By David Llewellyn
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10th October 2015

Day 3

In which the competition gets tough...

Day 3 of Iris saw the Park Inn Hotel bustling with the crowds who turned out for this year’s Producers Forum. The Iris Blogger would just love to give you the lowdown on what was discussed in this series of discussions and Q&As, but was far too busy inhaling bacon rolls in the hotel lobby to actually attend any of the sessions.

Luckily, I did have time to see the repeat screening of Naz and Maalik. While no masterpiece (the Big Dramatic Scene involving a chicken felt kind of unnecessary), the story felt fresh, and the chemistry between this film’s leads was genuinely endearing.

Mirrors (dir. Neil Ely)
Mirrors (dir. Neil Ely)

Programme 1 of the Best of British Shorts gave us Mirrors, directed by Neil Ely and produced by and starring Shameless star Jody Latham. It’s possibly the most authentic depiction of a wired toilet cubicle conversation this blogger has ever seen, almost uncomfortably so, in places. Not that he has any personal experience of such things, of course. Ahem.

Lloyd Eyre-Morgan’s Closets, in which a boy from 1986 is magically zapped into the year 2016, serves as a useful reminder of just how much progress British culture has made in the last 30 years, but also how much work remains to be done.

It was great to see Iris alumni Jake Graf back again this year, with his latest short Chance, the story of an unlikely romance that strikes up on a park bench. It’s been a joy to watch Jake’s film-making develop and mature with each short that he’s brought to Iris, and I hope there’ll be many more to come!

Vessels (1)Programme 4 of the international shorts featured two of my personal favourites. Martin Edralin’s Hole (one of two films in this programme called ‘Hole’) is intensely moving, and handles its potentially controversial subject matter with expert sensitivity. Meanwhile, Arkasha Stevenson’s Vessels is – in this blogger’s opinion – the one to beat so far. Its dark and sinister exploration of what a young trans woman in Los Angeles must go through in order to achieve acceptance is refreshingly original and beautifully made. A real stand-out in this year’s competition.

The Summer of Sangaile (1)After catching a screening of The Summer of Sangaile, which was beautifully shot but perhaps a little soporific for a Friday night, I joined the crowds and our resident drag artiste and headed over to Cardiff nightspot Pulse for the Best of British Party, where there was much singing and dancing and drinking. The night ended with a slightly fraught cab journey back to Adamsdown with one very drunk member of the Iris team, but the less said about that the better.

Tomorrow morning, it’ll be my turn to introduce a programme of shorts in… oooh… about 7 hours. So it’s probably about time I got some shut-eye! See you all for the fourth and penultimate day of Iris!

PS: We’re really keen to hear what you – yes, you – think of the films you’ve seen at Iris. There isn’t always room in the blog itself to mention every short, and the blogger invariably misses a lot of the features, so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

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