Will Allaway reports back from Iris Prize Festival 2016


Due to a festival clash I only managed to attend 2 days of this years Iris Prize festival in Cardiff.  The Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival (SRFF), which I help organise, shared the same weekend and therefore I had to leave early.  I am addicted to short films and had to go to as much of Iris as possible, to see their fabulous international short film selection.

It was Iris’ 10th anniversary this year and the festival started with a very glitzy reception in the hotel opposite the Cineworld with accompanying exhibition “Iris and Me”, a selection of photographs from 10 years of Iris Prize.

The opening screening was four short films produced by winners of the Iris Prize and included a zombie film (Kill Pill), a comedy (When A Man Loves A Woman), a love story (Spoilers) and Welsh language (Afiach).

Shorts that got me thinking include;

  • documentary Cecil & Carl and fiction film Thanks for Dancing (Takk for Turen), two short films that featured older LGBT characters.  I’ll definitely try and screen those in Shropshire, specifically to the Safe Aging No Discrimination (SAND) group that’s fledged from a SRFF screening of feature documentary Gen Silent.
  • G’oclock, fiction, featuring the London chemsex scene, a topic we have not touched upon yet during the SRFF.
  • Sauna of the Dead, another zombie film and definitely potential for a Halloween screening if I can create a suitable programme.
  • Between Us, fiction, a son and his traditional Irish father struggle to find common ground after the son starts questioning his gender identity.  A lovely short that that would help the SRFF include more of the LGBTIQA community.

Thanks to the Queer Film Network; Iris, SRFF and Scotland Queer International Film Festival were able to organise a tour of the award-winning documentary Real Boy and have it accompanied by one of the film’s subjects; country singer Joe Stevens.  As I was at Iris, it was the perfect opportunity to meet Joe and journey together to Shropshire for the final screening of the tour.

I’ll be back at Iris next year and in the mean time will try and catch up on the shorts I missed.


Will is a film programmer for Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival and attended Iris Prize with a bursary from Film Hub NWC – for more details see here.