Reflecting on a Year of Progress and Growth at Iris – 2023 Wrapped

As we approach the end of another year, we at Iris Prize take a moment to reflect on the achievements we've accomplished in 2023. The year has been marked with milestones, collaborations, and our continued dedication to sharing stories that champion LGBTQ+ voices and perspectives.

- Team Iris

Award-Winning Moments and International Recognition

The 17th edition of the Iris Prize LGBTQ+ Film Festival was a resounding success, crowning our first international short winner from Canada – 'Scaring Women at Night', directed by Karimah Zakia Issa. This recognition highlights our commitment to showcasing diverse narratives from around the world. In addition, we partnered with DIVA magazine to launch the inaugural DIVA FILM FESTIVAL, scheduled to run throughout Lesbian Visibility Week in April 2024. And Festival Director, Berwyn Rowlands, was honored as an Honorary Fellow at the University of Wales, Trinity St David’s.

2023 Festival:

  • Our 17th Festival was a huge success and we issued 8345 tickets to our in-person film screenings, a 22% increase on 2022.  Those ticket holders watched 2164 minutes of moving image content.
  • 535 people visited our virtual cinema to catch up with the short’s programmes.  Together they watched 5 days 19 minutes of content.
  • We worked with 3 Cardiff-based drag acts to develop our opening night programme. Only 8 223 sequins were killed during the filming!
  • 28 volunteers made sure our front of house ran smoothly and our guests were welcomed.
  • 18 Friends of Iris offered a bed for a visiting film maker.
  • 62 boxes of rainbow belts were eaten during the festival.

Engaging Talks and Community Engagement

We hosted a series of exciting talks during the Festival, featuring esteemed guests such as Russell T Davies and Euros Lyn. These discussions captivated audiences and enriched the festival experience. We toured programmes for the Iris on The Move to 12 cities across the UK during LGBT History month.  Over 1400 eyes saw content curated by Iris.

Expanding Reach and Digital Engagement

Our online presence continued to grow in 2023, with a 4.25% increase in YouTube subscribers. With 13,500 videos watched, the comedic gem "Wild Geese" stole the spotlight.

Pink Portraits and Iris in the Community

Our commitment to supporting emerging LGBTQ+ talent in film was evident in the 'Pink Portraits Revisited' project, which featured portraits of ten individuals working in the industry. These portraits were proudly displayed on posters throughout Cardiff. We also collaborated with six communities in Wales, from Flint to Ceredigion and Cardiff, to bring their stories to the big screen. The film 'I Shall Be Whiter Than Snow', developed through this initiative, has been a resounding success, playing at five film festivals and garnering critical acclaim.


Environmental consciousness remained at the forefront of our operations in 2023. We achieved 100% renewable energy usage, eliminated diesel vehicles, and reduced petrol vehicle usage by 60%.
Cheers to everyone for making 2023 an unforgettable chapter in our cinematic journey. Here's to the next reel and the stories yet to unfold!