What lurks within the darker alleys of Cardiff this Autumn? The LGBT film community has been exploring the fear factor in a bigger way than ever with zombies, exorcisms, Outback psychos, and bestial transformations which are all represented during this year’s Iris Prize festival in Cardiff, running Wednesday 12th to Sunday 16th October.
The opening night sees the world premiere of short film Kill Pill, directed by Manchester-based filmmaker Lloyd Eyre-Morgan, where events at a remote house party threaten to create murder on the dance floor as partygoers become infected with a cannibalistic feeding frenzy. Not the best time for little sister Molly to go missing. The film stars a young British cast including world parcourt stuntman champion Pip Andersen (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Liam Boyle (TV’s Spooks, Land Girls), George Sampson (Britain’s Got Talent winner, Waterloo Road, Emmerdale) and Jo Woodcock (TV’s Land Girls, Death In Paradise). YouTube star Robin Armstrong makes his acting debut and there’s a cameo appearance from Shameless actor Jody Latham.
Winner of both Iris Prize Best of British Award and Iris Prize Youth Jury Award for Best Short in 2015, Lloyd has recently completed post-production on the film at Pinewood Studios. Along with producer/ writer Neil Ely, Kill Pill is being developed into a feature.
In addition, Till Kleinert, whose darkly disturbing feature debut Der Samurai (2014) successfully played London’s FrightFest and many other international horror festivals, is a past Iris Prize winner. His winning short film from 2007, Cowboy, is being screened again on Friday 14th October and he is giving a talk about his career during the Producers Forum on Friday.
This year’s festival continues that tradition with a number of horror-themed short films in competition for the prestigious annual Iris Prize which see 35 films from across the globe competing for the £30,000 prize.
Canadian actor turned director Blake Mawson’s PYOTR495 unleashes the monster within us. Set in present day Moscow, an ultranationalist group known for their violent anti-gay attacks bolstered by Russia’s LGBT propaganda law, succeed in triggering a terrifying transformation in their latest teenage victim. Blake has earned his horror credentials as an actor in Freddy vs. Jason (2003), Blade TV series and Quebec Gore (2013).
From Australia there’s Nathan Keene’s disturbing tense rural chiller, Little Boy Blue whilst Tonight It’s You, from US director Dominic Haxton, offers a supernatural warning about the darker perils of dating apps as CJ discovers he could be exorcising more than his lust.
Also, in the running for the Best of British award with its £20,000 prize, is Tom Frederic’s Sauna The Dead – A Fairy Tale which has recently been screening in some selected cinemas nationwide. A genre-hopping modern fable that touches on A Christmas Carol and 80s fantasy adventures, a jaded narcissist finds himself fighting for survival in a gay sauna during of a zombie outbreak.
The Iris Prize festival runs 12th to 16th October with the closing ceremony on the final day.