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The Iris Prize Festival returns

The infamous Iris Prize Festival returns to Cardiff in search of a worthy winner of £30,000.

The Iris Prize Festival is commonly referred to as the “Gay Oscars” and is the home of LGBT filmmaking. During 12 – 16 October the search will begin in Cineworld on Mary Ann Street, for the ninth deserving winner.

The festival celebrates the best of LGBT storytelling content from around the globe. It is identified as one of the top 50 film festivals in the world and was promoted by BAFTA to ‘A’ list festival status, alongside Cannes and Sundance.

Supported by The Michael Bishop Foundation, the £30,000 award remains the largest LGBT short film prize in the world. Seven short films have been produced with previous winners, with the eighth currently in pre-production.

Capital FM’s Matt Lissack is this year’s presenter and says it is a fantastic opportunity to showcase talents and without Iris Prize, there would be “very little to no funding” for LGBT filmmakers telling stories of LGBT people.

The panel will be judging 35 individual short films. 25 are nominations from partner festivals and the remaining 10 are offered via an open submissions process. “Anyone who has an amazing film can make that shortlist,” Matt explained.

Andrew Keenan-Bolger, an American filmmaker, made this year’s shortlist. His story ‘SIGN’ is a silent film that tells the story of a deaf and a hearing man. Andrew said, “There are so many parallels between the deaf experience and gay experience. Both have fallen under historical systems of oppression and have been viewed by many as needing to be fixed or cured. Yet, both have built a rich culture and strong identity.” When questioned on his inspiration, he said, “Filmmaking is biased to a hearing audience. I was inspired to tell a story that could be enjoyed equally by both hearing and deaf viewers.”

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