35 International shorts compete for Iris Prize 2020

Thirty five international filmmakers are set to compete for £30,000 prize money as the organisers of Cardiff’s International LGBT+ Short Film Prize, supported by The Michael Bishop Foundation have today announced the shortlisted films in competition for the world’s largest international LGBT+ short film prize.

The Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival runs 6th to 11th October.

Iris Prize has 25 international partner festivals who nominate films each year for the Iris Prize shortlist, with the rest being chosen by a pre-selection jury from a record number of films entered through open submissions.

UK audiences can join in the experience for the first time in the festival’s history, by watching all the nominated shorts for free online, ensuring it reaches a wider audience than ever.

Directors from India, China, Brazil and Macedonia compete with counterparts from the UK and around the world, offering dramatically diverse representations within the global LGBT+ community.   Filmmakers share personal family expectations and the intimacy of relationships alongside the transformative impacts of meeting the right person at the right time. They stand alongside sobering stories of cultural, political or even family restraints that mean fighting for the freedom to be true to self, overcoming fear, hostility and alienation.  We encounter characters who are tentatively exploring their sexuality for the first time or breaking free of their past to embrace unique identities and genders.  Plus, at a time when we need it most, there are reminders that there is plenty to be joyful about, and reason to laugh out loud.

The one uniting factor in all 35 films is an exhilarating celebration of lives of LGBT+ people across the world.

This year’s shortlisted films in alphabetical order are:

1-1 (Sweden, 2020)   -  directed by Naures Sager
ALL GOOD THINGS  (Australia, 2019)  -  directed by Simon Croker
BABY  (USA, 2019)  -  directed by Jessie Levandov                                                                                   
BATHROOM TROLL (USA, 2018)  -  directed by Aaron Immediato
BLACK LIPS (Australia, 2018)  -  directed by Adrian Chiarella                                                             
BLACKN3SS (Brazil , 2018)  -  directed by  Diego Paulino                                                                            
BOYS (BANIM) (Israel, 2020) -  directed by Lior Soroka
BREAK IN (USA, 2020) -  directed by Alyssa Lerner                                                                                   
CICADA (Czech Republic , 2020)  - Piaoyu Xie
DIRTY (USA, 2020)  -   Matthew Puccini
DOWN DOG (USA, 2020)  - directed by Shae Xu                                                                                                 
DRIFTING (China, USA, 2019)  -  directed by Hanxiong Bo
HIS NAME (HANN)  (Iceland, 2018) -  directed by  Runar Thor                                                                       
OCTOBER (USA, 2019) -  directed by  Mae Mann                                                                                          
ON MY WAY (Belgium, 2020) -  directed by Sonam Larcin                                                                                
ORVILLE + BOB (USA, 2019) -  directed by Alan Griswold                                                                               
PEACH (Australia, 2020) -  Rowan Devereux & Sophie Saville                                                                         
PRETTY GIRL (CAILÍN ÁLAINN) (Ireland, 2019) -  directed by Megan K Fox)                                                  
QUEENS (UK, 2020) -  directed by  Nick Bechman                                                                                             
SAVING CHINTU (India, 2020) -  directed by Tushar Tyagi                                                                             
SELMA AFTER THE RAIN (Brazil, 2019)  -  directed by Loli Menezes                                                             
SHEAR AVORY: TO BE CONTINUED  (USA, 2020)  -  directed by Abram Cerda                                             
SHHH! (HYSJ!) (Norway, 2019)  directed by Nini Kjeldner                                                                            
SHORT CALF MUSCLE (Netherlands, 2019)  -  directed by Victoria Warmerdam                                         
SNAKE (Macedonia, 2020)  -  directed by Andrey Volkashin                                                                             
THE CYPHER  (USA, 2020)  -  directed by Letia Solomon
THE PASSING (UK,  2020) -  directed by Nichola Wong                                                                  
THE SHAWL  (USA, 2020) -  directed by Sara Kiener                                                                                         
THE WAY WE ARE (Canada, 2020)  -  directed by Amanda Ann-Min Wong                                                   
THRIVE (UK, 2019) -  directed by Jamie Di Spirito                                                                                              
UNTITLED SEQUENCE OF GAPS (Germany, 2020) - directed by  Vika Kirchenbauer                                   
VICTORIA (Spain, 2020 -  directed by Daniel Toledo Saura)                                                                              
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THE RING (Taiwan, 2020) -  directed by Yichi Chen
WHEN IN ROME (PAESE CHE VAI) (Italy, 2020)  -  directed by Luca Padrini                                                  
WINGS (UK, 2020)  -  Jamie Weston

Acknowledging the challenges that this year’s event have presented, Andrew Pierce, Iris Prize chair says: “Back in April we watched everything around us change as life here in the UK and the rest of the world became a frightening journey into the unknown. Almost everything that we knew for certain was taken away from us. During the height of the pandemic the entertainment sector became a lifeline, sharing stories to entertain millions during the lockdown. It also became a victim as the need to protect people from Covid-19 meant we had to stop filming.”

He continues, “The Iris Prize could quite easily have become a victim to this unprecedented pandemic. Luckily our dear friend Lord Glendonbrook was determined to offer some hope to the LGBT+ film sector and early on committed the Michael Bishop Foundation to present the 2020 Iris Prize whatever happened. Together with the support of our sponsors and funders team Iris have been working on our most ambitious festival ever, but more about this later.

“This is why I’m delighted to share with you the Class of 2020. The 35 short films in competition are the best of the best. They represent excellence in storytelling, taking us the viewer to places that only film can. Pointing a bright spotlight on the lives of lgbt+ people making sure that we are seen in all our colourful diversity”.

With Iris making its programme available online, Andrew Pierce says, “2020 is the year we take the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival online, making it available to everybody in the UK and from 6 – 11 October all screenings will be free. These 35 short films are what I believe to be the perfect way to engage a new audience and keep our traditional audience happy.”

The organisers have also confirmed the names of the 15 short films competing for the Iris Prize Best British short award, supported by Film4 and Pinewood Studios Group.

The festival opens on Tuesday 6th October and close on Sunday 11th October, with all screenings, talks and events available online for free. There will also be a pay-per-view catch-up service which will run until the end of October.         

The main festival sponsors are: The Michael Bishop Foundation, Welsh Government, the BFI awarding funds from the National Lottery, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film 4, University of South Wales, Co-op Respect, Bad Wolf, Gorilla Group, Peccadillo Pictures, Pinewood Studios, Attitude Magazine, Diva Magazine and The Ministry of Sound.

The festival also works in partnership with BAFTA Cymru, Pride Cymru and Stonewall Cymru.