So here we are. Iris Eve. The calm (as I’ve no doubt put it on many previous occasions) before the storm. As well as preparing myself mentally, spiritually and physically for this year’s festival (it involved drinking beer and watching movies), I’ve also been thinking about some of the things we can expect in the next few days.
As mentioned in the previous post, this year’s festival is a little special. It’s Iris’s 10th Birthday. And though he’s enjoyed 10 years as the festival’s Official Hanger-On, the faithful limpet clinging to the hull of HMS Iris, he really has no idea what surprises her organisers have in store.
He knows there will be an exhibition of photographs taken by our very own Jon Pountney throughout the last ten years. He knows there’ll be an awards ceremony on Sunday.
He knows this weekend is also Cardiff Bears Weekend, coinciding with the international premier of Bear City 3. He knows there’s a Saturday night DJ set from Rod Thomas (aka Bright Light Bright Light) following the film Miles. He hopes there will be tiramisu, even though the place where we used to get tiramisu each year is no longer there. (Boooo.) Everything else is a bit of a mystery.
Saying that, the Blogger has been to enough Iris Prize Festivals (all nine of ’em, in fact) to know that some things pop up year after year, with enough frequency to form the basis of a drinking game. (If you don’t drink alcohol, please feel free to come up with some other system of forfeits or point-scoring*.) Things like:
- Opening shot: A bleak landscape, accompanied by a sad cello – Drink 1 finger of wine/beer etc.
- A scene featuring lesbians with guitars – Down half your drink.
- A scene featuring gay men bickering in a car – Down your whole drink.
- A flashback to happier times in which the period hairstyles aren’t quite authentic – Drink 1 shot.
- Pretty young men playing basketball – Drink 2 shots.
- A curiously underpopulated nightclub – Drink 2 shots and a finger
- Pretty young women playing football/soccer/rugby – Down half your drink + 1 shot.
- “Hey – let’s go to the beach.” (Close-up of protagonist looking sad.) – Down whole drink + 2 shots.
Then there are the things which happen off-screen…
- The Q&A question that’s really a long-winded statement and which leaves the filmmaker perplexed.
- A jury member who stays out late partying and has to sneak into the cinema halfway through the first programme of shorts, looking like something out of The Walking Dead and smelling faintly of ethanol.
- That first 2am trip to Caroline Street (aka Chippy Alley).
- “Is there any WiFi in this cinema?”
- “Where can I get free WiFi?”
- Boisterous children called things like Tilly and Django running around the Iris ‘reserved’ area in Chapter Arts.
If this is your first Iris, some of this may not make much sense right now – but by Sunday, I promise, you will know exactly what I mean.
Stay tuned over the next few days for my day-to-day account of what went down at Iris 2016.
(* And for pity’s sake, don’t actually follow the rules of that drinking game. We wouldn’t want the ensuing hospital visit on our conscience.)