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Guest blog: Leading LGBT film festival Iris Prize prepares for fifth year

Berwyn Rowlands
Director and Founder, Iris Prize Festival

The Iris Prize continues to be the world’s largest lesbian and gay short film prize valued at £25,000 offering a talented film maker the chance to make a new short film.

Thirty shorts compete for the Iris Prize, 18 are nominated by our partner festivals from 11 countries with the remaining 12 selected through open submission – we receive well over 100 films at the office each year. I’m confident that because of this global network Iris represent’s the best of the best and might explain why she has become recognised as such an important window on the world for gay and lesbian filmmakers.

Making sure that Iris lives up to people’s expectations has been our priority over the past 12 months and as we embark on our 5th edition.

Who could have predicted in 2007 that Iris would in such a short space of time become such a key player for LGBT filmmakers?  In its May 2011 issue America’s leading gay fashion and lifestyle magazine OUT identified the Iris Prize Festival as one of six unique film festivals in the world telling its readers that Iris is worth flying for and describing Cardiff as Wales’s increasingly cosmopolitan capital.

Competing filmmakers are heading to Cardiff from Switzerland, France, USA, Israel, Scotland, Japan, Germany and England.

We have some exciting developments this year. Stonewall Cymru and Iris have offered six young people the opportunity to develop their editorial and filming skills interviewing directors and actors for IrisTV. You will see them in Chapter and Cineworld filming visiting directors, the jury and members of the public.

I am proud to be part of the Iris and if you can make it to Cardiff I’m confident you will receive a very warm welcome from Iris and her friends.

  • You can follow the Iris Prize on twitter @irisprize for announcements, news and events.

Watch a video montage of some of the 30 films taking part in this year’s Iris Prize competition:


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