›› The 2010 IRIS Prize Short Film Festival - Programme 3 of 6. ‹‹
›› on this page: Gayby | Cannibals | Love and Other Red Spot Specials | Inflatable Swamp | 306 | Dear Dad, Love Maria | Masala Mama
the IRIS International Gay and Lesbian Short Film Prize
Born out of the desire to create an annual international short film prize that would recognise, celebrate and promote the gay, lesbian and transgendered moving image, one that would also promote tolerance, acceptance and further understanding of the art of filmmaking itself, the IRIS Prize is now recognised as one of the leading LGBT cinematic events of the year, held right in the heart of Wales.
The 4th edition of the IRIS International Film Festival took place in Cardiff, between the 6th – 9th October, 2010. In an unprecedented move, Peccadillo Pictures thereafter made almost all of the thirty short film nominees available to view online for one month via their Video on Demand service, thereby creating the first ever LGBT short film festival streaming viewing experience.
During this period, UK and Ireland viewers were able to vote for their favourite short film, resulting with Peccadillo Pictures' very own Public Short Film Prize awarded to the best gay and lesbian work with the most votes, together with the offer of a major distribution deal.
The competition as ever featured a mix of styles and narratives, with many a traditional theme no-where to be found. Instead on offer were shorts with a twist in their tale, a poignant political message to be found or stories in which few, if any words were spoken, leaving a moving score to emotionally convey the unspoken feelings of its players.
The following are summary reviews to each of the thirty works aired, listed in the order of the six programmes in which they were VOD presented, with promotional footage featured at the bottom of the page. Enjoy.
›› see also IRIS [ Programme 1 ]  [ Programme 2 ]  [ Programme 4 ]  [ Programme 5 ]  [ Programme 6 ]

 ›› Gayby ±

 a short film by Jonathan Lisecki
 2010 | 11 mins | US
 the ups and downs of making a baby, the old fashioned way.
Gayby by Jonathan Lisecki Essentially a two-way conversation, this meaningful work from writer and director Jonathan Lisecki places the spotlight on old college friends Jenn and Matt; a not-so-close thirty-something pair who have not seen each other on a regular basis since Matt moved to Brooklyn. But that was in the days when he was going steady with Tom; a long-term relationship that ended with him being left on the shelf again, much like forever singleton Jenn. Only now they want to raise a child together, having decided being broke, to do it the old fashioned way. Only is gay boy Matt up for the love making experience? As far removed from the played for laughs Will & Grace styled sitcom outing of making a baby as you can get, this earnest work is more about emotional intimacy, rather than the physical kind, having concerned itself with the ups and downs of life in the form of friendships made, lost and rekindled. The result is a work in which the we’ll make a baby scenario is but a subplot to the poignant themes of friendship, loneliness and the desire for company.
 starring: Jenn Harris as Jenn and Matthew Wilkas as Matt.
 ›› check out the promo video.
Celluloid Sexuality - gay / straight. 
Nudity - strictly from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 3 stars. 

 ›› Cannibals ±

 a short film by Jaunma Carrillo
 2009 | 19 mins | Spain
 close encounters of the homosexual kind.
Cannibals by Jaunma Carrillo Don’t let the title of this short put you off. For this striking monochrome piece bears no relation to acts of cannibalism or for that matter, its group orgy styled publicity photo. Rather this is a work that in true Julián (Raging Sun, Raging Sky) Hernández style is delivered laconic fashion, with the only sounds to be heard being the moaning of men engaged in acts of man sex. It is one in which the camera forms the eyes of a mysterious stranger who roams a beautiful woodland by day, one that is but an outdoor cruising ground with men seemingly to be found behind every tree, at every bush, ever on the lookout for company, for sex. Passing by endless cuties, the question beckons just what this unseen player is after? Rampant sex or some voyeuristic styled titillation? The answer is one that will surprise many, as this twist in its tale production arrives with a lush end credit sequence that puts everything you saw beforehand, into prospective. Even if what was seen beforehand was I dare say, played too long for some, perhaps not long enough for others, being a series of close encounters of the homosexual kind. Enough said.
 starring: a cast of many players, only to list the key ones, would give the game away.
Celluloid Sexuality - gay. 
Nudity - letting it all hang out, oral style. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 

 ›› Love and Other Red Spot Specials ±

 a short film by Lauren Anderson
 2008 | 5 mins | Australia
 shopping for love, trans townie style.
Love and Other Red Spot Specials by Lauren Anderson "On a planet called Earth, in a country called Australia, there is a small town. In the small town there are 9,684 residents" and one of them just happens to be sweet transvestite Cecilia Gloria Chesterfield. And so we are told by the voice behind this story, that of the tale of a trans townie who feels somewhat unappreciated by the locals, apart that is from the sole person who sees her in the way she desires. Namely Evan, the local superstore manager, but a man who prefers to eye Cecilia up through the security of the CCTV system, promoting the question of just what has a girl to do, to gain the attention of her man? With a tagline that reads "the supermarket of life is full of surprises," this voiceover driven work is played for romance from the onset, even if star of the show Ian 'Paddy' McIvor as Cecilia could do with more than a few trans styled beauty tips from the girls. Written and directed by Lauren Anderson, this compassionate piece is apparently based on a true story. Talk about shopping for love.
 starring: John Flaus / The Voice, Ian 'Paddy' McIvor / Cecilia Gloria Chesterfield, Ray Tiernan / Evan, Shane Nagle / The Policeman,
 Lola Howard / Checkout Chick, Jarrod Wright / Fruit and Veg Guy, Jordan Hoffman / Grocery Guy and Amir Rezaei,
 Stuart Wilson and Michael Walsh as the Shelf Stackers, amongst a cast of many players.
Celluloid Sexuality - transgender. 
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 2+ stars. 

 ›› Inflatable Swamp ±

 a short film by William Feroldi
 2010 | 13 mins | UK
 the naked desire for human contact.
Inflatable Swamp by William Feroldi In a short film in which clothes for the lead are not required, writer and director William Feroldi shines his spotlight on homosexual intimacy in the form of Matt; a gay man in his late twenties who has a unique way of remembering the men in his life and yes, there’s a clue in the title. Only in a work heavy in full frontal photography, Feroldi's cinematic style notably differs to the like of Julián (Broken Sky) Hernández and others who showcase male nudity with such homo-eroticism. Thankfully into a raw mix, Feroldi takes time out to promote the safe-sex message, along the way adding a nice touch at the end, one that gives rise to the question of whether there could be more to Matt’s latest liaison, than just sex. Only if there is a connection, then it is between the two men and certainly not with the audience, in this laconic testament to the naked desire for human contact.
 starring: Francis Beraud, Edwin Ray and Paul Huntley.
 dedicated: "To Steve, for always being there for me."
Celluloid Sexuality - gay. 
Nudity - letting it all hang out. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 

 ›› 306 ±

 a short film by Elliot London
 2010 | 10 mins | US
 just how well do you know your partner?
306 by Elliot London A recurring theme of the 2010 IRIS shorts has been films of few, if any words and this beautifully rendered work from the pen of co-writer / director Elliot London perfectly exemplifies the art of silent story telling. And it all centres around Eric; a college student who seemingly has it all; the looks, the intellect and the love of a long-term companion. Only just how well do you know your partner? For this is a work that arrives with a twist in its tale, as the trust and betrayal narrative turns the tables on a day in the life of a seemingly normal student. Along the way, co-writer Gregory Phelan provides his audience with subtle hints here and there, gradually building up to the surprise conclusion. It is one that as with all twist endings, some may have already guessed, whilst to others the revelation can only add to the overall enjoyment of a well-executed piece that in this instance, is lovingly accompanied by the emotional piano score of Mark Chiat, one that perfectly conveys the unspoken feelings of lead actor Brian Estel. As a dialogue free work, this compelling short packs quite an expressive punch. Need more be said?
 starring: Brian Estel as Eric and Scott Lynch-Giddings as Mr Smith,
 amongst a cast of many players.
 official site: www.londonproductionsonline.com
Celluloid Sexuality - gay. 
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 

 ›› Dear Dad, Love Maria ±

 a short film by Vince Mascoli
 2009 | 4 mins | US
 the poignant story of a letter of transgendered love.
Dear Dad, Love Maria by Vince Mascoli From both the directorial and artistic pen of Vince Mascoli comes this poignant story of a letter of transgendered love. For on the eve of her male to female sex-change operation, transsexual Maria finds the time to write to her disapproving father, heartfelt words that ask not for acceptance; rather sent for knowledge and understanding. In short, in a moving mix that includes the telling line "you have to understand that my body isn’t yours" Mascoli delivers an emotional life story, cartoon style, complete with a commentary that speaks of a brother who doesn‘t want another sister, a father angered at having lost his son and of an individual having the courage to change into who they want to be. Seldom have so many transsexual home truths been spoken in such a short space of time, even if the moving score by Evelyn (Sandy’s theme) Evelyn, does at times overpower the narration, as beautiful as the music be.
 starring: the voice of Natalie Cake as Maria.
Celluloid Sexuality - transgender. 
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 

 ›› Masala Mama ±

 a short film by Michael Kam
 2010 | 8 mins | Singapore
 a tale of villains, superheros and stereotypical gay visibility.
Masala Mama by Michael Kam From writer and director Michael Kam comes this charming tale of friendship and fantasy. Set in a small corner shop, a young child steals a superhero comic book as inspiration for his clear artistic talent. Only when his father(?), uncle(?), employer(?) - take you pick, finds the boy drawing cartoons instead of making money the cardboard packing way, a brutal hand is delivered to both the child and to the limp wristed styled gay shopkeeper. Only has this villain met his match, superhero fashion? In short, this simple but joyous work is but a showcase for the emotions of love, friendship and the heartfelt desire to see others better themselves in life. It is a work in which the true hero of the boy is clearly defined in his drawings, that of a set of superhero sketches that give way to a wonderful Batman and Robin styled fantasy conclusion, complete with the trademark pows and booms. A wham of a delight, even if its stereotypical approach to gay visibility is SO dated.
 starring: Mohan Vellayan as The Shopkeeper / Hero, Vernon Ng as The Boy / Sidekick, Oh Eng Soon
 as The Old Man / Villain and and Narainda Subramaniam as The Policeman.
 ›› check out the promo video.
Celluloid Sexuality - gay. 
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 2+ stars. 
 And now over to the promotional footage...
2010 IRIS Prize Short Film Montage   Masala Mama   Gayby
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