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Iris Prize Festival marks fifth birthday

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Laura Chamberlain Laura Chamberlain | 11:57 UK time, Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Iris Prize Festival, the international gay and lesbian short film festival that has adopted Cardiff as its home, celebrates its fifth birthday in 2011.

To mark the occasion the opening night of this year's festival will see the European première of the film August, which is directed by former Iris Prize winner Eldar Rapaport. August is one of eight new feature films in the festival programme alongside the 30 shortlisted short films vying for the prestigious Iris Prize.

Actor Murray Bartlett in Eldar Rapaport's feature film August

Actor Murray Bartlett in Eldar Rapaport's feature film August. The New York based actor will introduce the film at the gala screening on Wednesday 5 October

Valued at £25,000, the Iris Prize is the world's largest short film prize. What's more, the prize is more than just a trophy or certificate; it supplies the winning film-maker with the funds, support and guidance to make a new film.

Organisers have described this year's festival programme as the strongest line-up in the festival's history. Films will be screened at the Chapter Arts Centre in Canton and the Cineworld cinema in the city centre.

Here are a few stills from some of the shorts on show to whet your appetite:

Still taken from Maria Bock's short film  Bald Guy (Skallamann). Image © Maria Bock

Still taken from Maria Bock's short film Bald Guy (Skallamann). Image © Maria Bock

Still taken from Hold On Tight by Anna Rodgers. Image © Anna Rodgers

Still from Hold On Tight by Anna Rodgers. Image © Anna Rodgers

Image from Jon Stanford's Lost Tracks © Jon Stanford

Image from Jon Stanford's Lost Tracks. Image © John Stanford

David Fitchew as the Colonel in The Colonel's Outing by Christopher Banks. Photo by Vince Pol and courtesy of the artist

David Fitchew as the Colonel in The Colonel's Outing by Christopher Banks. Photo by Vince Pol and courtesy of the director

Still from Ric Forster's Thinking Straight. Image © the artist

Still from Ric Forster's Thinking Straight. Image © Ric Forster

This year the 13 strong jury is chaired by Mary FitzPatrick, an independent Diversity Advisor who has worked for the BBC and the UK Film Council.

Other jury members include Pembrokeshire-born author Sarah Waters; the 2010 Iris Prize winner Magnus Mork; Ana Moreno, who won the Iris Prize Best UK short film in 2010, plus filmmakers Amarjeet Singh and Carl Medland. Their feature film, The Adored, will close the 2011 festival.

The 2011 Iris Prize Festival begins on Wednesday 5 October and runs until Saturday 8 October. Visit the Iris Prize Festival website for more information and to see the full line-up of films on show over the four days.

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