Scaring Women at Night has won the prestigious £30,000 Iris Prize, supported by The Michael Bishop Foundation.
The film was crowned the winner on Saturday (14 October) bringing the LGBTQ+ Film Festival to a close for 2023. The prize enables the winners to make a new short film in Wales.
Karimah Zakia Issa is the prize’s first winner from Canada. Her film tackles gender roles and stereotypes as well as privilege and identity.
Scaring Women at Night sees a woman, Ella, walking home late at night while Ash walks behind her. Sensitive to Ella’s concerns Ash takes a detour while having an internal conversation with himself as a trans man. He loves who he has become but grapples with the conditioning he was raised with. The two collide later on and realise they are more connected than they first realised.
The International Jury described the film as “a thought-provoking look at the power dynamics at play in the simple act of walking down the street at night.” It was further celebrated as a “well-crafted short film with a unique perspective that is seldom explored in LGBTQ+ storytelling.”
Mud Queen and Hundefreund (DogFriend) were also highly commended by the Iris Prize jury.
“It is a witty, assured film examining the foibles and complexities of an open lesbian marriage”
Meanwhile, the Best British Short prize went to F**KED by Sara Harrak. The category, sponsored by Film4 and Pinewood Studios, sees the winner receive a package of services sponsored by Pinewood Studios Group.
Tim Highsted of Channel 4, and Chair of the Iris Prize Best British Short jury, said: “We chose F**KED for its humour, originality, and deftness. It is a witty, assured film examining the foibles and complexities of an open lesbian marriage with assured performances and a witty, character-driven script.”
Requiem and Ticker were also highly commended by the category’s jury,
The award for Best British Performance in a Female Role, sponsored by Out & Proud was won by Meg Salter and Rosalind Eleazar, both from F**KED.
All the nominated films in the Best Britsh Short category are eligible for consideration for BAFTA.
Berwyn Rowlands, the Iris Prize Festival Director celebrated both categories being won by women.
“They deal with subjects that may not be the easiest to handle but need to be told and told in a way that makes us sit up and listen. At Iris, we have always appreciated good storytelling, and I am delighted that we can celebrate just this tonight.”
The other award winners are:
Best Feature – Femme
Best Performance in a Male Role in a Feature Film sponsored by Attitude Magazine: Hubert Milkowski as Robert in Norwegian Dream.
Best Performance in a Female Role in a Feature Film, sponsored by DIVA Magazine: Amrit Kaur as Azra in The Queen of My Dreams.
Best Performance Beyond the Binary in a Feature Film, sponsored by Peccadillo Pictures: Bishop Black as Queen Bitch in Captain Faggotron Saves the Universe.
Best British Performance in a Male Role, sponsored by Out & Proud: Emma D’Arcy as Tommy in The Talent.
Best British Performance Beyond the Binary, sponsored by Out & Proud: Son of a Tutu as Miss Coco Lemon in Lemon.
Youth Jury Award, sponsored by Cardiff University is Realness with a Twist.
Community Award, sponsored by Mark Williams in memory of Rose Taylor is Where’s Danny?
Education Award, sponsored by Mark Williams in memory of Rose Taylor is The Fight in the Dog.
Micro-short Award, sponsored by Mark Williams in memory of Rose Taylor is Trickle-Down Economics.
The Iris Prize will return from Tuesday 8 October to Sunday 13 October 2024. It will be online until the end of October 2023.
Full details about the Iris Prize and this year’s winners can be found here.