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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 October 2007, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
Gay film festival's 25,000 prize
Still from The Gay Bed and Breakfast of Terror
The Gay Bed and Breakfast of Terror has its European premiere
A film festival featuring what the organisers claim is largest ever prize for a gay and lesbian short film is opening in Cardiff.

The inaugural Iris Prize Festival will screen the 30 films shortlisted for the prize, worth 25,000, and host premieres for feature-length films.

Talks, debates, workshops and parties will also be held at Chapter Arts Centre and Cineworld.

The prize winner will be announced on the festival's last day, on Saturday.

The prize will allow the winner to make their next short film in the UK.

A jury, including Daily Telegraph assistant editor Andrew Pierce and designer Angela Gidden as well as film-makers from the UK and abroad, will chose the successful entrant.

This is a prize that unites a global network of film festivals... to bring together the most promising new talent from around the world
Festival director Berwyn Rowlands

Iris Prize patron and Cardiff-born actor Matthew Rhys, who stars in American TV drama Brothers and Sisters, praised those shortlisted and added: "I'm confident the international jury will find it difficult choosing an overall winner.

"However, we should remember that all the film-makers who've reached the finals in Cardiff are already winners for getting this far."

Festival director Berwyn Rowlands said talent from at least half of the films shortlisted were flying in from all over the world to attend the event.

"This is a prize that unites a global network of film festivals located in LA, Sydney, Manila, Hong Kong and Dublin to bring together the most promising new talent from around the world," he said.

Programme highlights include the Welsh premiere of The Bubble, and the European premieres of Holding Trevor and The Gay Bed and Breakfast of Terror.

A producer's forum will also be staged, examining how to successfully produce and market gay content, and a writer's session focusing on writing gay characters for straight and gay audiences.



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