With feature films including Todd Stephens’ Swan Song and Bruce LaBruce’s Saint Narcisse, the 2021 Iris Prize platforms all areas of the LGBTQIA+ community


For 15 years now, the Iris Prize has championed LGBTQIA+ film. Unveiling its 2021 programme with support from The Michael Bishop Foundation, this year’s festival will be taking place in Cardiff from 5-10 October.

The nominations have successfully achieved a 50/50 divide between genders, including trans and non-binary individuals, in what is set to be the most diverse edition of the Iris Prize yet. 35 international filmmakers will compete for the £30,000 prize to produce another LGBTQIA+ film, alongside fifteen British filmmakers, three of which are Welsh, nominated for the Best British Short film prize. A groundbreaking nineteen countries are represented in this year’s shortlist, including Iran, Brazil, Philippines, Bulgaria, and South Korea.

Image depicting a still from Noor and Layla, directed by Fawzia Mirza. Image by Iris Prize.

With feature films including Todd Stephens’s Swan Song and Bruce LaBruce’s Saint Narcisse, the 2021 Iris Prize platforms all areas of the LGBTQIA+ community. In #WLW representation, Shanahan and Sian A. Williams’ highly anticipated documentary, Rebel Dykes, platforms the stories of the punk lesbian collective that pioneered a unique form of LGBTQIA+ activism in the 1970s and 1980s, notably abseiling into the House of Lords in a move that was nothing short of iconic. Rebel Dykes’ entrance at the Iris Prize will be accompanied by a day of activities, including talks at Chapter Cinema, in celebration of the awe-inspiring story behind the documentary.

Identified as one of the “top 50 film festivals worth the entry fee”, in 2017, the Iris Prize was promoted by BAFTA, and is now recognised as a qualifying festival for the BAFTA awards, alongside the Cannes Film Festival and Sundance. The best thing of all? Iris 2021 won’t just be unfolding in person: it’ll be streaming online until the 31 October, so the programme can equally be enjoyed from the sofa.     

Berwyn Rowlands, of the Iris Prize, states: “Our venues, including our new city centre home Premiere Cinemas, are ready to put on a show. We are living in a different world to when we last came together in 2019, but there will be much which is familiar, and fingers crossed, a few new surprises.”

The Iris Prize opening evening takes place on 5 October, displaying an array of activities including screenings of Lara Zeidan’s A Beautiful Film To See and Mathew David’s Skinny Fat. Tickets to this evening of events are £12 and are available to snap up online now. There’s much to be excited about, DIVAs!

For more info visit irisprize.org


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