A short film that tells the story of a
closeted Hasidic Jewish man living in Los Angeles has won the 2019
Out writer and producer Russell T.
Davies (Queer as Folk, Doctor Who, Years and Years) announced
Black Hat by US director Sarah Smith as the winner.
Thirty-six LGBT short films competed at
the six-day Iris Film Festival in Cardiff, the capital of Wales.
Countries represented for the first time at the festival included
Peru, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and North Macedonia.
The Iris Prize includes a £30,000
prize, which will allow Smith to create another short film in the UK.
Hat shone a light on
an often unseen community in a sensitive, tender, and positive way,
without casting judgment,” jury chair Jake Graf said. “We found
the lead charming and likeable, the film visually stunning, and
responded well to this perfectly crafted and concise work of art.
Accomplished, enjoyable, and captivating.”
Alfie Dale's My Brother
is a Mermaid won the
Best British award. The film is described as “a magic-realist story
about a trans teen living in a dilapidated seaside community.”
Dale directs a remarkable cast that convey a beautiful blend of
emotions.” the jury said. “The viewer is pulled into the intimate
world of Kuda, who watches as his sibling Kai journeys through
finding the confidence to embrace their non-binary identity in a
small seaside town where standing out often means being alienated.
Alfie’s direction is sensitive and compassionate, pulling at the
heartstrings without ever being overly sentimental. He takes us on a
journey of character growth and development across twenty minutes
that more accomplished directors too often fail to do in two hours.
Quite simply outstanding.”