Iris Outreach is Bringing Under-represented Stories to Llandudno

A film looking at the experiences of LGBT+ people from ethnic minority backgrounds is nominated for the Iris Outreach Community Film Awards.
Iris is on the move! And the next stop is Llandudno Junction. A lot of interesting things will be happening at Llandudno. The 2017 Iris Prize winner Mother Knows Best will be screened, with director Mikael Bundsen in attendance. And 2017 Best British winner We Love Moses will be screened, with director Dionne Edwards in attendance as well. But perhaps the most unique part of the event will be the second annual Iris Education & Community Short Film Awards. It will celebrate the amazing films made by schools, workplaces and community groups across Wales - brought to you by Iris Outreach!

Iris Outreach reaches out to different organisations and groups to produce a film about them. Sounds like a dream, right? So, we get to see LGBT+ stories represented in different settings - in school, in sports, at the doctor’s and so on. In 2017, one of the groups that Iris Outreach approached was Glitter Cymru. Glitter Cymru is a social group for people who are both LGBT+ and BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic.) And guess who is on Glitter Cymru? Me! So, right before I was interviewing filmmakers and reviewing films at the Iris Prize festival, I was making a film myself. I wrote, directed and acted in it along with some seriously talented people at Glitter Cymru.
Glitter Cymru is based in Cardiff
The film called Glitter was screened in Cardiff on the 11th last week. It was part of a mini Iris Prize festival where we watched films with BAME and LGBT+ stories. And now Glitter will be one of the community films to be screened at Llandudno! It follows three different stories. An asylum seeker in an interview at the Home Office. A non-binary person in an argument with their mother. A pansexual student at their very white LGBT+ society in uni, and later on a dating app. It’s about how both their LGBT+ and BAME identities are central to their experiences.
On the set of 'Glitter'
It is rare to see representations of LGBT+ people, and it is also rare to see representations of BAME people. So, BAME LGBT+ people are almost invisible. This film is more representative of us than anything we have seen in our lives. It doesn’t only give us, its makers, a voice. But we are certain that BAME LGBT+ people all around will feel seen and heard because of this film. This 7-minute short is already making waves because of its rarely-seen stories. We were on the ITV Wales 6 pm news. Wales Arts Review interviewed us. Several people in the audience of our screening said that this is their story. And many allies (anyone who isn't both BAME and LGBT+) have been asking us to screen the film at their organisations. It will be released online after the award ceremony in North Wales.

  Often, the issue of diversity is not tackled because people in charge feel uncomfortable or simply do not notice the issue. Iris Outreach, however, took that initiative - that important first step. They let us tell our story, ourselves. We were not limited to someone else’s vision or requirements. We were set free and guided as and when we required it. And now, we all have a short film that alone tells many stories never seen before. That is why, the work that Iris Outreach is doing, is important.