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Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival to go free and online for 2020

The full programme will be available to watch digitally this October.

By Will Stroude

The Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival will move online for 2020, organisers have announced.

The 14th edition of the Cardiff-based LGBTQ film festival, which hosts a series of screenings, talks and events, will be made freely available online this October in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

The £30,000 Iris Prize, supported by The Michael Bishop Foundation, will be presented to a filmmaker to produce another short film on Saturday 10 October.

The full programme of LGBTQ films will be available free for the week of the festival, with a pay-per-view catch-up service running until the end of October.

Last year’s Iris Prize was awarded to Sarah Smith’s Black Hat, about a closeted gay man living in Los Angeles’s Hasidic Jewish community.

The Best British Award went to Alfie Dale’s magical-realist tale My Brother is a Mermaid, about a trans teenager living in a dilapidated seaside community.

Confirming the festival’s move to online, organisers also launched their first-ever fundraising appeal, urging LGBTQ film fans to donate to this year’s event to make up for the loss in ticket sales.

Organisers added they hope to move to digital would help make the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival acessible to those who may have previusly struggled to attend the event in person.

“Many people, including myself, will be disappointed that the annual trip to Cardiff will not be happening this year”, said festival Chair Andrew Pierce.

“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, added: “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.”

Filmmakers have until 22 June to submit their work for selection, with the full festival’s full programme set to be revealed in August.

Check out the trailer for last year’s Iris Prize winner, Black Hat, below: