2010 Iris Prize winners announced

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Magnus Mork from Norway has scooped the prestigious 2010 Iris Prize, the Cardiff-based International Gay and Lesbian Short Film Prize, for his film The Samaritan.

Still taken from Magnus Mork's Iris Prize winning film, The Samaritan

Director Magnus Mork

The Iris Prize Festival was held over 6-9 October, with 30 shortlisted films for the Iris Prize being screened as well as seven of the latest gay and lesbian feature films, all of which enjoyed their UK premières at the festival.

Mork's The Samaritan focuses on the relationship between Knut, a middle-aged lonely man in desperate need of company, and Mirza - an illegal immigrant in need of any help he can get. The film touches upon the limits between taking care of and taking advantage of; being used or abused.

Rebecca Matthews, chair of the Iris Prize jury, commented: "The jury felt that The Samaritan demonstrated deft and nuanced filmmaking: it told such a big, urgent story of real relevance in a small film.

"It was so beautifully shot, and through the filmmaker's masterly technique took us as viewers on a journey through place, people and characters and allowed us to creep into inscrutable corners.

"It is a film about human fears, trust, betrayal and also about political and social machinations told through an intimate personal encounter. We want to see much, much more from this director."

It was also announced that the festival's award for best feature film was won by Nana Neul for My Friend From Faro, which carries a £1,000 cash prize and is selected by the Friends of Iris.

The Leader of Cardiff Council, Rodney Berman, announced that the Best UK Short was won by director Ana Moreno for her film Mosa. She will now be invited to be a member of the 2011 Iris Prize International Jury as a guest of the festival.

Production still from Ana Moreno's Mosa, which won the Best UK Short prize

All of the film makers who travelled to Wales were hosted by the Friends of Iris, individuals who open their homes to the makers of the 30 shortlisted films from as far a field as India, Israel, and the United States.

Learn more on the Iris Prize Festival on www.irisprize.org.

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