Iris Prize: British director wins film award for first time

Toby Fell-Holden Image copyright Iris Prize

A British director has won the top prize at the leading international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender film festival for the first time.

The Toby Fell-Holden film Balcony won the Iris Prize at the Bafta-recognised awards, held in Cardiff, as well as £30,000 to make another short film.

Balcony, about a teenage girl who falls in love with an Afghan immigrant girl, also won the Best British award.

Judge Cheryl Dunye: "We felt that the director crafted a powerful film."

The Iris Prize, in its 10th year, is the largest LGBT short film prize in the world and was promoted to Bafta 'A' list festival status this year alongside Cannes and Sundance.

Thirty-five films from 17 different countries competed for the Iris Prize during five days of screenings and events in Cardiff.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Welsh Hollywood actor Michael Sheen visited the Iris Prize awards in Cardiff

Ms Dunye, chairwoman of the Iris Prize judging panel, said: "The film explored a myriad of social justice issues not only relevant to LGBT filmmaking but also with those that intersect with race, class, and gender issues in both the UK and the world today."

Iris Prize festival director Berwyn Rowlands added: "It has been an amazing time and this year has proven to be the tipping point in the festival's growth and awareness in its landmark 10th anniversary year, with a UK film winning the prize for the very first time against such strong international competition."

Iris Prize awards

  • Iris Prize: Balcony, directed by Toby Fell-Holden
  • Best British Award: Balcony, director Toby Fell-Holden
  • Best Feature Award: Real Boy, directed by Shaleece Haas
  • Best Performance Award: Tom Green for his role as Anthony and Kerry Fox who played Paige Levy in Downriver, directed by Grant Scicluna
  • Iris Prize Youth Award, Sign, directed by Andrew Keenan-Bolger

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