Two Welsh filmmakers have expressed their joy at being shortlisted for this year’s Iris Prize.
Anna Winstone who directed Rhiw Goch (On the Red Hill) and Ian Smith, who made Go Home Polish, made the final 15th in the Best Short Film category.
For the first time in the history of the Cardiff LGBT + Film Festival, a film from the Netherlands received the award of £ 30,000.
Short Calf Muscle, by Victoria Warmerdam, was crowned the winner.
Organizers of the festival, now in its 14th year, said the money would allow the producer to make a new short film in Wales.
Winstone, 27, of Cardiff, said she was “screaming” when she learned her film had been shortlisted.
“Iris is such a big deal in the world of cinema and for our short film, where we borrowed a camera and only had a budget of £ 150, to have been selected was amazing, I thought they had made a error, ”Winstone said.
His documentary tells the story of a gay couple, Mike and Peredur, who inherit a house just outside Machynlleth, Powys, from an older gay couple George and Reg. History is from the house – their sanctuary.
This story came to Winstone by chance when she “stumbled upon the little Mike Parker article” while favorite “weird and wonderful” stories in the newspapers.
“I read it and thought it was amazing and I just saved it, fell in love with it,” she said.
She contacted Mike and traveled to central Wales, spending the day with the couple.
“When George and Reg’s relationship started, homosexuality was still illegal. For years and years, they went through such hardships to then be able to obtain a civil partnership.
“The law that said their relationship was criminal no longer existed and they had the right to be partners and to live legally, as such, home was their place of safety.”
Smith from Cardiff made Go Home Polish, a documentary about a photographer setting out on a 1,600 km walk back to his birthplace after seeing graffiti scrawled on an alley wall demanding ‘Go Home Polish’.
He said: “I had known Michal Iwanowski for some time, and when he saw the graffiti he was really angry and struggled, wondering what the house means? Where is the house? Me in Poland?
“And when he said he was going to walk from his home in Cardiff to Poland, it was an opportunity not to be missed, even though I didn’t know what movie I was making. Was he going to be attacked? Break a leg?
“I just knew the impact of xenophobia on Michal, it became a really big story that I wanted to do.”
He said being shortlisted was “a victory in itself”, but that it would have been “incredible” to win the award.
This year – the 14th of the festival – the award was sponsored by Film4, meaning all of the best shortlisted UK films were available to watch on All4.
The festival, which opened on Tuesday and continues until Sunday, was free and online for the first time due to coronavirus.
Winstone said she was “dumped” that the physical festival was not happening, but the fact that the films were online meant that “people who generally wouldn’t hear queer stories could be educated and discover the community. LGBT + “.
Smith agreed, saying the wider audience presented “a great opportunity.”