The Prix Iris 2021: what are the LGBT+ film awards, which short films have won and where can I watch them?

Channel 4 presents the best British shorts from the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival, for three consecutive nights.

Excerpt from the short film “Baba”

The Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival is an annual celebration of LGBT+ film based in Cardiff.

Over its 16-year history, the festival has become a leading voice in honoring LGBT+ short films and is considered an important event in the UK festival calendar.

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As a BAFTA qualifying festival for British film, it is also home to the £30,000 Iris Prize film prize, which gives the deserving winner the chance to create and finance their next short film.

Which award-winning LGBT+ films have been shortlisted?

The 15 shortlisted films of 2021 explore the breadth of the British LGBTQ+ experience, with stories ranging from intense subjects of drug addiction and workplace bullying, to lighthearted experiences of first love and unleashing your inner drag king.

As title sponsor of the festival’s Best British Short Film competition, Film4 owns the broadcast and streaming rights to all 15 films.

Film4 has a three-year sponsorship deal with the Iris Prize LGBT+ film festival, which kicked off in 2020.

The shortlisted films were watched free by UK audiences for the first time in 2020. They received half a million views on All4 and half a million viewers on Channel 4.

The latest shortlisted movies have been grouped into three different themes, and these themes will be available to watch for three consecutive days, in March.

The themes are: dark days, smiles and resilience.

“Dark Days” consists of five films, which take a long and unflinching look at the darker side of LGBTQ+ life. Titles include: Factory Talk, Baby Boy, Pop, Inertia and Birthday Boy.

The second “Smile” theme features five films with inspiring stories about LGBT+ experiences of life and love, through whimsical and magical animations, touching dramas and romantic dates. Movie titles in this category are Cwch Deilen (Leaf Boat), Silver and Gold, Dragged Up, From A to Q, and SAM.

“Resilience” is the third theme, and these five films focus on surviving and thriving no matter what your situation. Movie titles in this category are Lesbian, Three Letters, Acrimonious, Baba, and Split Sole.

The shortlist displays a diverse cast of characters, from a transgender teenager to Mr. Gay Wales (Paul Davies).

One film in particular, “Baba”, won both the main Iris award and the British Short Award. The film shows the struggles of Britannia, a gay Libyan teenager, as he grapples with whether to stay or flee his beloved homeland.

Still from the short film, ‘Cwch Deilen’ (Leaf Boat)

Two other popular films are Cwch Deilen (Leaf Boat) and Pop.

Cwch Deilen (Leaf Boat) is a Welsh-language animated short that tells the story of Heledd and Celyn, as they enter into a new relationship. It depicts the internal emotions of the characters through visuals of stormy seas.

Pop is a story about gender identity and social expectations. Young character Jack befriends a convict he begins to see as a father figure, hoping to understand his own masculinity.

Excerpt from the short film, Pop

How to watch the Iris Prize Best British Shorts?

The 15 LGBTQ+ films listed above will be shown on Channel 4 and streamed on All4, for three consecutive days – starting Monday, March 28.

Tuesday, March 29 – ‘Dark Days’ at 1:50 – 3:15

Factory Talk, Baby Boy, Pop, Inertia and Birthday Boy.

Wednesday March 30 – ‘Smile’ at 2:10 – 3:30

Cwch Deilen (Leaf Boat), silver and gold, dragged up, from A to Q and SAM.

Thursday March 31 – ‘Resilience’ at 1h50 – 2h55

Lesbian, Three Letters, Acrimonious, Baba and Split Sole.