The Iris Prize is now in its 11th year and once again will showcase some of the best LGBT+ short films from around the world. Since it began in 2007, the prize has allowed filmmakers from as far afield as Australia, Israel and Brazil to produce a brand new short film in the UK, with a current budget of £30,000, thanks to the support of the Michael Bishop Foundation.
Starring Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine, The Children’s Hour, is a groundbreaking film about lesbian love and its place in society. Though somewhat controversial at the time, the film helped usher filmmakers and film fanatics along the long road to acceptance. Released in 1961, the film is directed by William Wyler.
With a narrative spanning over a decade, director David Berry, making his feature film debut by transforming the story in to a musical, using a mix of original and famous tracks (by artists varying from Regina Spektor to Ne-Yo), that help document the increasing years and romantic entanglements of Benjamin Bentley.
The 1958 German drama Mädchen in Uniform, starring Lilli Palmer and Romy Schneider, details the story of Manuela von Meinhardis, who is sent away to an authoritarian boarding school at the command of an unsympathetic aunt. The movie, directed by Géza von Radványi, takes place in 1910-era Potsdam, and is a remake of the 1931 picture directed by distinguished German Karl Froelich.
Boys for Sale (売買ボーイズ) interviews several current and past sex workers about how they got into the sex industry, why they chose this work, their experiences as such and their life plans for once they move on from it – or, if they’re no longer working as such, what they’ve done since. The reasons are surprising and the stories are compelling – though at times, some are also bit sad and others even heartbreaking.
Being in the closet, struggling with self acceptance and worrying about what those close to you will think, is an emotional nightmare for anybody who has been through it. In Beach Rats director Eliza Hittman’s sophomore feature deals with coming out in a stylish, hyper masculine way that lays bare all the vulnerabilities of a character putting on a tough front to hide what he believes are temporary demons.
German director Reiner Werner Fassbinder’s 1975 Fox And His Friends (Faustrecht der Freiheit) is a work in the renowned auteur’s filmography that describes the struggle of upward social mobility as it intersects with the reality of being openly homosexual in West Germany. The central actors are director Fassbinder himself as Franz Bieberkopf, and Peter Chatel as the dashing Eugen Thiess.
Set in 1983, the film depicts the growing friendship between gay writer Andrés (Eduardo Martinez), who has been banned from writing due to writing a subversive anti-government book, and the revolutionary woman (Lola Amores) tasked with keeping an eye on him for three days while a major event takes place down in their village.
This Special Friendship (Les amitiés particulières) is Jean Deleannoy’s 1964 treatment of the Roger Peyrefitte novel with the same name. The French drama stars Didier Haudepin in the role of Alexandre and Francis Lacombrade as Georges, who fall into a disastrous and fated love in the stifling halls that echo of the old world.
Jésus is a lower middle-class teenager from the suburbs of Santiago del Chile going through a lot of changes while growing into a man. He maintains a tense and reticent relationship with his father, Hector who he sees only a few times a month. After Jésus’s mother dies, both father and son seem to struggle to get along. They begin reshaping a relationship whose foundation was never really solid.