›› The 2010 IRIS Prize Short Film Festival - Programme 4 of 6. ‹‹
›› on this page: Yossi & Yasmin | At Night I was Beautiful | Bedfellows | To the Marriage of True Minds
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 3 ]  [ Programme 5 ]  [ Programme 6 ]

 ›› Yossi & Yasmin ±

 a short film by Nir Ne’Eman
 2008 | 7 mins | Israel
 present day voices of times past.
Yossi & Yasmin by Nir Ne’Eman This imaginative short details the thoughts of two old friends; one male, one female. It is a work told surreal style, as flashbacks of days spent with his high school friend Yasmin come to play on the mind of Yossi, as he wanders around his former and now derelict school. Previously screened as part of the 2009 Israeli work Fu*kin’ Different Tel Aviv, namely a feature that showcased a series of short films from different Tel Aviv based gay and lesbian filmmakers, here director Nir Ne’Eman delights in presenting Yasmin as a present day voice of times past, enabling best friends to recall their first crush, their first kiss, in this well played homage to adolescent yearnings, friendship and sexual identity.
 starring: Tom Gershon, Tomer Gloskinus, Ben Ravid, Nuria Vital and Jonni Zicoltz.
 ›› check out the promo video.
Celluloid Sexuality - gay / lesbian. 
Nudity - strictly from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 3 stars. 

 ›› At Night I was Beautiful ±

 a short film by Steven Wilsey
 2010 | 9 mins | US
 a telling work on life after sex for sale.
At Night I was Beautiful by Steven Wilsey Directed by Steven Wilsey, this short docudrama details the true story of a young New York freshman who rather than study acting, dedicated his early years to the sex for sale trade. It is a poignant narrative that is told as much through re-enactments, as it is traditional interview fashion, constantly switching between monochrome and colour in the process. That nothing is really new here, is testament to how many fictional works are based on real life feelings of hustling style adoration, acts of control and the desire for a connection, at any price. Yet it is the honesty of this piece that hits home, as Steve Drum relates his fear of taking an HIV test, if not his worry that "I’ve learned nothing and if given the chance, I would go back and do the entire thing over again." A telling work on life indeed.
 starring: Steve Drum as himself and Derek Calibre as Lewis / Matt.
Celluloid Sexuality - gay. 
Nudity - strictly from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 3 stars. 

 ›› Bedfellows ±

 a short film by Pierre Stefanos
 2010 | 15 mins | US
 all the possibilities of you, romantic style.
Bedfellows by Pierre Stefanos Even seasoned romantics may get to feeling love drenched in this emotional ode to gay affection. For this is the ever so sweet story of Bobby; a twenty-something New Yorker forever searching for the one. Returning to a gay bar that had previously been the stage for his broken heart, it isn’t long before a hook-up with a cutie named Jonathan results in close encounters of the homosexual kind and perhaps something more thereafter, as Bobby dreams of what his life could be with this new man in his life, or rather his bed. It is a thirty year fantasy that imagines the two moving in together, getting married, adopting children, raising a family and of gracefully growing old in each others arms. Only is Bobby set for a rude awakening as the reality dawns in the morning, after the night before? Like a number of its fellow nominees, this piece opens with a commentary, yet here the voice of Tom Gualtieri continues throughout, a narration that I dare say will delight some, only to infuriate others, even if such words are spoken in pure children's fairy tale fashion. Frankly it’s superfluous, as this beautifully rendered story speaks for itself, that of the joys, pains, laughter and tears that go hand-in-hand with a long-term relationship. For this is a short within a short, that of a lovingly executed work from writer and director Pierre Stefanos that showcases and in the words of Gerald McCullouch of The Moment After fame, "all the possibilities of you," romantic style. Frankly, need more be said?
 starring: Paul Caiola / Bobby, Bret Shuford / Jonathan and Tom Gualtieri as The Narrator
 with Kevin Duda / Bartender, Nikki Ghisel / Jenna, birth mother, Bill Saunders / Jenna's Doctor,
 Justin Bannister / Damian age 7, Michael Bannister / Damian age 13, Terence Primus /
 Damian age 21, Sarah Chen / Li age 8, Bethany Nelson / Li age 14, Justine Brown /
 Li age 24, Joseph Moscato / Bobby's best friend, amongst a cast of many players.
 dedicated: "For Jonathan and an act of kindness."
 ›› check out the promo video.
Celluloid Sexuality - gay. 
Nudity - strictly from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 

 ›› To the Marriage of True Minds ±

 a short film by Andrew Steggall.
 2010 | 11 mins | UK
 a poignant political piece on love and and human rights.
To the Marriage of True Minds by Andrew Steggall This bilingual short tells the story of Hayder, an Iraqi who having escaped persecution in Baghdad, is interviewed subject to his request for political asylum. Reminded of the changing face of post-invasion Iraq, Hayder’s only thoughts lie in a reunion with his partner Falah, courtesy of a sonnet by Shakespeare and a mysterious paper boat. Only will Hayder and the immigration service be a marriage of true minds? Inspired by Shakespeare’s Sonnet #116, this moving work is an acute reminder that the homosexual freedoms and human rights taken for granted in so many countries of the world, are not universal. It is a work that intercuts the present with the past, namely a series of flashbacks of the two men as boys and as adults, during their illegal passage to London on a cargo ship, a stormy ride that sees Falah, a political writer and poet, comfort Hayder with Shakespearean words of love. It is a journey that is set to continue, as Hayder undertakes an increasingly frantic search for his partner in the Arabic communities of West London. A poignant political piece from director Andrew Steggall, one that concludes with a striking visual representation of the fate that awaits those found to be engaging in acts of a sexuality, prohibited in Islam.
 starring: William El Gardi / Hayder, Amir Boutrous / Falah, Salem Al-Gazaz / Young Hayder,
 Laith Al-Eissa / Young Falah, Jane Bertish / Immigration Officer
 and Raad Rawi as The Interpreter.
Celluloid Sexuality - gay. 
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 
 And now over to the promotional footage...
2010 IRIS Prize Short Film Montage   Yossi & Yasmin clip   Bedfellows
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