The opening night of Iris Prize 2020 will bring a variety of films, talks and music entertainment 

BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS

Tonight, the 14th edition of Iris Prize will open its first virtual festival, available online and for free to audiences across the UK. 

The international celebration of diversity and visibility of the LGBTQI community will kick off this evening at 7pm with the UK premiere of the critically acclaimed short film from Manchester based filmmakers Lloyd Eyre-Morgan and Neil Ely, S.A.M, that offers a highly important perspective on issues around disability. 

Other short films shown during tonight’s opening include Welsh director Efa Blosse-Mason’s beautifully animated Cwch Deilen, the BAFTA Cymru nominated Involuntary Activist, directed by Iris Prize 2017 winner Mikael Bunsden, and Lewis Carter’s Lifeline shot during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Everything is online this year, which means you can log in at at any time and watch whatever you want – even if you’ve only got 15 minutes spare. Or if a binge watch is more you’re style, you can watch all of the films in one go!

With no physical events for 2020’s festival, Iris Prize welcomed a fresh group of diversely talented individuals to judge the Best Of British category, including Team GB international hockey player, Sarah Jones. 

Speaking exclusively to DIVA in the lead up to the festival, Sarah told us: “I’ve not been involved in any film jury before but I thought the standard of Iris Prize 2020 was exceptional. There were some beautiful shots, some really interesting themes, some incredible characters and some genuinely unforgettable films in there.” 

She continued: “There wasn’t really anything in particular that I was looking for as a judge. I don’t think I realised until we started assessing as a jury what my type of film was. There was five of us on the jury and we had some similar views but also some very different opinions which was fascinating. I’ve found out that I’m a big fan of the score – the soundtrack to me is really important and so is dialogue. One of my favourite films was silent for half of the time though, but the other half had some really interesting dialogue.”

Anticipating long-term benefits for the festival, Director of Iris Prize, Berwyn Rowlands said: “I’m hoping that Iris 2020 will prove to be a significant year in the development of Iris and we will look back and recognise this was the year Iris came of age.”

Tune in to the opening of the festival tonight, Tuesday 6 October, with all screenings, talks and events available online for free until Sunday 11 October. There will also be a pay-per-view catch-up service which will run until the end of the month.

Head over to the Iris Prize website for more information on the full programme and how you can get involved.

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