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Plans Unveiled To Stage Iris Prize

The Festivals Company has announced plans to stage the Iris Prize – the world’s largest prize for a gay and lesbian short film.
Working with film festivals across the globe including Los Angeles, Sydney, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto and Miami the Iris Prize aims to promote and support gay and lesbian filmmakers around the world. The inaugural prize will be presented in Cardiff, Wales (UK) in October 2007 with the winner receiving a prize valued at £25,000 to make their next short film in the UK.
“We wanted to recognise the global support that exists for the gay community by working with the leading L&G film festivals. However we felt that through IRIS we could add another dimension by offering a film maker the chance to make a new film. It’s very difficult to find the funding to make a film let alone a gay film, so once a year IRIS will support the very best with another opportunity to shine,” said Berwyn Rowlands, founder of the Iris Prize.
“Iris is a unique project that brings together a global network of film festivals who share a common aim to support talent. I am very proud that NewFest: The New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Film Festival was the first festival to join the family. Iris is a great achievement and I wish Berwyn and his team every success,” said Basil Tsiokos, Executive Director, NewFest.
Submissions for the international prize will open in January 2007 and will be judged by a prestigious panel of industry figures. A shortlist of 30 will be selected to screen as part of a three day event held in Cardiff from October 4th – 6th 2007, with the prize awarded on the closing night. IRIS has received strong support from the post production sector in the UK, led by Barcud Derwen who will supply filming equipment and editing facilities.
This unique project, the first of its kind, has received the support of numerous organisations throughout the UK including the UK Film Council.
“The UK Film Council is proud to support Iris, the largest prize for Lesbian and Gay short filmmakers in the world, which will provide an international platform for showcasing gay filmmaking talent, here in the UK,” said Marcia Williams, Head of Diversity.
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