Performance in a Female Role sponsored by Diva Magazine being won by Linda Caridi from the Italian comedy Mom + Mom (Mamma + Mamma).

The awards took place during the Iris Carnival at Cardiff’s Tramshed, with live music from BLɅCKƎLVIS, and a “food village” supplied by Co-op.

Speaking of Black Hat, International Jury chair Jake Graf said, “It shone a light on an often unseen community in a sensitive, tender and positive way, without casting judgement. We found the lead charming and likeable, the film visually stunning, and responded well to this perfectly crafted and concise work of art. Accomplished, enjoyable and captivating.”

Ffilm Cymru are proud to have supported the Iris Prize Festival, as well as its programmes of film education, since its inception.