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The Iris Film Festival is a lively celebration of LGBTQ+ cinema, bringing filmmakers and audiences together in Cardiff.

This event is a significant platform for queer stories and diverse voices, showcasing a vibrant mix of short and feature films from around the globe.

Attendees can enjoy screenings, panel discussions, and Q&A sessions with filmmakers, all while experiencing the welcoming atmosphere of Cardiff​.

What’s the Purpose of The Iris Film Festival?

The festival promotes the visibility of LGBTQ+ stories, providing a unique space for these narratives to be seen and appreciated.

The festival also supports emerging talent through the prestigious Iris Prize, the world’s largest LGBTQ+ short film prize, which helps filmmakers create new work. This celebration of creativity and diversity strengthens the LGBTQ+ community and fosters understanding and acceptance.

The Iris Film Festival also aims to educate and inspire. It runs various community outreach projects and educational programs throughout the year, tackling issues such as homophobic bullying.

By touring the “Best of Iris” films across the UK, the festival ensures these powerful stories reach a wider audience, spreading messages of inclusion and respect far beyond the festival itself​.

History of Iris Film Festival

The Iris Film Festival began in 2007, thanks to the vision of Berwyn Rowlands. As a long-time advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, Rowlands wanted to create a platform that would celebrate and promote queer cinema.

His efforts culminated in the establishment of the Iris Prize, the world’s largest LGBTQ+ short film prize, which awards £30,000 to the winning filmmaker to create a new project in Cardiff​.

Each year, the festival attracts filmmakers and audiences from around the globe. Held in Cardiff, Wales, it features a diverse range of films, including short and feature-length projects.

The festival is not only a celebration of LGBTQ+ stories but also a critical platform for emerging filmmakers to gain international recognition. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 was the only time the festival couldn’t take place in person, but it continued successfully online​​.

The Iris Prize has grown in prominence and now collaborates with Film4 to broadcast shortlisted films on Channel 4, reaching millions of viewers.

This partnership and the festival’s commitment to showcasing diverse voices have made it a cornerstone of the global LGBTQ+ film community.​

How to Celebrate Iris Film Festival

Dress Up for the Occasion

Channel your inner film star! Donning a fabulous outfit adds extra sparkle to the festivities. Think glamorous gowns, chic suits, or even quirky costumes inspired by favorite films.

Whether attending screenings or hosting a viewing party at home, dressing up sets the mood for a dazzling celebration.

Host a Movie Marathon

Gather friends for a movie marathon featuring past winners and nominees of the Iris Prize. Provide popcorn, comfy seating, and a themed cocktail or two.

Not only will this be fun, but it’s also a great way to appreciate the artistry and diversity in LGBTQ+ cinema.

Engage in Panel Discussions

Many festivals feature engaging panel discussions with filmmakers and industry experts. Tune into these sessions online or attend them in person.

These panels offer insights into the creative process, the significance of representation, and the latest trends in queer cinema.

Share the Experience

Spread the word about the Iris Film Festival on social media. Post pictures, share thoughts on the films watched, and engage with the online community.

Using the festival’s hashtag helps connect with other cinephiles and amplifies the event’s reach.

Try a Themed Dinner

Create a themed dinner inspired by the films being shown. Each dish can represent a different movie, country, or genre featured in the festival.

This culinary adventure not only adds flavor to the event but also sparks delightful conversations among guests.

Attend or Host a Viewing Party

Host a viewing party for the festival’s most anticipated screenings. Decorate your space with film posters, set up a mini red carpet, and invite friends to join.

If attending in person, make it an event by cheering for your favorite films and chatting with fellow attendees.

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