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The Iris Prize opens for submissions confirming the importance of diversity in its 15th anniversary year!

Submissions are now open for the 2021 Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival. Celebrating its 15th edition, the Cardiff (UK) based festival, will take place in October 2021. The organisers are keen to continue to share LGBT+ stories from all over the world and closer to home, with the introduction of community and education awards at main festival.

The festival present 9 awards:

  • Iris Prize – the largest LGBT+ short film prize in the world supported by The Michael Bishop Foundation
  • Iris Prize Best British Short Supported by Film4
  • Iris Prize Best Feature sponsored by Bad Wolf
  • Best Performance in a Female Role sponsored by Diva Magazine
  • Best Performance in a Male Role sponsored by Attitude Magazine
  • Youth Jury Award sponsored by TBC
  • Community Award – £250 to enable the winning community group to make more films
  • Education Award – £250 to enable the winning education/youth group to make more films
  • Micro Short Award – £100 to enable the filmmaker to make more films

Andrew Pierce, Festival Chair commented:

Diversity has been at the heart of Iris from the beginning. Thanks primarily to the relationships we have with 30 partner festivals located in 20 countries we have always enjoyed seeing diversity represented on our screens.

Diversity across the board is taking a little longer. However, I’ve been encouraged by the improved gender balance and over the past three years we have seen women directors taking the main prize.

We have also seen a steady increase in the number of trans stories included in the festival programme. I’m hoping in 2021 and from this point in time we will also see an increase in films made by Trans filmmakers.

Community and Education Awards
The 2021 festival will see the inclusion of the fourth Iris Community and Education Awards, and for the first time they will be presented during the main festival in Cardiff.

Berwyn Rowlands, Festival Director commented:

“We have a popular outreach programme at Iris working with community and education groups across Wales and the rest of the UK. Using film to further understanding and tolerance of LGBT+ issues we have been successful in introducing elements of the main festival into our outreach work. It was therefore only natural that we would bring the celebration of community and education awards into the main festival.

Who knows, the future community and education winner could be an Iris Prize winner of the future.”

“We can now look back at 2020 as the year Iris came of age – when she stood tall and stepped out into the world, stronger and more determined. We are going to build on the success of 2020, and over the next few months we are looking forward to sharing more exciting news about our work and how Iris is going to be continue to share LGBT+ stories to a growing audience.”

Details about submitting films can be found here

The main festival sponsors are: The Michael Bishop Foundation, Welsh Government, the BFI awarding funds from the National Lottery, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film 4, University of South Wales, Co-op Respect, Bad Wolf, Gorilla Group, Peccadillo Pictures, Pinewood Studios, Attitude Magazine, Diva Magazine and The Ministry of Sound.

The festival also works in partnership with BAFTA Cymru, Pride Cymru and Stonewall Cymru.

Cover image: 9 shortlisted filmmakers from 9 different countries taking part in the online edition of Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival 2020.

Clip of Iris Prize winner 2020, Victoria Warmerdam from the Netherlands discovering she was the winner here.

You can read the full press release here

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Credit Zara Siddique
Inclusive Cinema tasks cinemas to take anti-racist action with launch of new guide

Inclusive Cinema tasks cinemas to take anti-racist action with launch of new guide 

The BFI Film Audience Network’s Inclusive Cinema has launched a practical guide for improving the cinema experiences of ethnically diverse audiences, and staff, which challenges institutions to make good on their Black Lives Matter and anti-racism statements from 2020. 

Inclusive Cinema is a UK-wide project funded by the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) through the National Lottery to support exhibitors in welcoming everyone to participate in cinema, by countering cultural, systemic or physical barriers. The new guide ‘Dismantling Structural Inequality in Your Cinema’ was commissioned from artist and freelancer Sadia Pineda Hameed and focuses on the cinema experiences of ethnically diverse people, with reference to intersections including gender, sexuality, disability, income and class.

From immediately actionable tools, to encouraging inner, reflective and dialogue-based work towards undoing systemic injustice, the guide is intended to create lasting change for future generations, and sustain organisations in a meaningful way, cited by its writer as “the last toolkit that cinemas should need” when it comes to making their spaces truly inclusive of and led-by ethnically diverse people.

Speaking at film exhibition conference, This Way Up, in December 2020, Sadia Pineda Hameed, author of the guide said:  

This toolkit wants to help you within your cinema or organisation to dismantle historic, powerful and violent structures; it’s not about reforming a single workplace but actually creating a more sustainable sector. It’s about decolonisation not diversification. The toolkit does not prioritise visible diversity and inclusion, but prioritises making sure exclusion can’t exist in your space … Share it with your funder and ask your funder to hold you accountable to it, and vice versa.

The toolkit examines the role of cinemas in the context of systemic injustice and focuses on preventing harm towards people of colour as audience members, staff and creators who exhibit their films, and arrives in tandem with Dogwoof’s latest release, charting Martin Luther King Jr.’s mistreatment by the FBI, MLK/FBI, available in virtual cinemas and on demand, from 15 January.  

As audiences connect the dots between the seeds to Black Power rising from the ‘50s and ‘60s, to Black Lives Matter in 2020, the vital reminder is that institutional and structural racism are still endemic issues within our society and culture, requiring multiple strategies and committed action.  

Toki Allison, BFI Film Audience Network Access Officer, who oversees the Inclusive Cinema project, explains:  

“Many cinemas have made statements recognising that structural change is essential after the resurgence of Black Lives Matter bringing racism forcibly into the public consciousness in 2020. This toolkit provides short and long-term actions for organisations to take, to show their true commitment to not only making statements, but taking anti-racist action to create an equitable space for Black, Asian, and ethnically diverse talent, curators, staff and audiences. It’s a comprehensive and inarguably uncompromising document, but it will only be effective if organisations take it, absorb it, recognise the deep work that needs to be done, and get on and do it. I’m looking forward to seeing real change happen, including true accountability from white-led organisations who give up their power and make way for ethnically diverse leaders, makers and curators to share stories in their own ways.” 

Rico Johnson-Sinclair, director and founder of CineQ, and festival manager at SHOUT Festival, was consulted in the creation of the toolkit, and said: 

There’s been a bit of work in the film industry generally over the last couple of years. And whilst this work is formative, it’s still optional and very base level. While the industry is debating whether or not to even implement systems of equality within their organisations, people of colour from all perspectives are put on the backburner time and time again, in lieu of something, anything else, that seems to take priority due to its rise in the public sphere. As this happens, whole generations of black and brown storytellers, creatives and hard-working film-lovers are cast aside to protect a casually and subversively racist status quo. This toolkit not only helps organisations to acknowledge systemic racism happening in their backyards (within a film industry that was built during a time where the only representation we had was given to us by white people), it also shows us a path to valuable self-learning; to implement change across the team to ensure that as the conversation changes and evolves amongst marginalised people (which it will inevitably do), organisations are able to keep up. Instead of performative, this toolkit champions the formative and sustainable.” 

Alex Misick, programme coordinator at The Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, who have begun the work to structural change in their venue, said: 

I like how the guide doesn’t pull any punches, and is quite explicit about the politics that underpin so much of what hopefully, should be a historic approach. One of Sadia’s key points is that this isn’t just a strategy to be implemented from the top-down of an organisation. These are conversations that need to happen between staff, not necessarily led by senior management, and to be implemented at an individual level… Instead of following capitalist logic of doing more, this is a moment to take a step back, and to recognise there’s a rupture in consensus and let’s not go back to normal.

You can find the toolkit in the how-to guides section of the Inclusive Cinema website here and/or download it here.

You can find virtual screenings and on demand links to watch MLK/FBI here. 

Ends.

Download the full press release

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FEF Collage
Film Hub Wales awards £52,000 in Covid-19 recovery funds to Welsh cinemas and festivals

Media Release:

Film Hub Wales awards £52,000 in Covid-19 recovery funds to Welsh cinemas and festivals

Film venues put wellbeing at the forefront of their post-Covid-19 reopening programmes.

Film Hub Wales (FHW) has awarded £52,000 in National Lottery funding, through the BFI FAN Film Exhibition Fund, to 15 Welsh independent cinemas and film festivals as they plan for reopening.

Funds will be used to aid recovery, enabling venues to safely restart British and international film screenings, including through cabaret style seating and ‘big screen bubbles’, so that they can reconnect with the most isolated Welsh communities affected by lockdown.

Socially-distanced film activities will take place Wales-wide, creating safe spaces where people can still travel the world via the big screen, at affordable prices. Audiences will be at the heart of decision making, with their feedback valued by venues as they rebuild.

For example, TAPE in Old Colwyn is reinstating Sofa Cinema and will screen Sanctuary in partnership with a new local dating agency for people with learning disabilities. In Barry, the Memo Arts Centre will create ‘big screen Bub-L’ activities with digital and take-away crafts, and in Tywyn the Magic Lantern will ‘re-light the magic lantern’, positioning the cinema as a bold, brave beacon for the future.

Since the pandemic began, many sites have been unable to open their doors to the public. With an uncertain future still ahead, they have been working to diversify their business models, develop robust health and safety procedures and secure critical alternative sources of income.

Hana Lewis, Strategic Manager of Film Hub Wales explains:

We need to recognise the impact of cinemas in our communities and the potential loss we will all face if they close as a result of the pandemic. From Neuadd Ogwen, which provided food to 600 people via its foodbank, to the Magic Lantern and Theatr Gwaun, which both delivered medical supplies and mental health support to vulnerable patrons, independent venues have gone above and beyond to help those in most need. They have done this whilst also planning for their own uncertain futures, interrogating their business plans, reviewing their approaches to access and equality and exploring environmental sustainability. These funds will help them to restart crucial social, economic and cultural provision through on-screen activity.

Annie Grundy, Co-Director of The Magic Lantern:

Getting this funding enables us to wrap a big ball of cotton wool around the British, independent and foreign language films in our programme which in the old days before the corona-coaster we underwrote ourselves. It ensures that even with a much reduced capacity (we have gone from 280 to 36 available seats due to social distancing) our audience can rock up to see an eclectic mix of fantastic films on screen at the Magic Lantern.

Sue Whitbread, CEO of Theatr Gwaun adds:  

Film Hub Wales’ support means we can move ahead with our new film strategy. Theatr Gwaun will now focus on diverse, independent films refreshing interest and developing new audiences in our community.  Funding is essential, but equally the expert advice, mentoring and enthusiasm of the Hub team has given us a tremendous boost.

Blanche Giacci lives a few streets away from Theatr Gwaun and in normal times would attend screenings at least once a week:

Theatr Gwaun is an essential part of our community, providing cinema, culture and entertainment for all age groups and interests. It is a social hub which improves the community’s well-being.

Ben Luxford, Head of UK Audiences at the BFI adds: 

This year has shown the absolute importance and need of programming beyond the mainstream, and we’re pleased to be able to support exhibitors in Wales continue to do that.

The BFI FAN Film Exhibition Fund is made possible thanks to National Lottery funding, repurposed by the British Film Institute (BFI) via its Film Audience Network (FAN). The fund offers critical relief and business continuity to exhibitors across the whole of the UK. Funds in Wales are administered by FHW via Chapter as the Film Hub Lead Organisation.

Ends
Download the Press Release

Left to right: Galeri Caernarfon, Memo Arts Centre Barry © Jon Pountney, Theatr Gwaun, The Magic Lantern © Mathieu Gasquet, WOW Women’s Film Club © Jon Pountney, Wicked Wales Tir Morfa Awards, Memo Arts Centre Barry WAM © Jon Pountney, Monmouth Savoy © David Broadbent

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Yourscreen
Don’t Let Lockdown Beat You – Screen Films Throughout on YourScreen

‘Open your doors’ during lockdown and let your audience watch films – mostly new and unavailable on other digital platforms – on YourScreen.

By promoting YourScreen, you will be earning revenue now and well into the future.


What is it?

YourScreen
is your virtual cinema, a short-term solution to keep you going during the pandemic.  It also provides a long-term opportunity to add an extra screen to your film programme – to appeal to new audiences and to generate additional revenue without the overheads.

How does it work?
For every virtual ticket sold, YourScreen will pay you 30%.


Participation is simple:
– They will provide you with a promo code which will give you audience 25% off ticket purchases.
– You promote the films on your website / social media / e-shot.
– At the end of the season they will send you a sales report and an invitation to invoice them for 30% of all purchases made.

If you participated in YourScreen season one, your existing promo code will be valid for season two.

Contact:
Please get in touch to learn more: patrick.yourscreen@gmail.com or visit their website.

Current deal:
Season 2 will be available for you to programme between 01 Jan- 28 Feb 2021. Films available:

  • God of the Piano
  • Noah Land
  • Mister Universo
  • Rounds
  • Supernova
  • Winter Flies
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Four Film Festivals join forces to present AMPLIFY!

A brand new virtual film festival streaming this November

Four of the UK’s top film festivals have joined forces in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to deliver a brand new collaborative online film festival this November.

Unprecedented times call for an unprecedented response!

AMPLIFY! Film Festival is the most ambitious collaboration between UK film festivals ever undertaken and will see a truly diverse programme of films, many of them UK premieres, available to audiences across the entire UK.

AMPLIFY! will bring together over 100 years of film festival experience, to create a 17-day online event which will amplify the voices of diverse storytellers from the UK and around the world. 

For the very first time an exciting programme of films is being co-curated by four festivals — Bath, Brighton (Cinecity), Cambridge, and Cornwall — and promoted across the UK, opening up this unique festival to an audience of millions and allowing people to access these incredible films — over 50% of which are directed by women — from the comfort of their own homes.

AMPLIFY! will stream online 6–22 November, with the full programme of films, Q&As, masterclasses, and industry events to be announced in October. 

Full of dazzling debuts and spectacular previews, the online programme of AMPLIFY! offers a feast of movie viewing for audiences of every taste. Winner of Best Film at San Sebastián International Film Festival & nominated at TIFF in Viggo Mortensen’s directorial debut, Falling, he directs himself in a powerful family drama about a son’s traumatic relationship with his father. With 5 wins and 11 International festival nominations Patrick (De Patrick) is a brilliant Belgian black comedy about a nudist camp; Patrick, the camp’s handyman, has lost his hammer, and nothing will make him happy until he finds it.

Travelling back 90 years, you can see the silent masterpiece Waxworks starring Jack the Ripper, Ivan the Terrible, and Harun al-Rashid, brought back to life by the great Emil Jannings introduced by the much loved BBC radio & TV presenter and pianist Neil Brand. The Audition stars one of Europe’s greatest actors, Nina Hoss, as an obsessive music teacher determined that her pupil will succeed. Piotr Domalewski picked up a new directors nomination at San Sebastián International Film Festival 2020 for his stunning debut Jak najdalej stąd (I Never Cry) which premieres at AMPLIFY.

There are lots of hot docs too: The Mole Agent is the unforgettable account of how a care home is infiltrated by an elderly gent who has been hired to find out what goes on behind closed doors. While Caught in the Net is the compelling story of a virtual flytrap set for online paedophiles, using women pretending to be younger. My Mexican Bretzel is a cracker — the winner of the Found Footage Award in Rotterdam last year, on a par with Sarah Polley’s stunning Stories We Tell.

Since 2011, Camera Catalonia has been an important and popular strand of the Cambridge Film Festival, presenting the interesting and creative work from new and experienced directors.  AMPLIFY! Includes a great selection of new films from Catalonia such as UK premiers of  La inocència (The innocence) , Keith Haring 1989 Barcelona & My Mexican Bretzel.

Six short programmes will be free to view, including the prestigious IMDb Awards from FilmBath, Cornwall’s International short programme & South West best regional shorts, as well as CINECITY’s New Voices — regional shorts made by 16 to 25-year-olds, supported by Screen and Film School Brighton. The UK Premiere of I Still Breathe by London-based filmmaker Alfred George Bailey’s response to the death of George Floyd with score from composer Nicky Brown and Academy Award-winning sound designer John Warhurst.

The Young People’s Jury Programme seeks to nurture visual literacy, criticism & decision making in the next generation and will culminate in the Young People’s Jury Prize awarded to one of the eight nominated features in competition.

As well as the diverse programme of feature and short films, AMPLIFY! will also deliver a range of director Q&As, workshops, and network events. 

Industry focused events include a BFI NETWORK breakthrough filmmaker event, a casting panel hosted by Backstage, a LIM (Less Is More) script development talk supported by Creative Europe.  A round table event ‘Distribution in uncertain times’ with Charles Gant. Q&A with German director-producer Jens Meurer for the UK Premiere of An Impossible Project hosted by Bill Lawrence, former Creative Director at Showroom Cinema, and Head of Film at the National Museum of Photography. Filmmaker networking events. 

AMPLIFY! Film Festival has received praise from across the UK film festival community. Among others, London Film Festival Director Tricia Tuttle offered her support:

AMPLIFY! is a fantastic initiative by some of the country’s top regional film festivals. We’ve all been keeping in close contact over the last months, sharing information on the challenges and strategies for planning film festivals in a pandemic. These festivals do such important work in getting independent films to audiences, championing underrepresented voices — films from female and LGBQI+ filmmakers, film and filmmakers from around the world and from diverse backgrounds. This year has seen so much great collaboration between festivals and it’s an absolute pleasure to see them combining forces for the good of audiences and filmmakers. I will be settling down after my own festival to watch some great work on the AMPLIFY! platform.

The teams behind the four AMPLIFY! partner festivals are excited to be collaborating on such an innovative project. 

Holly Tarquini & Philip Raby, the co-directors of FilmBath, stated:

The COVID crisis has threatened all of our organisations, so it’s an absolute joy to be able to work together and put on such a juicy online festival — with tons of Q&As and special events.” Tim Brown from Cinecity Brighton added, “Working with new partners in a completely new way is the best response to events and an exciting way to take audiences on new adventures in world cinema.

Director of Cornwall Film Festival, Louise Fox believes AMPLIFY! will be a celebration.

The joy of film sits at the heart of this year’s celebratory festival programme, a great example of how we can come together whilst being apart to be engaged and inspire our local and national audiences.”

And while Cambridge Film Festival’s 40th edition may be on hold, Tony Jones & Matthew Webb from Cambridge Film Trust are confident AMPLIFY! can more than fill the void, stating:

2020 would have marked the 40th Cambridge Film Festival and it is only right that during these times we are working, side by side, with our friends FilmBath, Brighton CINECITY, Cornwall Film Festival to offer an exciting film experience for you all. We hope to see you at AMPLIFY!

THE FULL PROGRAMME, AND BOOKINGS ARE AVAILABLE VIA WWW.AMPLIFYFILM.ORG.UK AND THE FOUR PARTNER WEBSITES NOW.

AMPLIFY! WILL BE AVAILABLE TO STREAM FROM 6–22 NOVEMBER

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Iris Prize LGBT+ Festival Announces 2020 Winners

Short Calf Muscle, directed by Victoria Warmerdam, has been announced the winner of the Iris Prize 2020, Cardiff’s International LGBT+ Short Film Prize, supported by The Michael Bishop Foundation. This was the first time in the festival’s 14-year history that a film from the Netherlands has won. The £30,000 prize enables Victoria to make a new short film in Wales, becoming the thirteenth Iris production.  Better, directed by Michael J. Ferns, wins Best British Award.

The winners of all Awards categories were announced at a special awards ceremony on Saturday night marking the successful end to the unique virtual festival that has attracted a UK wide audience to watching film screenings and talks online for free, which included the UK premiere on opening night of Lloyd Eyre-Morgan and Neil Ely’s S.A.M.

The awards show included performances by Welsh singer Casi Wyn and pop legend Heather Small.

THE WINNERS 

IRIS PRIZE

The international winner of Iris Prize is Victoria Warmerdam for SHORT CALF MUSCLE from the Netherlands.

Philip Guttman, from the Iris Prize jury says,

Short Calf Muscle captures a universal sense of being misunderstood in an hilarious yet absurd comic tone, setting it apart in a class of its own. Piquant dialogue, accomplished storytelling and tongue in cheek acting are distilled into a potent black comedy, where Anders, a gay man, suddenly finds himself labelled to be a “gnome” by everyone around him, harkening to our own society that all too often misgenders or misidentifies others. Filmmaker Victoria Warmerdam masterfully tackles themes of prejudice and societal authoritarianism, captured through an impeccable Stepford style lens which contrasts the loss of control in a world gone mad. Ms. Warmerdam reveals herself to be a singular, exciting and rising comedy director.

The film was the chosen nomination of Iris partner festival Roze Filmdagen; Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival. Werner Borkes, the festival’s Director, said of Victoria’s win,

as a festival we are already extremely honored that we have been a nominating festival for years, but we are all the more proud that our nominee actually takes the prize home. (Eight times is a charm). It is great to see how very ‘Dutch’ the film is in tone and style, but still connects with an international audience through its original but still universal relatable story about whether or not to be different.

The shortlisted finalists also included Runner Up Victoria, as well as Boys and On My Way.

Of Victoria, jury members and previous Iris Prize winners Lara Zeidan and Sarah Smith say,

A brilliant setting for a simple and touching story perfectly contained within one scene. The shifting of perspectives deftly executed in the writing and directing gives voice to both characters’ complicated emotions. The performances, the pacing, the compositions, the colour palette, and the use of the Victoria Amazónica as metaphor, all work in harmony leading towards a beautifully poetic ending, and demonstrate a remarkable command of the craft of filmmaking.

Of Boys, Mikael Bundsen and Philip Guttman, say,

In Banim (Boys), filmmaker Lior Soroka, draws us into an aching coming of age story depicting one teen’s fight for independence and his mother’s struggle to let go, while simultaneously evoking questions about gender norms in contemporary society. With its riveting performances, the striking complexity in the character’s relationships, and for what is left unsaid, but deeply felt, Soroka has captured our hearts and our imaginations.

Of On My Way, Mikael Bundsen says, “Filmmaker Sonam Larcin crafts an intimate story potent with questions to reflect on long after the film’s running time. Complex characters navigating the conditions of a vulnerable migrant to a clandestine gay relationship teetering on the edge are masterfully brought to life by a stellar cast. It’s beautiful, accomplished and it leaves us passionate to see more”.

BEST BRITISH AWARD

The winner of Best of British short films is Scottish-born Michael J. Ferns for BETTER. The other films that made the final shortlist are Runner Up Queens, as well as The Passing and Wings.

Tim Highsted, Senior Editor, Acquired Feature Films for Film4, who chaired the jury for Best British Short, commented:

The quality and range of this year’s Best British Short film contenders has been excellent – so much so that the jury was spoiled in having to choose a winner. Michael J Fern’s short film Better was distinctive for its quietly controlled and beautifully orchestrated examination of gender as a young mother tries to cope with the bullying of her young son at school. Our other shortlisted titles, Queens, The Passing and Wings raised the bar in their unique portrayals and studies of LGBT+ lives and stories.

Additionally, cementing the first of a three-year sponsorship deal with Film4, all 15 films in Best British programmes will be available for free streaming on All 4 from 11th October.

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM AWARDS

Best Performance in a Male Role in a Feature Film, sponsored by Attitude, was awarded to Leandro Faria Lelo from DRY WIND, directed by Daniel Nolasco and distributed by TLA Releasing.

Lewis Bayley, chair of Best Feature jury made up of film students from Bournemouth Film School, says,

The award for Best Performance in a Male Role is awarded to Leandro Faria Lelo in Dry Wind, whose compelling performance of sexual desire captivates the audience and explores the intensity of yearning in the monotonous confines of an oppressive system.

He adds,

an honourable mention to Oscar Chiu’s performance in The Teacher, where his gentle and tender performance exposes the audience to the realities of life in Taiwan as a queer teacher through his vulnerability, and spark that commands attention to this quiet protagonist.

Best Performance in a Female Role in a Feature Film, sponsored by Diva, was awarded to Lena Urzendowsy for COCOON. The winner was announced pop legend Heather Small.

Of Lena’s performance, Lewis says,

The award for Best Performance in a Female role goes to Lena Urzendowsky. Lena’s honest and raw portrayal of Nora in Cocoon captures a teenager in a time of self-discovery, complicated by the dramas and vices of those closest to her. In this beautiful coming-of-age story, Lena holds the attention in each frame she appears with quiet nuance and vulnerability.

“The jury would also like to draw attention to recognise the performance of Alexandra Grey in Gossamer Folds, whose warmth and determination to live authentically serve as a beacon of hope in a film where so many characters exist in a state of such uncertainty. Although the film is based in 1986, the relevance to the world today are particularly poignant and a reminder of work yet to be done, and Alexandra’s performance is nothing short of essential.

The Best International Feature Film Award, sponsored by Bad Wolf, is won by COCOON, directed by Leonie Krippendorff and is distributed in UK by Peccadillo Pictures.

Of Cocoon, Lewis Bayley says,

The winning film is an honest and open coming of age story, addressing its lead’s sexuality with delicacy and heart that speaks directly to personal experiences. The innocence of self-discovery, in the midst of the complexities of the lives of those around us are explored with nuance and authenticity. The supporting visages are dreamlike, relatable and beautifully rendered.

YOUTH JURY

The winner of the Youth Jury Award is WINGS from UK director Jamie Weston, and the runner-up is Luca Padrini’s When In Rome (Paese Che Vai).

The four short-listed films, chosen from 35 nominees for the main Iris Prize, were Wings, My God I’m Queer, When In Rome (Paese Che Vai) and Snake, which had been specially programmed by a group of young people from Into Film and Pride Cymru and then voted for by young people from schools across Wales.

AUDIENCE AWARD

One of the additional innovations for this year is the introduction of the Co-op Audience Award, the natural next step in the strong relationship with the Iris Prize, started by Co-op Respect. This year Co-op shoppers will be encouraged to watch the 35 short films – and vote for their favourite.

Those who votes will be eligible to win a trip to attend the 2021 Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival in Cardiff, the prize will include train travel within the UK, hotel accommodation and a full VIP Pass for two people. Other prizes include luxury Co-op Hampers, just in time for Christmas! When can I vote? Voting for the Co-op Audience Award opens on Wednesday 7 October and closes on Saturday 31 October 2020.

Lord Glendonbrook said during his address:

The Iris Prize continues to be the world’s largest short film prize and I’m delighted that through The Michael Bishop Foundation we have been able to support the winners, to create new short films. These Iris Productions are wonderful opportunities for the film makers to be given the freedom to share our stories to a world that sometimes ignore us and sometimes hate us.

Andrew Pierce, Iris Prize Chair says “Against the odds, film makers, sponsors and our UK audience have come together this week to celebrate our stories through film. As David Llewellyn mentioned duringIris Live!,“We may be watching these films in separate rooms, but we’re still watching them together.”

The main festival sponsors are: The Michael Bishop Foundation, Welsh Government, the BFI awarding funds from the National Lottery, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film 4, University of South Wales, Co-op Respect, Bad Wolf, Gorilla Group, Peccadillo Pictures, Pinewood Studios, Attitude Magazine, Diva Magazine and The Ministry of Sound.

The festival also works in partnership with BAFTA Cymru, Pride Cymru and Stonewall Cymru.

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CAF ONLINE POSTER
Full programme announced for Cardiff Animation Festival 2020 Online!

Cardiff Animation Festival has announced their full online festival programme. The festival has added further announcements to their exciting 2020 line-up, including masterclasses and Q+As with key talent behind The Rubbish World of Dave Spud, Strike and The Adventures of Paddington™. The online celebration of animation for everyone will showcase some of the best animation from all over the world for adults, families and filmmakers.

The rescheduled spring 2020 festival will now run online, with events starting 17th October, building towards the main festival week 24th October – 1st November. Tickets for individual events are now on sale, and Early Bird passes are available for £15 per pass.

Festival Director Lauren Orme says:

We’re so proud of this programme and thrilled to finally be bringing it to audiences! This has been a difficult year for everyone and it was really important to us to be able to offer passes at such a reduced price and individual tickets on a pay-what-you-can basis, so as many people as possible can access the festival. The online format has also enabled us to subtitle all our events to make everything even more accessible which is really exciting.

A range of family-friendly events will run throughout the festival, including an incredible chance to see behind-the-scenes of the brand new CGI series The Adventures of Paddington™ by Blue Zoo Animation for StudioCanal & Nickelodeon, presented by Producer Simon Quinn.

Ed Foster, creator of Illuminated Films’ hit animated CITV comedy The Rubbish World of Dave Spud, will tell the story of his 16-year journey from student film to directing his own series, and the origins of underdog, unlikely hero and unwitting creator of chaos Dave Spud and his family. With a voice cast featuring Gina Yashere and Johnny Vegas, and animation by Cardiff’s Cloth Cat Animation, the show’s ratings have been far from rubbish since its launch last September and it’s now in production for its second series.

The programme includes British stop-motion feature film STRIKE, a story of a young mole trying to achieve his impossible dream of becoming a footballer to save his hometown from a greedy supervillain. The film is Sussex-based Trevor Hardy’s first feature, produced by Gigglefish Studios. After the film screening audiences can go behind-the-scenes with an engaging Q+A with the film’s director Trevor Hardy, voice actor Lizzie Waterworth and producer Neil James exploring the unique way recycling helped to bring the film to life, chaired by Suraya Raja.

The festival is teaming up with Visible in Visuals, a platform aiming to make animation and VFX more inclusive, for a panel and Q+A focusing on different careers in animation and advice for students and those looking to get into the industry.

These events and many more add to an already spectacular line-up, including masterclasses on directing Bob’s Burgers with Welsh animator Simon Chong, Moominvalley with episode director Avgousta Zourelidi, the world’s first sand animated feature film Heart of Darkness currently being made in Wales by director Gerald Conn.

Festival-goers will be able to come together for live watch parties of the seven themed programmes of the festival’s favourite new animated shorts from around the world, swapping rounds of applause in the cinema for clapping emojis in the live chat, and voting for their favourites to win the CAF Audience Award. There will be a chance to meet some of the brilliant independent filmmakers behind the films in competition at Animators Brunch, live Q+As hosted by Skwigly’s Ben Mitchell and Laura-Beth Cowley on Sunday 25th October and Sunday 1st November.

Cardiff Animation Festival is funded by Arts Council Wales, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film Hub Wales as part of the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN), BFI NETWORK Wales, and Ymddiried through the Owen Edwards Scholarship Fund, and sponsored by Cloth Cat Animation, Picl Animation, Creative Europe Desk UK – Wales, the University of South Wales, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Jammy Custard Animation, the British Animation Awards, S4C and by the ScreenSkills Animation Skills Fund with contributions from UK animation productions.

Cardiff Animation Festival 2020 online will run from Saturday 17th October to Sunday 1st November online. Cardiff Animation Festival passes and individual tickets are on sale now, with a limited number of reduced-price Early Bird passes available at  https://watch.eventive.org/caf2020 and https://caf2020.eventive.org/passes/buy

To keep up to date, follow Cardiff Animation Festival on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and sign up to our mailing list for more updates and announcements as they are released.

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Applications are now open for Sustain Lift – Autumn 2020!
  • Want to re-evaluate after lockdown? 
  • Looking to develop skills or polish existing ones? 
  • Want to connect more as a team and start working towards your next big project?

As part of the Cinema For All LIFT package helping community cinemas return to screening films after lockdown, we are running another round of our BFI funded coaching programme, Sustain! 

This autumn we have places on all three strands of Sustain available. Find out more about each below:

Sustain Shine – for existing community cinemas to reflect on what they have achieved and where they want to go next. This programme will follow our previous and popular Sustain format, providing groups with three coaching sessions and a £200 bursary to build on and explore the sustainability of their community cinema.

Sustain Develop – a new programme for community cinemas with a clear idea of their next stage of development with a specific project. The programme will consist of three bespoke coaching sessions tailored to your group, along with a £600 bursary to help realise, plan and achieve your community cinema’s next ambition.

Sustain Collaborate – This programme will support groups with ideas for an interesting collaboration with other community cinemas. It provides a bursary of £1000 to help cover the costs of making your in person or online collaborative project happen. 

Deadline for applications is 15 October 2020. To find out more about Sustain and how to apply, please visit Cinema For All’s website here, or contact Ellie at ellie@cinemaforall.org.uk

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UK’s five biggest festivals of African film team up to present online showcase

The UK’s five biggest festivals of African film – Africa in Motion in Edinburgh/Glasgow, Afrika Eye in Bristol, the Cambridge African Film Festival (CAFF), Film Africa in London, and Watch-Africa Cymru (Wales) – are teaming up online for the first time this October to present “We Are Tano”, showcasing ten of the best examples of African cinema from the past decade.

The season, which draws its title from the Swahili word ‘tano’, meaning five, will run online from 1st October to 20th October, as part of Black History Month, giving UK-wide audiences pay-what-you-want access to a choice of 10 stand-out African films.

The initiative is being co-ordinated by Sheila Ruiz, Director of London’s Film Africa and Deputy Director at the Royal African Society, who says:

COVID-19 has presented major challenges to many film festivals this year. But, as with all crises, the current pandemic has also presented an opportunity to do things differently.

All five festivals in the TANO network felt it important to carry on giving UK audiences access to the broad range of films coming out of Africa. Hence the decision to contribute to Black History Month with a jointly curated online showcase, drawing on some of the most popular titles shown by TANO festivals since 2010.

Christine Patterson, the festival producer for Watch-Africa film festival, added:

The purpose of this season is to continue our mission to highlight the vibrancy and rich diversity of African film-making and story-telling.We are passionate about expanding people’s understanding and appreciation of African film and cultures across the UK, and we aim to reach as wide an audience as possible, especially audiences that have not been able to attend our festivals in person.

Among the films chosen for the showcase are:

  1. ‘Un homme qui cri’ (Chad/France, 2010) by Cannes Jury Prize winner Mahomet Saleh Haroun; Alain Gomis’s
  2. ‘Tey/ Aujourd’hui,’ (France/Senegal), voted best international film at Berlin in 2012;
  3. ‘As I open my eyes’ (Tunisia, 2015) , directed by Venice prize-winner Leyla Bouzid, and the mischievously comic docu-drama
  4. ‘Film festival film’ (Namibia, South Africa, 2019).

Full details of the “We Are Tano” selections and streaming calendar will be available shortly from www.wearetano.org.  In return for a pay-what-you-can-afford donation, attendees will have up to 48 hours to view their choices, alone or with family/friends.

Meanwhile, further information about the Tano network and its previous collaborations can be accessed now via https://www.africa-in-motion.org.uk/we-are-tano/.

Other celebrations of African cinema taking place this autumn/winter by TANO network members include:
Africa in Motion (Scotland): www.africa-in-motion.org.uk | 30 October – 29 November 2020 and
Film Africa (London): www.filmafrica.org | 30 October – 8 November 2020

For news about the other TANO network festivals, please visit:

WE ARE TANO is supported by the BFI Audience Fund.

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Kotatsu Festival 10th Anniversary Celebration

Kotatsu Festival 10th Anniversary Celebration

Held virtually on October 24th & 25th in Partnership with The Japan Foundation London.

The Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival started in 2010 in Cardiff, and has been held every year as a showcase for Japanese animation and culture. Celebrating its 10th anniversary however comes in the midst of a global pandemic and so the decision was taken to hold the festival fully online. One of the goals since the festival’s inception has been to act as a gateway into the diverse world of Japanese animation. To achieve this, they showcase emerging talent and important but overshadowed animators who work in a wide variety of styles, from 2D to stop-motion. The 2020 festival will be the biggest celebration of this talent yet. 

On October 24th and 25th, viewers will be able to participate in the full line-up of screenings and events, all of which will be free to access via their YouTube channel and through various Zoom sessions. In total, they will be screening 37 films, including 28 works from students studying at 5 different Japanese universities, and 9 works from 5 award-winning animators, including Oscar nominated Koji Yamamura and Shin Hosokawa. Furthermore, these works will be introduced by the creators themselves as the festival aims to continue in its mission to connect animators with audiences. 

A very exciting series of Zoom workshops will also be hosted by veteran animators who are bringing their very latest works to the festival. The workshops will cover a range of fun activities such as one dedicated to the art of creating the Kotatsu Festival mascot design by Chie Arai, while world famous Fusako Yusaki talks about her career in claymation animation with a Q&A Session. There is also a talk with animator/director Miho Yata and musician Takeshi Yoda. 

People will be able to participate in the full line-up of the screenings and events, all of which will be free, via our YouTube channel and through Zoom sessions. 

This will also be the first time that Kotatsu collaborates with F-Rated, an organisation dedicated to supporting women in film by working with cinemas and film festivals to give moviegoers a way to identify films and events that fairly represent women on screen and behind the camera. We have secured an F-Rating for our ongoing campaign to show the works of female film makers and also for this event where more than half of the films were directed by women. 

Here is the full line-up of events: 

Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival 10th Anniversary Timetable 

(All times are UK/GMT – Japan +7 hours ahead) 

24th October 

11:00 YouTube Screening – Films by Koji Yamamura, Shin Hosokawa, Miho Yata, Chie Arai, Makiko Sukikara 

13:00 Zoom Event – Miho Yata / Takeshi Yoda – Director & Musician Q&A 

18:00 YouTube Screening – Student Work (Part 1) 

25th October 

12:00 Zoom Event – Chie Arai Animation Workshop 

14:00 Zoom Event – Fusako Yusaki Director Q&A and Clay Animation Workshop 

16:00 YouTube Screening – Student Work (Part 2) 

18:00 YouTube Screening – Films by Koji Yamamura, Shin Hosokawa, Miho Yata, Chie Arai, Makiko Sukikara 

We will reveal the full line-up of the titles and events on the festival’s website soon.

The Animators and Musician 

Yamamura Koji (山村 浩二

After graduating from Tokyo Zokei University in 1987, he founded Yamamura Animation, Inc. in 1993 and has worked steadily, refining his style while making films for children. His most famous work is the short “Mount Head” (2002) which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Short. Other titles include “Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor” (2007) and “Muybridge’s Strings” (2011). His films have been awarded more than 90 prizes including the grand prizes of major international animation festivals such as Annecy, Ottawa and Hiroshima. He has also received the Medal with Purple Ribbon from the Japanese government in 2019. He is member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a professor of Tokyo University of the Arts. 

Yusaki Fusako (湯崎 夫沙子

Yusaki is an award-winning claymation pioneer who emerged in the 1960s after moving to Milan and establishing her own independent studio, Studio Yusaki. Her works consist of commercials, films, and children’s television programmes which were made for public broadcasters such as RAI and NHK. Yusaki’s famous works include claymation advertisements for the liqueur Fernet-Branca, and “Peo the Blue Dog”, a popular TV character in Switzerland. Yusaki will lead a claymation workshop and do a Q&A with Kotatsu. 

Yata Miho (やた みほ

Born 1974, Yata studied Children’s Literature and Children’s Culture at university. While studying, she was inspired by “Wallace and Gromit” and started to have an interest on stop motion animation. In 1999 she started knit-animation and creating picture books. Since then, she has become famous for “Wool Fairies Knit and Wool”(NHK・NEP)and the picture books “Sakasa mo Sakasa” (Demadosha Co.,Ltd.) “What is This Yan?”(CHILD HONSHA Co.,Ltd.). She is currently a member of the Japan Animation Association and she is teaching at Shirayuri University Department of Children’s Culture. 

Hosokawa Shin (細川 晋

A graduate of Tama Art University’s Master’s Program Design Course, he now works as a writer, director, animator and is an assistant professor at Tokyo Polytechnic University. His latest work, “Dino!”, a stop motion animation, has been programmed by Kotatsu. Arai Chie (荒井 知恵

A graduate from the Department of Fine Arts, Northern Arizona University, after working at an animation studio, Arai has been a freelancer since 2002. Her techniques include hand-drawn animation and illustration and she creates books and animation videos including “Dreams” (2008), which has been programmed by Kotatsu. Since 2006, she has been orchestrating “Flip Book Manga Cafe Exhibition”, a collective of writers and artists who love to make wonderfully varied flip books. Their exhibitions have been held in many places. As well as creating her own art, she guides others and works as an associate professor at Bunka Gakuen University Department of Art and Design. 

Sukikara Makiko (鋤柄真希子

Born in 1982, Sukikara studied at the Film School Zlin in the Czech Republic. Since 2010, she has been animating and has created works by multiplane camera, many of which have been screened at international festivals. She creates stories with animals as the main characters with titles like “While the Crow Weeps” (2013) and “Deep Sea’s Rainbow” (2019). The latter has been programmed for Kotatsu’s forthcoming stream. 

Yoda Takeshi (ヨダタケシ

Yoda is a composer who plays an electronic instrument known as a theremin, a device that makes sound without the musician touching it. He is active across genres and creates music for video works as well as for live events. He will be in a Q&A with Miho Yata during a Kotatsu Zoom session. 

The Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival relies on sponsors and donors to help us deliver screenings. If you would like to show your support, you can do so with a voluntary contribution at the festival’s Patreon page. Alternatively you can support the festival without paying extra money by signing up to Easyfundrasing and choosing to support Kotatsu. When you shop via Easyfundrasing website, a percentage of your purchase will be automatically donated to the festival. If you are shy, you can choose a setting that allows you to be an anonymous supporter. 

Download the press release here

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IMS Open Now
It’s My Shout: New Voices from Wales – Documentary CALL OUT

It’s My Shout and BBC Cymru Wales are on the lookout for 4 unique and unheard stories from across the country that relate to the rich and diverse culture in Wales. They want New Voices from Wales. Could it be yours?

The 4 successful candidates will be mentored and have their stories produced into 1 of our 4 documentaries, that will be broadcast on BBC Cymru Wales and iPlayer.

Age and experience isn’t a barrier and they are keen to hear voices that are often not heard in the mainstream media. It’s Your Voice. Your Story. Your Way!

If you have an interesting story and would like to apply for this opportunity, visit: www.itsmyshout.co.uk/docs

Current Deadline : Friday 2nd October (Extension may be considered)

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Cardiff Animation Festival 2020 goes global!

Cardiff Animation Festival has been bringing events to global audiences online since March this year, when they were forced to postpone their April festival due to Covid-19. Now they’re taking their festival programme online, bringing some of the best new animation from Wales and around the world to audiences in Cardiff and beyond throughout the rest of 2020. 

Lauren Orme, Festival Director of Cardiff Animation Festival, says:

we were so disappointed to have to postpone the festival back in March, but running online events has really re-energised us, and made it possible to bring our audiences together and keep people entertained while everyone’s been more isolated. We’re so excited to finally be able to bring our Cardiff Animation Festival 2020 events to adults, families, animators, and animation fans online for the rest of this year.

Cardiff Animation Festival will be bringing their full shorts programmes online from Saturday 24th October to Sunday 1st November. 118 world-class animated short films in competition will screen across seven themed programmes for adult audiences and two for children. The selection features unique voices and a diverse range of stories told by animated filmmakers from different backgrounds around the world, all eligible for the Cardiff Animation Festival Awards, which will be presented online on Sunday 1st November. The festival will showcase some of the best new Welsh animated shorts in their Welsh Work programme, a collaboration with Chapter Moviemaker. 

Welsh animator Simon Chong will join the festival live from LA on Saturday 24th October, where he now lives and works as a Director on Fox’s Bob’s Burgers after his fan-made Bob’s Burgers and Archer crossover animation got him noticed by show creator Loren Bouchard and landed him a job on one of the most-loved animated series on television around the world. Simon will give insight into his unconventional career path, and join Creative Mornings Cardiff’s Melin Edomwonyi for a live Q+A on what it’s really like to work on your favourite show.

The festival will invite audiences into the magical Moominvalley, with Episode Director Avgousta Zoureldi giving audiences of all ages a chance to learn more about the making of Gutsy Animations’ beautiful TV adaptation of writer-illustrator Tove Jansson’s classic stories about the Moomins. Viewers will be able to step into the Heart of Darkness, the world’s first sand-animated feature film, currently being made in Cardiff, with Director Gerald Conn taking audiences behind the scenes of the upcoming film adapted from Joseph Conrad’s classic novel. 

Industry panels will include Storytelling for Animation, chaired by award-winning animation writer and director Evgenia Golubeva, with a panel of creatives across animation discussing what makes a great animated story. The festival will nurture and platform neurodiverse animation talent, with a workshop programme for new and aspiring neurodiverse animators run in collaboration with Biggerhouse Film, inviting audiences to see brand new work and take part in a discussion on neurodiversity in animation on Friday 30th October. Animators will have a chance to gain professional feedback on their work-in-progress at a special online edition of Animation Grill, reignited by Gareth Cavanagh for Cardiff Animation Festival 2020 online. 

Opening the online shorts programmes will be a festival edition of Cardiff Animation Nights, the festival team’s free monthly independent animation screenings, on Friday 23rd October. Usually held in Cardiff’s Kongs bar, the festival has taken Cardiff Animation Nights online since April, with a total of over 1000 viewers from Cardiff and around the world tuning in to watch independent animated short films together apart and share their viewing experience through live chat and clapping hand emojis.

The festival team have been running events online since April 2020, made possible by funding from the Arts Council of Wales’s National Lottery Fund, Film Hub Wales as part of the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) and the National Lottery and FilmFeelsConnected, a UK-wide cinema season, supported by the National Lottery and BFI FAN. 

The Cardiff Animation Festival Climate Assembly in April supported by Clwstwr brought industry delegates from around the world together to ask ‘how can we make the animation industry greener?’ The festival partnered up with ScreenSkills for an industry masterclass In conversation with Lorraine Lordan giving insight into a career in animation direction, and an Inclusion in Animation panel discussion on how we can work towards a fairer and more diverse animation industry. Workshops facilitating creativity over the internet have included a Welsh-language introduction to modelmaking and animation with animator Laura Tofarides, and drawing workshops with Welsh artist Kyle Legall in partnership with Cinema Golau. Monthly online Cardiff Animation Nights have brought independent animated short films to existing and new audiences, bringing over 300 new subscribers to the Cardiff Animation YouTube channel, while new Cardiff Animation Kids screenings on Saturday mornings have introduced children to independent animation. 

Cardiff Animation Festival is funded by Arts Council Wales, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film Hub Wales as part of the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN), BFI NETWORK Wales, and Ymddiried through the Owen Edwards Scholarship Fund, and sponsored by Cloth Cat Animation, Picl Animation, Creative Europe Desk UK – Wales, the University of South Wales, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Jammy Custard Animation, the British Animation Awards, S4C and by the ScreenSkills Animation Skills Fund with contributions from UK animation productions.

To keep up to date, follow Cardiff Animation Festival on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and sign up to our mailing list for more updates and announcements as they are released.

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