A short film that tells the story of a closeted Hasidic Jewish man living in Los Angeles has won the 2019 Iris Prize.

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.

Black 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.”

Director 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.”

“Alfie 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.”