It seems to come around faster every year, but now Iris Prize has announced its 2015 line-up, with films from 18 countries competing for £30,000 main prize (it’s still the world’s largest LGBT short film prize, as supported by the Michael Bishop Foundation).
17 year-old Lucas Helth Postma from Denmark becomes the youngest Iris Prize finalist. Boy, his accomplished short film is one of three from Denmark competing for the 2015 Iris Prize. The film tells the story of 16-year-old Emilie who has always been a boy inside although his mother cannot accept the way he feels. During an Easter lunch he decides to do something drastic, which has its consequences.
The films will screen during this year’s Iris Prize Festival which takes place from October 7th – 11th in Cardiff, Wales, (UK). The winner of the Iris Prize will be announced on Sunday 11th October 2015 during the Iris Awards hosted by Amy Lamé.
“Once again the shortlist for the Iris Prize represents the best of the best. 20 of the short-listed films have been nominated by our partner festivals, including for the first time ShanghaiPRIDE in China. These film festivals from around the world have their fingers on the pulse of upcoming LGBT filmmaking talent. I’m confident that amongst this year’s shortlist of live action, documentaries and animated films we have yet another winner deserving of the Iris Prize,” said Andrew Pierce, Festival Chair.
“Iris is recognised for supporting talented film makers from all over the world. Seven shorts, made with the prize, have been produced since we launched in 2006. Iris is more than just a trophy that gathers dust or a certificate that yellows on the wall. Iris is what film makers need – funding, support and guidance,” added Andrew.
“It’s great to see films from all over the world represented in the shortlist with an entry for the first time from the Czech Republic joining work from Canada, Germany, Brazil, Israel, Norway, The Netherlands, Ireland, India, Australia, US, Portugal, New Zealand, Mexico, Chile, Denmark, and the UK all making it through to the final. The US once again secures the largest number of films in competition with an impressive 8 out of the final 30 with Denmark in second place with three films,” said Andrew.
Alongside the main prize, the shortlist for Best British Short at Iris has been revealed, which includes a time travelling 16 year-old boy who leaves 1986 behind him and meets up with a teenager in 2015; the final week in work for a retiring University Professor; and a short film about two straight men connecting in a gay club are just some of the stories tackled by the finalists for the Pinewood Studios sponsored LGBT award.
The winner will receive a post-production package to help with the making of their next film, comprising of sound mixing, sound track lay and dub plus layback. The package is worth an amazing £14,000 and is sponsored by Pinewood Studios Group.
“British films have always been well received at the Iris Prize Film Festival and we are delighted to be screening 10 of the best British LGBT shorts this year. I’m delighted that Pinewood Studios has agreed to sponsor this important prize, they represent everything which makes the British Film Industry the envy of the world,” said Andrew Pierce.
The films will be judged by a five strong independent jury, who will be announced later in the year.
The 30 films competing for the 2015 main Iris Prize are:
A Straight Journey
From 2014-2015, masamojo, along with a team of two photographers, who are straight, took a journey across 11 cities in China, making portraits of 48 gays and lesbians and their families. A short film was made during the journey, documenting the stories they told for the first time.
Boa Noite Cinderela – Goodnight Cinderella
Dir: Carlos Conceigao
Cinderella escapes at midnight, leaving behind one of her glass slippers. The following days, the prince cannot get his mind off the idea of completing the pair.
Dir: Meg Smaker
Since Castro’s Revolution, Cuba has won more Olympic gold medals in boxing than any other country in the world. Although this boxing powerhouse has more than 19,000 male boxers, female boxing is non-existent on the island – the result of a ban on female boxing put into place after the revolution. Boxeadora follows Namibia, a Cuban woman who has been training in secret as a boxer for five years, hoping the government would lift its ban. Now 38, she only has two years left of boxing eligibility. Journey with Namibia as she tries to leave the island to follow her only dream: to compete as a boxer.
Dir: Lucas Helth Postma
16-year-old Emilie has always been a boy inside. His big struggle in life is that his mother wants Emilie to be a girl and cannot accept the way that Emilie feels inside. At an Easter lunch Emilie decides to do something drastic, which has its consequences.
Dir: Vibeke Heide
Monika tries to revive the close relationship with her childhood friend Irene. A day-trip to an old German bunker reveals that past offenses have not faded, and that the struggle for power between friends isn’t exclusive to childhood.
Dir: Shawn Ryan
No one ever listened to Charlie, until he stopped talking. Charlie is the story of a young man who goes hysterically mute when choosing to leave his abusive past behind. It’s Christmas Eve as he stumbles upon the Sanderson family who take him in as their own. Charlie’s silence acts as a mirror for the Sanderson family who discovers what bravery, compassion, and accepting one’s self are all about. Starring Shawn Ryan (Bones), Jim O’ Heir (Parks and Rec), Mo Collins (MADtv), and Golden Globe Nominee Andrea Marcovicci.
Dir: Sarah Smith
4th grade is all about fitting in. For ten-year-old Daniel that means owning the latest in Hello Kitty fashion, liking the cutest boy in class, and convincing yourself you’re Asian when everyone else thinks you’re white. Davis Desmond and Sari Lennick (A Serious Man) star in this short comedy that proves identity is all in the eye of the beholder.
Dir: Dean Loxton
Dániel is studying in London while working part-time as an escort to pay his tuition fees. He is invited to a lunch with Hungarian friends at which his close friend Nori, introduces her new lover Tom. The result not being what she hoped for.
Dir: Danny Yourd
Elgin Park is a lot of things: a 1950’s utopia, a fantastical world, and an optical illusion. Artist Michael Paul Smith’s imaginative town – composed entirely of miniatures – delighted audiences worldwide when his photo series went viral. For the first time, the documentary Elgin Park dives into the life of this charming, reclusive artist to reveal the dark inspiration behind his work.
En Eftermiddag – An Afternoon
Dir: Soren Green
Mathias has decided that today is the day, that he will let Frederik know, he is in love with him. But when the time comes, is he ready to make the first move?
Dir: Maria Winther Olsen
‘Falling Angels’ is a Faroese romantic drama. The young Julia – the priest’s daughter – falls in love with the beautiful Barbara, who just moved to the island. A story about forbidden love and the hard choices, it leads to.
Dir: Susan Sullivan
What was your first clue you were a lesbian? The answers are playful and poignant prequels to our “When did you know?” and “Coming out” stories. Charming and upbeat, First Clue reveals our earliest intuitions that we knew and delighted in who we were until we were taught otherwise. A diverse group of 21 women appear in this short film that was filmed in Dolores Park in San Francisco during Gay Pride Weekend, June 2013.
Dir: Luis Hernandez de la pena
In Mexico City, a man drives public transportation by day and sings the hits at a drag cabaret by night.
Dir: Martin Edralin
A daring portrait of a disabled man yearning for intimacy in a world that would rather ignore him.
Dir: Tony Radevski
Two men share an unlikely encounter in a bathroom cubicle.
Dir: Yoav Brill
Two men are walking down the street holding each other’s hands. Using interviews held by the director with men of his hometown Tel Aviv, this animated short investigates an intimate yet very public gesture. Who’s into it? Who avoids at all costs? And how a public admission of your sexual nature can mean a whole different thing in another culture.
In the Hollow
Dir: Austin Bunn
In May 1988, girlfriends Claudia Brenner and Rebecca Wight were attacked while hiking the Appalachian Trail by a ‘mountain man’ named Stephen Roy Carr. Combining documentary and narrative material, In the Hollow tells the story of the shooting, Wight’s death, and Brenner’s desperate survival (and later transformation into an advocate for hate crime legislation in the U.S.) as she returns to the trail for the first time since the shooting.
Intrinsic Moral Evil
Dir: Harm Weistra
Country: The Netherlands
Intrinsic Moral Evil is a tale of identity and coming of age. But above all, the three dancers play with the viewer’s perception and expectations. The layered story gradually develops; revealing its last secrets just before the end credits start. Inviting the audience to make its own interpretation.
Dir: Eoin Maher
Recently moved to London Bryn is finding it difficult to cope with his new surroundings. Seeking a distraction he invites Sean, an intrusive extrovert over for no strings sex. When the encounter ends Bryn wants to be alone again but Sean doesn’t want to leave.
Dir: Ondrej Hudecek
Country: Czech Republic
A twisted queer romance set in the 19th Century picturesque Bohemia telling a tabooed true story of birth of one of the nation’s most influential writers, starring Julius Feldmeier (Tore tanzt). Suspense, laughter, violence, hope, heart, nudity, sex, and happy ending.
Dir: Omar Zuniga Hidalgo
Lucas is visiting his sister on a remote island in southern Chile before moving abroad. An unlikely romance grows when he meets Antonio, a struggling young fisherman. The intimacy they share makes them navigate towards a new horizon and to a different stage of their adulthood.
Dir: Samuel Leighton – Dore
After the unexpected death of his mother, a young football player, Julian Maxwell, finds himself struggling to support his depressed, unemployed father – while fighting to keep safe the secret he once shared with his mother. He’s not only gay, but performs drag shows. Showboy is a film about family, loss and the exploration of freedom and sexuality in the face of affliction.
Sobre Papeis – Paper and Jeans
Dir: Pedro Paulo De Andrade
29 year-old Victor dives into his high school memories in order to write a letter with an important message to his teenage self.
Dir: Rohan Kanawade
On the last night of Navaratri, Jayu sits in the house listening to the sounds of the music, but that begins to make him restless. His heart sinks as he sees girls dolled up for the night. Everyone is heading to play dandiya. Jayu too longs to go, but he’s not allowed!
The Little Deputy
Dir: Trevor Anderson
Trevor tries to have a photo taken with his father.
Dir: Guy Sahaf
Two friends go on a hike to the desert. In the desolate wilderness something hidden emerges in their friendship. From then on, the only way they manage to communicate is sexually and violently. While one of them wants more than the other is able to give, he expresses his frustration by making sure they get lost and have no water – anything to escape from awaiting reality.
Tits on a Bull
Dir: Tim Worrall
Country: New Zealand
Set in a Maori women’s rugby team in rural New Zealand, Tits on a Bull follows Phoenix Tawhana, the young star of the team, as she struggles to choose between her longtime friendship with aging coach Rusty or her new relationship with lesbian team-captain, Melanie.
Dir: Jeremy Asher
Girls play with dolls and boys love sports, right? This film takes a look at what happens when those stereotypes are called into question. Jake, a lovable gender non-conforming seven year- old, invites us into his world to explore the transforming power that love and support can have when young children are accepted for who they really are.
Dir: Arkasha Stevenson
Vessels follows Diamond, a young Latina transgender woman living in Los Angeles. Diamond works at a garment factory for little pay, and is unable to afford healthcare let alone the breast implants she desperately desires. When her friend Hope shows off her new breasts she obtained through illegal black market silicon injections, Diamond is presented with an opportunity to gain the more feminine physique she has wanted her entire life. The girls go visit the “pumper,” Prayleen, who helps Diamond sculpt the body of her dreams.
Way to Hell – Fahrt Zur Holle
Dir: Henning Beckoff
Jesus, a man of 40 years, accompanies his mother Maria to a choir retreat. The catholic code of conduct could well be maintained, if it weren`t for the temptations of the world outside.
The 10 Shorts Competing For Best British Short Are:
Dir: Sarah Ball
A jilted window dresser uses her Valentine’s day windows to send a strong message to her ex.
Dir: Jake Graf
Trevor’s life has become a void, following the passing of his wife and long term companion, Doris. Days run into weeks, as Trevor slowly finds himself isolated and alone, and unconcernedly slipping towards death. A chance encounter in the park with a mysterious stranger equally troubled by his own dark past jarringly reawakens him, and forces both men to once again start to live.
Dir: Lloyd Eyre-Morgan
Closets features a tormented 16 year old boy called Henry, who on the 12th March 1986, time travels through his bedroom closet and meets up with a similar present day teenager.
Dir: Dean Loxton
Dániel is studying in London while working part-time as an escort. He is invited to a lunch by his best friend, at which she surprises everyone by introducing her new lover Tom, the result not being what she hoped for.
Dir: Neil Ely
A short film about two straight men connecting in a gay club.
Morning is Broken
Dir: Simon Anderson
At his older brother’s wedding a young man struggles to come to terms with his sexuality.
Dir: Nataly Lebouleux
17 year old Mina isn’t like most teenage girls. Her concerned parents decide to act before it’s too late. But things don’t go quite according to plan. Part horror movie, part magical realism, ‘Paper Thin’ is a subversive take on psychiatry, religious fundamentalism, the power of fairy godmother and the truth.
Dir: Jay Bedwani
Barry David Horwitz, anti-war protesting English Literature Professor and Berkeley University alumni is approaching retirement after 50 years of teaching. We follow Barry in his final week of work as he reflects on his career, reminisces about the men he has loved and lost, and directs his final play for the students of his college.
Dir: Paul Frankl
A cold and isolated transgender sex worker takes in a young girl who has been abandoned by her mother, and her life is thrown into question.
Dir: Lee Haven Jones
An intruder breaks into a modern and luxurious home. He wants it. As he samples the lifestyle his senses are heightened. When the owner of the house returns unexpectedly, the tables are turned, and the intruder finds himself naked and powerless. A film about passion, longing and desire in all its forms.