The Iris Prize Festival is a prestigious £30,000 award presented at an annual six-day festival, on Cardiff, celebrating all things LGBTQ+ film.
The event was hosted by ScreenSpace and MetFilm School Admissions Executive, Rasheed Bailey who met Berwyn when he attended the Iris Festival in October of last year.
During the masterclass, the two discuss the prize, the LGBTQ+ film scene, and tips for upcoming filmmakers.
THE IRIS PRIZE
Established in 2006, The Iris Prizes is the world’s largest LGBTQ+ film festival, an achievement Berwyn is incredibly proud of. “Iris grew very quickly! We didn’t know how fast it was growing. In 2006 we had 1500 submissions, but in 2018 we had almost 10,000!”
“I think that’s down to two things. Firstly, it’s the gay thing. Really, It’s like the mafia, there is a global gay network. The second is that social media at the time was just right. It was ready for us to use it to reach people who were creating content.”
10 short films have been made using the prize money, with the 11th in production.
ON THE LGBTQ+ FILM LANDSCAPE
Berwyn feels the film industry is finally taking long overdue positive step welcomes these positive changes. “I’m excited by the way things are changing. I can remember a time when people genuinely believed only lesbians should make lesbian films.”
LGBTQ+ labels are transitional and Iris strives to be a reflection of that. “With Iris, it’s film first, gay second. Maybe other LGBTQ+ festivals are the other way around. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but at least three of our winners have not identified as LGBTQ, which I love because it’s about storytelling.”
FOR UPCOMING FILMMAKERS
“You really need someone who can tell you no. If you bounce out of college and hear no for the first time, it’s going to hit you like a brick wall.”
Berwyn notes that it’s important to question yourself and do the hard work. “Ask yourself who your film is for and the answer shouldn’t be everyone. Be authentic, you need research. That’s true of any film.”
Submissions for the Iris Prize 2019 are now open.