Double win for UK filmmakers Sam Arbor and Adam Ali

BABA Wins both prestigious £30.000 Iris Prize and Best British award!

Babadirected by Sam Arbor and Adam Ali, has been announced the winner of the Iris Prize 2021, Cardiff’s International LGBT+ Short Film Prize, sponsored by The Michael Bishop Foundation. The £30,000 prize enables Sam and Adam to make a new short film in Wales, becoming the thirteenth Iris production.  

In addition, Baba has also won the Best British Award, supported by Film4 and Pinewood Studios.  This is only the second time in the festival’s 15-year history that a film has won both categories. The winner receives an exclusive screening of their film in the deluxe John Barry Theatre at Pinewood Studios complete with red carpet, and a welcome reception with drinks and canapes sponsored by Pinewood Studios Group.  The winners of all Awards categories were announced at a special awards ceremony on Saturday night marking the successful end to the festival’s return to being an in person event, which saw attendance from international directors David Färdmar and  Peeter Rebane, actor Tom Prior and a surprise appearance from US filmmaker Cheryl Dunye, who’s been directing episodes of Bridgerton. 



Rasheed Bailey, Chair of the Jury, says of Baba: 

"A skillfully constructed film that speaks to oppression, acceptance and the strength of community. The direction is impressive, coherent and offers moments of self-reflection whilst transmitting courageousness and pride in one's identity. The issues explored are systemic issues that affect countless others, but the story is portrayed in a hopeful way which encourages a call to action to continue the fight for equality”. He adds, “Baba also appeals to a wide audience, due to its many ingredients - such as; beautiful visuals, humour, warmth, and moments of real tension and adventure.” 

The two highly commended titles are: 

Of this film, the jury says: “An intense and moving piece that highlights an important issue in regards to Gender equality. The main character portrays unrivalled bravery in the face of adversity, coupled with a compelling storyline and an alluring colour pallet.”  Of this film the jury says: “With uncompromising, magical aesthetics and an intricate structure, this creative approach to filmmaking acts as a celebration for equality. This film reminds us about the need to connect with others despite distance and circumstances.”   


Tim Highsted, Chair of the jury says:

“Baba is a visually striking piece of cinema that transported me into a very real reality for people with a brilliant twist.” 

The two highly commended films are:                                                                              

Of this film the jury says: “ A magical, imaginative and touching animation with gorgeously drawn imagery.”                                         
  • Pop, directed and written by Margo Roe.
Of this film, the jury says : “Beautifully made with complex performances in a world familiar from some of the finest British independent cinema of the last few decades, but taking it to unique places. The ending will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.”


  • Rebel Dykesdirected by Harri Shanahan and Siân A. Williams. wins Iris Prize Best Feature Award sponsored by Bad Wolf 
  • Udo Kier, playing a retired hairdresser in Todd Stephens’ Swan Song, wins Iris Prize Best Performance in a Male Role in a feature film sponsored by Attitude Magazine 
  • Senan Kara, playing a mother under emotional siege in Leyla Yilmaz’s Not Knowing, Wins Iris Prize Best Performance in a Female Role in a feature film sponsored by DIVA Magazine.   


  • Iris Prize Youth Jury Award Sponsored by Cardiff University for Best Short goes to: S.A.M directed by Lloyd Eyre-Morgan and Neil Ely. 
  • Community Award sponsored by Mark Williams in memory of Rose Taylor goes to: Lonely Cowgirl directed by Lydia Garnett. 
  • Micro Short Award sponsored by Mark Williams in memory of Rose Taylor goes to: Amen directed by Erick Edwardson. 

Iris On The Move, the touring outreach initiative of Iris Prize, begins in January 2022 offering special screenings and workshops across the UK, including London, Manchester, Brighton and Glasgow. 

Iris Prize Festival returns next year, running October 2022!

The main festival sponsors are:

The Michael Bishop Foundation, Creative Wales, a Welsh Government agency that supports the creative sectors in Wales , the BFI awarding funds from The National LotteryFfilm Cymru Wales, Film 4, University of South Wales, Cardiff University, Co-op Respect, Bad Wolf, Gorilla Group, Peccadillo Pictures, Pinewood Studios, Attitude Magazine, Diva Magazine and The Ministry of Sound.  The festival also works in partnership with BAFTA Cymru, Pride Cymru and Stonewall Cymru.