By Team Iris
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07 September 2021
The world-renowned and Cardiff based Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival, which celebrates amazing LGBT+ film all year round, is appealing for votes in order to be crowned National Lottery Project of the Year.

The Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival beat off stiff competition from more than 1500 organisations to reach the public voting stage in this year’s National Lottery Awards –  which celebrate the inspirational people and projects who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding. 

There are 17 shortlisted finalists from across the UK, who will compete in a four-week public vote to be named the inaugural National Lottery Project of the Year. Winners will receive a £3,000 cash prize for their project and an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy.

The Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival was founded in Cardiff in 2006 not only as a celebration of queer film making, but to raise the quality of work in this field. Fifteen years on, the festival is now globally recognised and has been a springboard for new and emerging talent. It has also opened up LGBT+ themes to more audiences and established Cardiff and Wales as a hot destination on the film festival map, supported by the BFI (British Film Institute) as a main festival sponsor. Outreach work is also a key part of the Iris Prize ethos and it offers programmes in both schools and the community.

While the festival usually takes place in Cardiff in October, it also tours year-round. In 2020, the Iris Prize moved online and saw its audience grow from 11,000 admission during the festival to 84,000 admission online, with screenings accompanied by half an hour of live broadcasts every day. All the Best British shortlisted films are also available to watch on All 4 for free.

The Iris Prize is now revered as a potential steppingstone to a big career in the film and TV industry. Dee Rees, winner of the inaugural Iris Prize in 2007 for her film Pariah – has gone on to become the first black woman nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category at the Oscars, for her 2017 film Mudbound.

The Iris Prize was founded by TV and film Producer, Berwyn Rowlands, who has also been shortlisted for an individual award in this year’s National Lottery Awards for his outstanding contribution to the community.


Delighted that the Iris Prize has also made it through to the public vote for Project of the Year, Berwyn Rowlands, Festival Director, said

“We are so honoured to have reached the finals of the National Lottery Awards Project of the Year category.

The National Lottery funding the Iris Prize has received has helped us establish a globally recognised festival and prize which has been a springboard for new and emerging talent. It has also opened up LGBT+ themes to more audiences and has established Cardiff and Wales as a hot destination on the film festival map. With the National Lottery’s support we have achieved so much and hope to achieve so much more. We would be absolutely thrilled if we were voted as the UK’s favourite project.”

Jonathan Tuchner, from the National Lottery, added:

“In these challenging times that we still find ourselves in, we see so many examples of inspirational work throughout our communities, driven by these very projects. It’s thanks to National Lottery players, who raise more than £30 million each week for good causes, that brilliant projects like these, are possible.  

“The Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival are doing some incredible work in their community and they thoroughly deserve to be in the finals of the National Lottery Awards Project of the Year 2021. With your support, they could be a winner.”

To vote for the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival, please please follow the link on the National Lottery Good Causes website here.  Or simply use the Twitter hashtag #NLAIris on twitter. Voting runs from 9am on 6th September until 5pm on 4th October.    


For further information please contact The National Lottery Awards: Oswyn Hughes on 07976 324 179 or email oswyn.hughes@lotterygoodcauses.org.uk 


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