By Team Iris
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07 October 2016
Unique immersive experience of award winning photographer Jon Pountney work to celebrate a decade of Iris prize film productions

An ambitious site-specific installation of photographs by Wales based photographer Jon Pountney is one of the main events to celebrate the festival’s 10th anniversary in 2016. He has been documenting Iris prize since its inception in 2006, as well as the short films made by winners of the prize. This event offers a window on the world of film production as well as offering previously unseen behind-the-scenes coverage of the eight Iris Prize Productions to date.
The installation is hosted in the Park Inn Cardiff City Centre Hotel, in partnership with Ffotogallery and British Council Wales. It includes up to 80 on-location photographs reproduced as banners, digitally projected images and as traditional photographic prints, but it also incorporates soundscapes and music from the Iris Prize archive, which includes the voices of past jury members such as actor Simon Russell Beale, and authors Alan Hollinghurst and Sarah Waters.
Berwyn Rowlands, the festival director, says, “Iris and Me is the most ambitious project I’ve ever produced. It been a wonderful experience working with friends at Ffotogallery, Adrian Naik, Dai Shell, the team at Orchard and the hotel. I think we’ve created something which celebrate Jon’s photography but is also an appropriate celebration of the first 10 years of Iris.”
“I’ve enjoyed being hands on with Iris and Me, allowing my creative side an opportunity to come out! I hope people respond to the project with pride and enjoyment in Jon’s work but also with a sense of nostalgia as we look back over 10 busy years working with the best LGBT talent in the world.”
Cardiff-based Jon Pountney has been a professional photographer for over 18 years. Having worked in the commercial and advertising sector with organisations such as BBC, Environment Agency Wales, Halifax, and Visit Wales he continues to pursue a professional career as an artist too. His interest lies in memory, nostalgia, social history and community. He has undertaken a number of projects including Art in the Warehouse with fellow artists Rebecca Wyn Kelly, and the social history project ‘Cardiff Before Cardiff’, which has been the largest photography exhibition to be held at Wales Millennium Centre. Currently, he is Artist In Residence at Castle Coch.
Jon Pountney says, “I’m really excited and thrilled to be rustling through the archives from the last ten years, to pick out the best of my stills from our Iris Prize winners films. Having been with Iris right from the first event, I have been an intimate witness to all the success that Iris has enjoyed, documenting each festival, and following the creative process behind each film.
“In this tenth year I think it’s right that Iris looks back over her achievements, and I’m flattered that my photographs are deemed to be of a high enough quality to tell that story. I’m proud and amazed that these photos will find their way to film festivals around the world. Here’s to the next ten years!”
Elements of the exhibition including the large photographic prints are open to the public during the day for the duration of the 2016 festival.
However, the fully immersive performance of lights, digital projections on large screens, music, soundscapes takes place each evening. The 20-minute extravaganza is a marriage of 8 short films commissioned from film maker Adrian Naik, with an immersive soundscape designed by Dai Shel. There will be five opportunities to experience the performance at 6.30pm throughout the festival.
Adrian Naik, founder of Naik Media says of his involvement: “Working with Iris is always a pleasure, and now having the opportunity to contribute to creating something which will help bring Jon’s brilliant photography to life is a great privilege for Naik Media. As all the elements of the exhibition come together, ‘Iris and Me’ is going to be something to behold!”
Elements of the Iris and Me exhibition tour a number of Iris Prize partner festivals in 2017. They will be uniquely curated for the cities of LA, Melbourne, Tel Aviv, Hamburg and Oslo in order to reflect the country of origin of specific Iris Prize winners.
The exhibition is a visually impacting reminder to people that Iris is much more than a film festival which supports the creation of new film content. It also serves to demonstrate the cultural and economic impact of the film making sector in the UK and how Iris has co-produced eight films with partners from 5 countries.
David Drake, Ffotogallery’s Director, commented, “it’s a privilege to be working with Iris on this exhibition, and marking ten years of this ground-breaking festival and the associated Iris Prize. We have partnered with Iris since 2013 and share their vision of placing Wales at the centre of the international arena in terms of supporting and recognising emerging talent”
As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations we are delighted to be working with distribution partners Peccadillo Pictures to bring you the Best Of Iris. They are making available the award winning collection of seven short films made by winners of the Iris Prize, including the Sundance Award winner, Burger which can be watched online for the duration of this year’s festival.
The Park Inn City Centre Hotel in Cardiff is the official hotel for the festival and is hosting a number of events including the Producers Forum, Pride Cymru’s Youth Conference and the Iris Awards Dinner.
Iris and Me is supported by British Council Wales, Ffotogallery and Orchard with additional support from BBC Wales and Peccadillo Pictures.
The exhibition runs 12th – 16th October in Cardiff, before touring to Norway, Germany Israel, USA and Australia in 2017.
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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