By Tabitha Jukes
The wonderful world of the Iris Prize six-day film Festival returns to Cardiff on the 8th-13th October 2019. Celebrating her 13th birthday, Iris, like the great cinematic genre, is truly coming of age, bigger, brighter and badder than ever before.
This year has seen the Iris Prize, which was founded in the Capitol in 2007, grow in both size and excellence. With the six-day International Queer festival bringing a fresh wave of LGBT+ energy to the Welsh capital. Expect theatrics, a possible tantrum, binge drinking (kidding), champagne sipping, red carpet splendour, dizzying parties and most importantly, an authentic and soulful celebration of the best, unique and contemporary LGBT+ cinematic excellence. All whilst showcasing the art of independent filmmaking, and promoting its vital Iris Prize Education and Outreach Projects.
In her time, Iris has given life to a range of incredible social innovation, and beneficial cultural change projects. Each aimed at raising awareness, and spreading positivity around the LGBT+ community. Most notably, the travelling Iris Education Day, which through the medium of film production and cinema, raises the awareness of young people to the issues surrounding LGBT+ diversity, family, community and issues regarding acceptance and bullying within schools and during a pinnacle time in young people’s learning and development.
Iris’s Education project has been active for just over seven years. It provides young people with the creative skills and knowledge to develop a passion for film and its industry, providing fresh experiences for students such as camera workshops, and film-making projects. The aim of the project is to educate and encourage young people to fuse, and embrace positive relationships with diverse communities, whilst engaging in creative expression and quality knowledge of film, design and industry awareness.
The Festival has a crucial and culturally important place in both Cardiff and across the world, film festivals such as Iris act as an occasion to celebrate and connect communities. Especially prevalent for those who find themselves often isolated, or marginalised within the mainstream.
Within the safe spaces created by the Festival’s presence, LGBT+ communities, and allies can unite together in celebration of LGBT+ film and creative freedom. Iris, also supports young, British and International creatives, many of whom have struggled to have their own voices heard. Queer cinema acts, and will continue to thrive as a positive vehicle for progressive global change.
Through our increased technological and social connectivity, the sharing culture of film is more powerful than ever before. The vital stories of voices long silenced, can finally be researched, shared and celebrated within the heart of Cardiff and across the world.
Including the voices of those that have been historically and systematically oppressed, due to prejudices surrounding not only their sexuality, but in response to the intersection of gender and race discrimination. Acknowledging how certain conservative political attitudes, laws and particular Orthodox religious groups have, and continue to reject and endanger LGBT+ lives, liberation and human rights. The Festival is an excellent experience for anyone wishing to expand their awareness of LGBT+ culture, victories and struggles, many of which are emerging currently. It’s also ideal for any lover of cinema and quality film, guests can enjoy films that cover a range of genres from over 50 shorts, 15 features, including exclusive premieres, and personalised Q&A’s with many of the films actors, directors and producers. There’s also a range of different events and parties across day and night. Students can enjoy the Feature Film screenings, and Short Film Programmes from a discounted price of only £5, and Iris Industry Events are available for free.
For those wanting to delve deeper into Iris Festival experience, Full Festival tickets, Weekend Passes and One Day passes, which include all screenings and events, including lunches and parties, are also available. Sunday’s closing annual Iris Carnival, and the Live Iris Awards is certainly not to be missed. For full ticket information and all Iris related news and sass, please visit the website here.
The Iris Prize provides Cardiff, its citizens and its many visitors with active participation in an exciting and inclusive event that flagships our society’s progress towards liberation, diversity and inclusivity of LGBT+ people and Queer Cinema.
With that said, new friends and old friends,
What will you see in Cardiff?