The winners of the largest LGBT+ short film prize in the world, The Iris Prize, have been announced, with Baba winning both the Iris Prize 2021 and the Best British Award.
The Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival is a six-day celebration of LGBT+ film which takes place annually in Cardiff. This year, for only the second time in the festival’s fifteen-year history, one film was awarded both the Iris Prize and the Best British Award. Baba, directed by Sam Abor and Adam Ali, has won the pair both a £30,000 prize and an exclusive screening of their film in the deluxe John Barry Theatre at Pinewood Studios. The award money will enable Abor and Ali to make a new LGBT+-themed short film in Wales.
Described by Rasheed Bailey, Chair of the Jury, as ‘a skilfully constructed film that speaks to oppression, acceptance and the strength of community,’ Baba tells the story of a queer Libyan teenager who dreams of coming to Britain. ‘The direction is impressive, coherent and offers moments of self-reflection whilst transmitting courageousness and pride in one’s identity. The issues explored are systemic issues that affect countless others, but the story is portrayed in a hopeful way which encourages a call to action to continue the fight for equality,’ said Bailey.
Two highly commended titles for the Iris Prize 2021 were God’s Daughter Dances (dir. Sungbin Byun) and We Will Become Better — Sansara (dir. Andzej Gavriss). The two highly commended films for the Best British Award were Cwch Deilen (dir. Efa Blosse-Mason) and Pop (dir. Margo Roe).
Other films awarded prizes throughout the Iris Prize 2021 ceremony included Rebel Dykes (dir. Hari Shanhan and Siân A. Williams, prod. Siobhan Fahey), winner of the Iris Prize Best Feature Award, and S.A.M (dir. Lloyd Eyre-Morgan and Neil Ely), winner of the Iris Prize Youth Jury Award for Best Short. S.A.M was premiered at last year’s virtual festival. Udo Kier won the Iris Prize Best Performance in a Male Role in a Feature Film Award (Swan Song) and Senan Kara won the Iris Prize Best Performance in a Female Role in a Feature Film Award (Not Knowing). The Community Award went to Lonely Cowgirl (dir. Lydia Garnett), whilst the Micro Short Award was given to Amen (dir. Erick Edwardson).
The winners of all Iris Prize 2021 award categories were announced at a special ceremony on Saturday the 9th of October, which is available to watch online now.
Iris On The Move, the touring outreach initiative of the Iris Prize, begins in January 2022 and will offer special screenings and workshops across the UK. The Iris Prize Festival will return to Cardiff in October 2022.
To find out more about the Iris Prize 2021, visit the festival’s website.