Drat, so many things to do, so little time to do them.
For the first time ever in like a million years, I missed the Iris Prize Festival. And as a queer cinephile who loves a good night ‘out, out’ that is an enormously epic fail for me.
Totally meant to support again this year, even though I’m flying solo in the corporate sense…no more freebies through PRISM!
I actually saw founder Berwyn Rowlands at the brilliant Barry Pride Launch and made a mental note to get tickets.
But online I quickly realised that this year’s Opening Night clashed with Fleabag at NTL Live – and nothing was going to keep me away from that gorgeous girl.
So Plan B saw me aim to rock up at Cineworld for the Stonewall event, ‘True to Life’. Two nights out, a late night in and a particularly busy day slaving over a hot computer soon scuppered that. Sorry Stonewall Cymru I’ll do an extra Schools Role Model talk as penance.
My no show is no reflection on Iris of course – it is outstanding. It celebrates LGBT+ film all year round – including this six-day international queer film festival in Cardiff every October.
It also awards the largest short film prize in the world – the prestigious £30,000 Iris Prize. And runs LGBT+ community outreach projects throughout the year in Wales & beyond.
Cut me some slack though, I have supported them religiously over the years. Not just around the corner in Cardiff either. I have even travelled to North Wales on a wet January evening, more than once, to attend events there.
And if anyone knows the South Wales to North Wales drive, that’s dedication. Four and a half hours with only the excitement of a Costa at Builth Wells halfway to see you through.
I also supported many an Iris in the Community Project. Attending screenings at the Wales Audit Office, Swansea Pride, and many, many more.
PRISM, the Welsh Government LGBT+ Network that, until recently I so successfully Co-Chaired, also hosted the Church in Wales and their Iris offering one balmy Summer evening at our HQ.
The Iris icing on the cake for us was our own little film, ‘In Conversation with PRISM.’ This was part of the Iris in the Community Project.
I’m the tired looking one at the end who sounds a bit serious and a bit monotone but at least I am recorded for posterity.
Thank you Mark and the Iris Team for giving us that unique opportunity.
So, as you can see I’m a huge fan. Although I swapped the delights of queer cinema for a night in front of a large glass of Red, I am delighted that, as always, the week proved to be the stunning celluloid success it always is.
Inclusion, tolerance and defiance were at the heart of this year’s Iris Prize Film Festival in direct response to the anti LGBT+ Birmingham School protests.
And as Berwyn, quite rightly, says: “I’m proud we do things differently in Wales.”
I’ll certainly drink to that. Ching, Ching! Speak soon.
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.
She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.