Iris 2016 – 1 Week to Go!

Only 8 more sleeps until Iris's 10th Birthday - so what does she have in store?
Like Christmases, birthdays and Barbra Streisand "farewell" tours, the Iris Prize Festival is once more upon us what feels like mere weeks after it last ended. But this year's festival is different. This year, Iris hits a landmark birthday and turns 10. [caption id="attachment_3448" align="alignleft" width="192"]Pariah (dir. Dee Rees) Pariah (dir. Dee Rees)[/caption] That's right - it is now 10 years since the Iris Prize was first announced, and 9 years since Dee Rees scooped the inaugural prize with her incredible film Pariah. By this blogger's estimation, that means the most dedicated Iriseers among you will by now have watched over 300 of the best LGBT+ short films from around the world. We've seen winning films from the US, Germany, Norway, Brazil and three-time winner Australia, and to date a total of seven films have been produced by the winning filmmakers (with an eighth in post-production) and shown at a long list of international festivals. The Iris Blogger will refrain from working out how many glasses of wine he's drunk in 10 years of Iris, how many late nights and early mornings he's endured, or how many times he had to adjust his glasses and fan himself during some of the racier films on show. [caption id="attachment_1448" align="alignright" width="291"]Vessels (dir. Arkasha Stevenson) Vessels (dir. Arkasha Stevenson)[/caption] He will, however, let you in on some inside information. Having already seen almost half of the films nominated for this year's prize, including two which also feature in the Best British category, the standard this year is simply breathtaking. It's been fascinating, as someone who attended the first Iris back when Twitter was something birds did, watching the overall standard of LGBT+ filmmaking rise in increments each year. It's also been interesting and encouraging to see an increasing number of stories about trans* characters, last year's winner Vessels being a particular stand out, not only of 2015's competition but in the entire, decade-long history of the prize. Though he guessed Vessels had a good chance of winning as soon as he saw it, this blogger refuses to make any such predictions this year. If the last ten years have taught him anything, it's to expect the unexpected, and his crystal ball is often far from reliable. If you're a regular visitor to the festival, we look forward to seeing you again next week. If this is your first time at Iris, we're pretty sure it won't be your last. [caption id="attachment_3449" align="alignleft" width="119"]This is me. This is me.[/caption] My name is David Llewellyn, and as the official Iris Blogger I'll be keeping you up to date with snapshot movie reviews, backstage gossip and blow-by-blow accounts of each day's hangover throughout the festival. Please feel free to come and say hi! Let the final countdown to Iris 2016 begin.