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Peccadillo Pictures owner Tom Abell awarded the inaugural Iris Prize Fellowship award

The six-day international film festival offers the largest short film prize in the world

By Steve Brown

Tom Abell, the managing director and owner of Peccadillo Pictures, was awarded the first ever Iris Prize Fellowship award.

For more than 40 years, Tom and the team at Peccadillo Pictures have brought hundreds of LGBTQ+ films to UK cinemas including Weekend and most recently Sauvage.

Last week, at the Iris Prize Fellowship announcement, the owner of the film company was given the first ever Fellowship award by Lord Glendonbrook.

Berwyn Rowlands, Festival Director, said: “There are moments in life when you come across a person and think, he’s a really nice man.

“Tom Abell is one of those people! But he is much more than just a nice man. Britain would be a very different place today without his commitment to sharing LGBT+ films. His commitment over four decades at the helm of companies like Dangerous to Know, Millivres Multimedia and Peccadillo Picture, who will shortly be celebrating their 19th birthday.

“He has influenced generations of movie-goers by distributing and sometimes financing LGBT+ films.  

“I’m confident there must be thousands of LGBT+ people across the UK who have been emotionally nourished with his films.

“The back catalogue of titles holds a mirror to our lives, confirming we are alive and exist in many complex ways, in communities across the world, celebrating happy and sad times.”

The Iris Prize LGBTQ+ Short Film Festival is a a six-day international queer film festival and awards the largest short film prize in the world – the prestigious £30,000 Iris Prize.

Iris also runs LGBT+ community outreach projects throughout the year in Wales & beyond.

Andrew Pierce, Iris Prize Chair, added: “Actors, directors, producers are already recognised time and time again for their contribution to the world of film.

“It was obvious to us at Team Iris that the only person on our shortlist for this inaugural Iris Fellowship was Tom Abell.

“In today’s multi-platform world where content is available freely, it is timely to remember when this was not the case.

“Tom Abell was one of the pioneers, you could say ahead of his time, creating an audience and business model working in a system which was sometimes hostile.

“More recently when we created the Iris Prize to support new LGBT+ film making talent, it was Tom who enthusiastically supported the inaugural Iris Prize Festival back in 2007.

“Peccadillo has distributed about 50 per cent of the films shortlisted for the Iris Prize with their popular Boys on Film collections.”