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Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival

The Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival was founded in 2006 not only as a celebration of queer film making but to raise the quality of work in this field. Fifteen years on, the festival is globally recognised and has been a springboard for new talent. It has also opened up LGBT+ themes to more audiences and established Cardiff as a hot destination on the film festival map, supported by BFI as a main festival sponsor.

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The Iris Prize Jury in 2018

This world-renowned film festival has raised the quality and profile of LGBT+ short films while nurturing talent, reaching new audiences and bringing the world to Wales.

Welsh creative producer Berwyn Rowlands founded the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival in 2006 not only as a celebration of queer film making but to raise the quality of work in this field. Fifteen years on, the festival is globally recognised and has been a springboard for new talent. It has also opened up LGBT+ themes to more audiences and established Cardiff as a hot destination on the film festival map, supported by BFI as a main festival sponsor.

While the festival usually takes place in Cardiff in October, it also tours year-round. In 2020, the Iris Prize moved online and saw its audience grow from 11,000 admission during the festival to 84,000 admission online, with screenings accompanied by half an hour of live broadcasts every day. All the Best British shortlisted films are also available to watch on All 4 for free.

The Iris team

Outreach work is a key part of the Iris Prize ethos and it offers programmes in both schools and the community. In January 2021, the team received a grant from The National Lottery Community Fund for a three-year project working with the LGBT+ community and their allies.Ten groups will make their own films about LGBT+ issues, taking acting workshops and gaining scriptwriting and filmmaking skills.

This could be the stepping stone to a big career in the industry - Dee Rees, winner of the inaugural Iris Prize in 2007 for her film Pariah - has gone on to become the first black woman nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category at the Oscars, for her 2017 film Mudbound.

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