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The Iris Prize Festival, Cardiff’s International LGBT Short Film Prize, is delighted to welcome five more international partner festivals to its roster. The annual event which is taking place on 12th – 16th October now strengthens its connections to Europe and brings the total up to 25 Partner Festivals representing 17 countries in its landmark tenth anniversary year.

The new festivals are MIX Copenhagen LGBT Film Festival, Denmark; ImageOut Rochester LGBT Film and Video Festival, USA; Cheries Cheries, LGBT Film Festival Paris, France; Mezipatra, Prague, Czech Republic; and Sicilia Queer, Palermo, Italy.

Festival Director Berwyn Rowlands says, “The Iris Prize has been able to rely on our partner festivals to make sure the very best short films are considered for the Iris Prize. The five new partners announced today strengthens our global network, we now have partners in 17 countries.

“These festivals all play a significant role in sharing LGBT films with their audiences”, he adds. “They are the eyes and ears of Iris making sure we can be confident that only the best of the best make it through to the annual final in Cardiff.”

Michael Gamilla, Programming Director for ImageOut, Rochester LGBT Film and Video Festival says, “In my 14 years in the film festival circuit, I have always believed that what we do is beyond entertaining and educating people. We’re also here to transform lives. This mission is how a volunteer-run organization like ImageOut gets our energy and inspiration to produce our film festival year after year.

“What I love about the Iris Prize is it shifts the typical focus from the audiences to the filmmakers, as it awards the richest prize for LGBT short films. So for ImageOut to now be part of this incredible process is such a great honour”.

The five new festivals join the existing partners that represent all corners of the globe. They are:

UK  –  BFI Flare, London LGBT Film Festival. IRELAND –  GAZE, Dublin International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. EUROPE –  Hamburg International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, (Germany); Roze Filmdagen, Amsterdam Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, (The Netherlands); Oslo Fusion, Oslo Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, (Norway); Queer Lisboa, (Portugal). USA AND CANADA –  Frameline, San Francisco LGBT Film Festival, (USA); Reeling, The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival, (USA); NewFest, New York LGBT Film Festival, (USA); Outfest, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, (USA); Philadelphia QFlix, (USA); Polari Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, (USA); InsideOut, Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival, (Canada).                                                                                                                                                            LATIN AMERICA  – Mix Brazil, (Brazil). ASIA AND INDIA – Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, (Hong Kong); Shanghai PRIDE LGBT Film Festival, (China); Kashish, Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, (India). AUSTRALIA –  Queer Screen, Sydney; Melbourne Queer Film Festival.
MIDDLE EAST –  Tel Aviv International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, (Israel).

Each of the festivals are now expected to nominate a short film towards the final shortlist of films competing for the annual Iris Prize, which carries a £30,000 cash prize, generously supported by the Michael Bishop Foundation, and is the largest cash short film prize in the world.

With 35 films in the final shortlist, all of which are screened during the festival, the remaining 10 films come from open submission, chosen by an Iris pre-selection jury. An international jury, made up of filmmakers, journalists, and leading figures from both business and the arts, will choose the winner.

In addition to the international films competing for the Iris Prize, UK filmmakers have an opportunity to win the Iris Prize Best British Short Award valued at £20,000 and sponsored by Pinewood Studios Group.  The five-day public festival also includes feature films, panel discussions, educational activities and networking opportunities culminating in the glittering awards show on the final day.