By Team Iris
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23 August 2016
- Special 10th anniversary opening night still work in progress!
- Former Iris Prize winner Grant Scicluna’s feature debut from Australia, Downriver
- Bear City 3 heralds the first Wales Bear Weekend!
- Priscilla director Stephan Elliott’s most watched gay web series Horizon on big screen.

Iris is delighted to be screening nine new feature films reflecting the many faces of the LGBT community around the world offering us marriage, hidden desires, passion, love and laughter. There is the feature debut of Iris Prize 2012 winner Grant Scicluna, the darkly emotional Downriver, starring Kerry Fox (Holding The Man, Shallow Grave) and rising Australian star, Reef Ireland. Canadian director Sarah Rotella also makes her debut with Almost Adults, an honestly amusing look at friendships. She will be one of many filmmakers in Cardiff to present their screenings.

The full programme is available here!

There are two contrasting tales from Italy Giovanni Coda’s poignant tale of gay bullying, Bullied To Death (2015), and Maria Pecchioli’s uplifting documentary about the wedding plans of two women, Just Say Yes (2014). Both directors will be giving talks after the screenings. These are shown in association with Cardiff’s annual Italian Film Festival.

American filmmaker Nathan Adloff is set to present his highly acclaimed second feature, Miles (2015), about a small-town teenager who joins his new high school’s girls volleyball team, whilst Tor Iben, a former Iris alumni whose short film, Das Phallometer screened in 2014, flies in from Germany with Where Are you Going, Habibi (2015)? (pictured above), the sensually powerful relationship between Ibrahim, a young Turkish man of German descent meets the man of his dreams, a blue-eyed wrestler Ali.

There are added treats in the form of Shaleece Haas’ Real Boy (2016), a wonderful coming of age drama about teenage trans musician, Bennet Wallace, and Iris is delighted to have the transgender musician who inspired him and who also appears on the film, Joe Stevens who will be performing an acoustic gig in Cineworld. The screening is supported by QFN.

Fan favourite Doug Langway makes his return trip to Cardiff to present Bear City 3 (2016) , the third comic adventure for Tyler, Mama Bear Michael and their fur-tastic friends. This also heralds Wales’ first ever Bear Weekend and Welsh Bear of the Year contest with support from The Eagle Bar Cardiff.

And there’s also the chance to see Australia’s most popular web series and YouTube’s most watched gay web series in the world Horizon on the big screen. Jake is a teenager from the countryside who comes to the big city in search of romance. Directed by Stephan Elliott, who brought us the perennial fabulous The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, it leads into an Aussie-themed night of celebration at Cardiff’s Pulse nightclub. Get those frocks ready!

With Iris celebrating its 10th Anniversary, the opening night features not one but five amazing short films. The organisers are keeping under wraps the full programme but they have confirmed that the evening will include many special guests and at least three World Premiers.

Berwyn Rowlands, Iris Prize festival director, says “Opening night is still very much a work in progress! 3 of our opening night films are in post-production! We’ve been promised that they will be ready in time! I’m excited more so than nervous. These are much anticipated new works from 2015 Iris Prize and 2014 and 2015 Iris Best British winners. Opening night will feel like you’re opening a big tin of Quality Street – there should be something for every taste.”

Complementing the prestigious Iris Prize and Best British Short awards, all these features are in contention for the £1,000 Best Feature Award, sponsored by Martin Briggs, as well as the performances offering Best Actor and Best Actress Awards sponsored by Gay Star News. There is a best Youth Jury Award for the best short, sponsored by Cardiff University, which is chosen by a jury of 100 young people aged between 14 and 18.

Iris and Me logo (Hi Res)The years’ events close with the lavish awards ceremony on Sunday 16 October at Park Inn City Centre Hotel where all six winners will be announced. The Hotel is also the venue for a unique multi-media experience and photographic exhibition by Jon Pountney, supported by Ffotogallery and British Council Wales, which celebrates a decade of Iris film productions. It tours around the world in 2017.

In addition to all the film screenings which take place at Cineworld and Chapter, the festival offers a varied programme of education events and the popular producers forum offering a day of insightful seminars from significant industry professionals.

Throughout the festival of course, there are public talks, networking receptions, musical performances and opportunities to continue celebrations each night in Cardiff’s many colourful LGBT venues throughout the city ready to give a warm welcome to everyone. After all, that’s the Iris philosophy: Watch Films. Party Nightly. Repeat.

The Box Office will open on September 7th (Members Priority Booking is open now).

The full programme is available here!

The main festival sponsors are: The Michael Bishop Foundation, Welsh Government, BFI, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Pinewood Studios Group, Cardiff University, Gorilla Group, Cineworld, Chapter, Gay Star News, Pride Cymru and Orchard.

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