Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Thursday, 2 October 2008 12:51 UK

Dr Who writer backs gay film fest

Still from The Vicious and The Delicious
The Vicious and The Delicious is in the running for the Iris Prize

Russell T Davies, the writer who revived Doctor Who, is backing what organisers claim is the world's biggest gay and lesbian short film festival.

The Iris Prize Festival in Cardiff brings together film makers from around the world for a 25,000 prize.

Davies, who also wrote Channel 4's Queer as Folk, will present the winner with the prize at a ceremony at the Cineworld cinema on Saturday night.

The three-day festival will also host premieres for feature-length films.

The 30 films shortlisted for the Iris prize tackle a range of subjects including relationships, homophobia and sexual identity.

They last from three minutes to 35 and all will be screened during the festival which takes place at Cineworld and Chapter Arts Centre.

Some of the competing film makers are more excited to be meeting him (Russell T Davies) than possibly winning the prize
Berwyn Rowlands, festival organiser

The prize will allow the winner to make their next short film in the UK and will be judged by an international jury which includes last year's winner Dee Rees from the United States.

Davies, who also created Torchwood, starring gay actor John Barrowman, said: "This year's shortlist includes work from an astonishing 11 countries, which confirms that gay and lesbian film making is alive and kicking around the world!

"I'm thrilled that so many of the film makers are making the trip to the festival and I'm sure that Cardiff will be a very special place with Iris and all her friends."

Festival organiser and programmer Berwyn Rowlands, of the Cardiff-based Festivals Company, said: "It's great that somebody like Russell has agreed to present the Iris Prize this year.

"He's such an inspiration to so many people working in film and television. Some of the competing film makers are more excited to be meeting him than possibly winning the prize!"

According to gay equality campaigner Mike Smith, Wales is the perfect place to host the Iris Prize.

rom Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild
Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild will receive its European premier

"If Dafydd [from BBC series Little Britain] ventures out of Llanddewi Brefi he will meet two of the UK's gay MPs, Plaid's Adam Price and Labour's Chris Bryant.

"The capital is run by a gay man, Liberal Democrat council leader Rodney Berman and there are plenty of other gay councillors across Wales plus business leaders, journalists, trade union leaders, flagship arts organisation chiefs, public sector big wigs, TV executives, on-screen celebrities, medical consultants, an honorary consul - and film makers.

"And that's only the 'out' ones!" Said Mr Smith.

"Wales might be the gayest country in the world!

"I can think of no other country in the world, large or small, that has so many gay men and women in all walks of life. This is something progressive Wales can be really proud of."

The festival programme will also include parties, talks and the European and UK premieres of feature films with some memorable titles.

Director Todd Stephens' Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild is one of the six set to be screened. All are eligible for the inaugural Iris Prize Best Feature Award, where the winner will pick a 1,000 cash award.


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