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Retail space in Cardiff transformed to host top film festival

A former Cardiff clothes shop has been transformed into a cinema, club and events space for the duration of this year’s Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival, the capital’s annual six-day celebration of LGBT+ stories and filmmaking.

The former H&M shop, situated upstairs in the Capitol Shopping Centre, has been vacant for some time, but the festival will bring it back to life with a series of events, including film screenings, workshops and drinks receptions. The main part of the Festival takes place in Cineworld, Mary Ann Street and anyone with an full festival pass, day pass or – from Friday to Sunday – a weekend pass can enter the “Pop-Up” venue, and enjoy some of the films produced by previous Iris Prize winners, not to mention a free drink courtesy of various Welsh suppliers.
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The festival is centred on the Iris Prize itself, which is still the world’s largest prize awarded to an LGBT+ short film; £30,000 and the opportunity to make another short film. 35 films from around the world are competing for the prize this year, with a further 15 films competing for Best British Short. The winner will be decided by an international jury of filmmakers and film fans which this year includes award-winning, chart-topping singer Heather Small!

Over 30 film makers and their guests from 20 countries including Brazil, Australia, USA, India and China will descend on the capital for the six day festival which is supported by a global network of 25 partner festivals in 20 different countries who nominate the films in competition. Iris has been named one of the Top 50 Film Festivals in the world for fourth year.

Regular Iris-goers will know we’ve had a long relationship with certain venues around the city,” said festival director Berwyn Rowlands. “And those relationships will continue, but this year we wanted to try something a little different, and create a temporary venue that’s welcoming, versatile and makes the most of this amazing space.

Once a year Iris makes Cardiff the LGBT+ movie capital of the world, with film fans joining us for six amazing days of watching films, talking about the business of making films, and of course finding time to party!

Carolyn Brownell, Marketing and Communications Manager FOR Cardiff, commented:

The six-day event showcases Cardiff to a worldwide audience and proves that Cardiff can deliver on the highest cultural level. The festival team have a strong commitment to our wonderful city and ensure they work with a variety of local businesses including Cardiff’s plethora of dedicated LGBT+ spaces. Having the main hub of the festival in Cineworld and a pop-up venue in one of the capital’s main shopping centres, ensures that visitors are drawn right into central Cardiff.

This is our second-year sponsoring Iris – who award the world’s largest LGBT+ film prize – and we’re delighted that this award-winning festival continues to take place in Cardiff as it has for the last 12 years.”

The 2018 Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival opened on Tuesday 9 October and runs until Sunday 14 October. For more information and booking visit www.irisprize.org

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