By Berwyn Rowlands
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23 September 2020
TEAM GB INTERNATIONAL HOCKEY PLAYER, SARAH JONES TO BE JUDGE FOR BEST BRITISH CATEGORY

ACCLAIMED FILM DIRCTOR SALLY EL HOSAINI JOINS LEADING STAGE AND SCREEN ACTRESS RAKIE AYOLA HELP CELEBRATE BEST OF BRITISH

PREVIOUS IRIS PRIZE WINNERS REUNITE FOR INTERNTIONAL JURY

Iris Prize is honoured to welcome a group of diversely talented individuals who have excelled in their chosen fields as jury members judging the films in Best British and the international Iris Prize categories. The chosen winners will then be revealed on the closing night of the festival 

With the festival programme available online for free, UK-wide audiences will be able to view all the shorts films for the first timeWith Film 4 supporting the Best of British Award, Iris Prize has embraced this new partnership by inviting Tim Highsted, Film4’s Senior Editor of Acquired Feature Films, to chair the jury.  He’s joined by Team GB Women’s hockey player Sarah Jones, actress Rakie Ayola, director of My Brother, The Devil Sally El Hosaini, and Scottish filmmaker Charlie Francis, who won Iris Best British Award for Middle Man in 2014. 

Berwyn Rowlands, the festival director, commented:
“This year is proving to be our biggest celebration ever as we share our programme of lgbt+ films with a UK wide audience. The partnership with Film4 is a huge boost to our work especially in highlighting British Talent. So, obviously we also wanted to bring together a dynamic Jury which would help us shine a light on the best LGBT+ film content from the UK. 

The film executive, producer, actors, writers, director and athlete are all at the top of their game and are a fabulous example of creativity and diversity. Together they represent a picture of Britain at its best and I’m delighted they have been able to accept our invitation to judge this year.” 

Cardiff-born Sarah Jonesis an International hockey player for Great Britain and Wales having competed in two Commonwealth Games and is currently training towards the now delayed 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. She is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ hockey community.  

Sally El Hosaini is the director and writer of the highly acclaimed debut featureMy Brother The Devil, She’s currently production on her second feature, The Swimmers, co-written with Jack Thorne and produced by Working Title and Focus Features. 

Rakie Ayola is an accomplished actress of stage and screen  who has recently been seen in Jimmy McGovern’s powerful BBC drama Anthony and  BBC adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts + Crosses as well as being a familiar face on Shetland and Holby City  ON stage, she  has appearing in West End hits, such as The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night Time and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,. she received Strange Fruit at The Bush and The Half God of Rainfall at The Kiln (for which she received a Black British Theatre Award nomination).  

Iris Prize Best British Short supported by Film4 Jury members are:

  • Tim Highsted, Film4 (Chair) 
  • Charlie Francis, Iris Prize Best British winner 2014  
  • Sally El Hosaini, Director / writer (My Brother the Devil)
  • Sarah Jones, Team GB’s Women’s Hockey team
  • Rakie Ayola, stage and screen actress 

With the pandemic presenting many challenges, Iris has been resourceful in embracing the strength of its relationships with many filmmakers from across the world who have participated in the festival over the years.  This means that international jury has been assembled from many of directors who have been previous winners of either the Iris Prize or Best British AwardThis includes last year’ winners from US director Sarah Smith and writer Phillip Guttmann of Black Hat.  Lebanese-born but London-based filmmaker Lara Zeidan was popular winner in 2018 with Three Centimetres, Jay Bedwani’s documentary  My Mother won Best of British in 2013, and Mikael Bundsen from Sweden  was 2017 winner with Mothers Knows Best and has subsequently made BAFTA Cymru Award nominated  Involuntary Activist. 

Iris Prize 2020 international Jury members are

  • Sarah Smith, Iris Prize winner 2019 (pictured above pointing out the 2020 winner?)
  • Phillip Guttmann, Iris Prize winner 2019 
  • Jay Bedwani, Iris Prize Best British winner 2013
  • Lara Zeidan, director, Iris Prize winner 2018
  • Mikael Bundsen, Iris Prize winner 2017  

In addition, a third jury made up from students at Bournemouth Film School is watching the feature films in the festival receiving their UK premieres and selecting the Best Feature sponsored by Bad Wolf and Best Performance in a Male Role sponsored by Attitude Magazine and Best Performance in a Female Role sponsored by Diva Magazine. 

Lewis Bayley
Bournemouth Film School

Iris Prize Best Feature and Performance Awards Jury members, all from Bournemouth Film School, are:                                                                                                                                    

  • Lewis Bayley (Chair) 
  • Anna K. McCallum 
  • Daisy Leigh-Phippard 
  • Amy Curtis
  • Olivia Morrison
  • Kieran Wall  

Mary Oliver, Dean of SchoolBournemouth Film School commented:
“Bournemouth Film School at AUB is thrilled to jury this year’s International Feature Film category at Iris Prize. 

In February 2021, we will welcome’ Iris on the Move Bournemouth’ to campus for our third year in a row, bringing inclusive films to our students and local community and it is our privilege to do so.” 

Further information about Iris Prize juries: www.irisprize.org/jury/ 

The festival opens on Tuesday 6th October and close on Sunday 11th October, with all screenings, talks and events available online for free. There will also be a pay-per-view catch-up service which will run until the end of October. 


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