Organisers of the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival have announced that the 14th edition of the Cardiff based festival will go online this October, and will be available for free. They also confirmed that the £30,000 Iris Prize, supported by The Michael Bishop Foundation, will be presented to a filmmaker to produce another short film on Saturday 10th October.
The festival will open on Tuesday 6th October and close on Sunday 11th October, with all screenings, talks and events available online for free. There will also be a pay-per-view catch-up service which will run until the end of October. To support this, the organisers have launched their first public fundraising campaign. A short promotional film has been produced to launch the fundraising campaign and confirm that Iris 2020 will be online. View the film here: https://youtu.be/4CvXR-_aWyQ
Andrew Pierce, Festival Chair, commented:
“The decision to take Iris online was, to some extent, made for us by the situation with Covid-19. Looking at what we know now and what is still unclear about the future, we felt that we were best able to serve our audience and filmmakers by taking Iris online.
“We will be revealing our full programme in August, and from what I’ve been told we are going to have another year of diverse LGBT+ stories to share from all over the world. For those who are regular visitors to the festival in Cardiff they know there is much more to Iris than screening films. Our question and answer sessions are popular spaces for our audience to share ideas – in basic terms, safe spaces to talk and listen. We will continue to offer this level of interaction for our audience online and introduce some exciting new innovations.
“Many people, including myself, will be disappointed that the annual trip to Cardiff will not be happening this year. Taking Iris online is very exciting and gives us the chance to reach a much bigger audience, and if we are successful, many I’m sure will be making the journey to the festival in Cardiff next year”
Berwyn Rowlands, Festival Director, commented:
“We are very excited about taking Iris 2020 online. It offers us the chance to continue sharing LGBT+ stories with our loyal audience, but it also allows us to reach a new audience. By offering the festival for free, we are addressing issues of social inclusion. The cost involved in attending a festival is a barrier for many in our society, especially younger audiences. 2020 promises to be a turning point for Iris as we recognise and embrace the much-used phrase ‘every problem is a solution waiting to happen’.
“We will also be broadcasting live during the festival. The daily broadcast will offer us the chance to promote Cardiff as a destination, as well as signpost people to the festival next year, when we hope to return to a more familiar format.
“I honestly believe that after the experience of 2020 there will be no going back. Everything that we as a festival are introducing online this year furthers our aims and objectives. In many ways taking Iris online has the potential for us to share LGBT+ stories with an even bigger audience. Funding permitting, I anticipate Iris online will become a key part of what the festival must offer moving forward.
“Changes to our working practices introduced because of Covid-19 have already had a beneficial impact on many areas of our work. For example, the pre-selection jury, which works in parallel with our partner festivals in 20 countries, is now operating around the globe. Historically, the pre-selection process would have been centred in Cardiff. This change in the way we work has improved our diversity and I’m excited to see the results of this once the programme is revealed.”
Please support Iris online
The official fundraising campaign has also allowed the marketing team to reveal one of the new characters from designer Ana Jaks. “Morgan” is seen holding a clapperboard and asking the public to support the festival’s fundraising campaign. 2020 will be Ana’s third year supporting the festival’s marketing activity with her colourful designs. The full ensemble of new characters will be unveiled later in the year.
The submission process for 2020 is still open and filmmakers have until 22 June to submit their work: https://filmfreeway.com/IrisPrizeFestival
The main festival sponsors, funders and partners are: The Michael Bishop Foundation, Welsh Government, the BFI awarding funds from the National Lottery, Film4, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Pinewood Studios Group, Cardiff University, BBC Cymru Wales, Bad Wolf, Gorilla Group, Co-op Respect, University of South Wales, Ministry of Sound, Cineworld and Chapter.
The festival also works in partnership with BAFTA Cymru, Pride Cymru and Stonewall Cymru.