By David Llewellyn
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26th September 2018

7 UK Premieres!

As well as showcasing the best LGBT+ short films from around the world, this year's festival will also include 13 feature films, 7 of which will be shown in the UK for the very first time.

With only two weeks until the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival 2018 (eek!), we’re taking a short break from our series of filmmaker interviews to tell you a little about what you can expect from this year’s programme.

Iris has scoured the globe in search of some amazing feature films to go alongside the shorts competing in the Iris Prize and Best British categories, and we’re very pleased to say that seven (yes, seven!) of these will be UK premieres. So here, without further ado, is an informal look at the fabulous films making their British debuts at Iris 2018.

 

Fairytale (Favola)

We’ve seen some sights at Iris over the years, but Fairytale (Favola) is something else. A distillation of Douglas Sirk, Alfred Hitchcock and I Love Lucy, it tells the story of a suburban housewife whose world is flipped upside down by a new friendship. Its star Filippo Timi and director Sebastiano Mauri will be joining us in Cardiff to introduce the film, which is sure to be a hoot.

 

M/M

Equally strange, but decidedly darker in tone, this expressionistic film takes us into the more ominous recesses of the human soul. (For maximum effect, imagine that last line being read by Vincent Price.) It’s a twisted tale of identity and obsession, and to say much more than that would only spoil things, but M/M is a sinister and sensual drama that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled. A must for fans of David Lynch, Darren Aaronovsky and Pier Paolo Pasolini. Director Drew Lint will be attending the festival.

Cola de mono

There are further malevolent misdemeanours going on in this taut psycho-drama from Chile, as a Christmas Eve family get-together in the middle of a heatwave pushes teenage film fan Borja to the brink. With its explicit handling of sexuality and its 1980s setting, Cola de mono was described by one reviewer as “Stranger Things for gay men whose sexuality was shaped by Cruising”, and because we can’t put it any better, we’ll leave it at that.

Dykes, Camera, Action!

We’ll go out on a limb here. If there was an Iris Prize (hell, if there was an Oscar®) for “Best Title”, Dykes, Camera, Action!  would win hands down. This brisk and breezy documentary looks at some of the pioneers of lesbian cinema, and has drawn favourable comparisons from critics with the film of Vito Russo’s The Celluloid Closet. It features interviews with lesbian filmmakers, including the amazing Cheryl Dunye, who was on last year’s Iris Prize international jury. We love her.

Stick around after the film for our talk on lesbian cinema and the difficulties of getting lesbian and bi women’s stories on screen.

Just Friends (Gewoon Vrienden)

It seems there’s a bit of a story behind the making of this Dutch rom-com (buy the Iris Blogger a drink during the festival, and he’ll tell all – alternatively, Google it and you should work it out), but thankfully any drama off-screen hasn’t spoiled the drama on-screen. This is a sweet, lighthearted film about a Syrian medical student who quits his studies to become a carer and finds romance in the unlikely setting of an elderly woman’s living room. If Cupid’s arrow strikes during Iris 2018, this is the ‘date night’ movie for you.

Eva + Candela (¿Cómo te llamas?)

We’re back in South America – Colombia this time – for what could be seen as a modern-day riff on such timeless tales of off-stage romance and heartache as A Star is Born (now enjoying it’s 468th remake) and All About Eve. The eponymous couple are a filmmaker and her muse, the star of her first film. Attraction, desire and romance blossom into a long-term relationship, but as passion gives way to routine they each begin to question the foundations on which that relationship was built.

1985 

This December marks the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, and in 2021 (just 3 years away, would you believe it) it will be 40 years since HIV was first identified. It’s difficult for many younger people, even gay men, to understand the impact HIV and AIDS had on the gay community in the 1980s and ’90s, but1985 does an incredible job of exploring that tragedy with unflinching honesty, zoning in on one gay man and his family. Shot entirely in black and white, and featuring superb performances from its cast (including Virginia Madsen – nominated for an Academy Award for Sideways – and The Shield’s Michael Chiklis), Iris is very proud to be introducing this important film to a UK audience.

The film will be followed by a talk on how filmmakers have told – and can continue to tell – the story of HIV and AIDS.

In addition to these exciting premieres, we’re also screening the powerful French drama Sauvage  just one day after its UK premiere at BFI London Film Festival, with its director and star in attendance.

Click here for further information about this year’s programme and the various ticketing options, including one day, weekend and full festival passes.

 

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