Iris Prize LGBTQ Film Festival announces shortlist and jury for Best Feature

Students from the University of South Wales will choose the winning film.


Words: Alastair James; pictures: Provided (Still from Barrio Boy, directed by Dennis Shinners)

The Iris LGBTQ Film Festival has announced the short list of films for the Best Feature category as well as the jury which will be selecting the winning film.

12 features from 10 countries have been shortlisted for the 2022 Festival, set to take place in person in Cardiff from 11 – 16 October.

A jury of six students from the University of South Wales (USW) Film and TV School Wales course will mull over the shortlisted films and decide an ultimate winner. 

Films come from the USA, Canada, Poland, Norway, Australia, Italy, Lebanon, Ireland, the Philippines, and Thailand, and cover coming of age and coming out; family obligations; small-town scandal; sex, lies, and cold-blooded murder.

Barrio Boy, directed by Dennis Shinners

Making its world premiere at the festival will be Barrio Boy, directed by Iris alumnus Dennis Shinners. He has previously been shortlisted for Area X in 2007's inaugural Iris Prize festival, and for the short version of this feature, in 2013. Dennis is also a member of this year’s international – Iris Prize – jury.

Other features include Before I Change My Mind, director Trevor Anderson's feature debut and So Vam, made by Alice Maio Mackay, a 16-year-old Trans woman from Australia.

Who We Love, directed by Graham Cantwell

Six-time IFTA nominated Who We Love also joins the shortlist. It was adapted from the short film Lily, which was shortlisted for the Iris Prize in 2017. 

The Feature Films for 2022 are:

Barrio Boy | Dir. Dennis Shinners | USA
Before I Change My Mind | Dir. Trevor Anderson | Canada
Elephant | Dir. Kamil Krawczycki | Poland
Fire Island | Dir. Myles Clohessy | USA
Hello World | Dir. Kenneth Elvebaak | Norway
Lonesome | Dir. Craig Boreham | Australia
Mascarpone | Dir. Alessandro Guida | Italy
SIRENS | Dir. Rita Baghdadi | USA/Lebanon
So Vam | Dir. Alice Maio Mackay | Australia
Who We Love | Dir. Graham Cantwell | Ireland
Metamorphosis | Dir. Jose Enrique Tiglao | Philippines
Yes or No | Dir. Saratsawadee Wongsomphet | Thailand

So Vam, directed by Alice Maio Mckay

Berwyn Rowlands, Iris Prize Film Festival Director, says: "The feature films we are presenting to you as part of our Iris Prize Festival this year promise to entertain, to engage, and to give the audience plenty of food for thought. 

"We are particularly pleased to be screening – and hosting one world premiere – feature films made by Iris Prize alumni. Two of the films are based on previously shortlisted Iris Prize film. We hope you will be as proud of the Iris legacy as we are."

Thomas Watkins, Isabella Bown, Alexander P Griffiths, Luca Bergonzini, Cai Barnard-Dadds, and Arwen Harrison make up this year's jury and will be awarding in the Best Feature, Best Performance in a Male Role (sponsored by Attitude), and Best Performance in a Female Role (sponsored by DIVA)

Tom Ware from USW, says he's proud of his students and adds that "This is another excellent opportunity provided for them to spend time with accomplished and award-winning filmmakers as they move from university life to working in the film industry. 

"It also builds on USW’s successful partnership with Iris that has already created many other opportunities for our students over the last few years," he continues.

"Being on the jury of a world-class film festival is definitely one for the CV and will undoubtedly give them a great start in their chosen screen career, whether it’s directing, editing, or scriptwriting," he also says.

The festival returns in person from 11 – 16 October. The box office opens on 16 September, with full festival passes, day tickets, and weekend tickets available.

Full details about Iris Prize can be found at irisprize.org and tickets can be booked here.