Iris Prize 2021 is now open for submissions!

As you should well know by now, here at Lesflicks we are all about supporting filmmakers in getting their LBTQ+ content to their intended audience and celebrating the great work and representation onscreen that we as a community deeply appreciate. Submitting your work for festivals and awards is a great way to increase exposure and the chances of financial reward. The Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival is one such opportunity!

Now in its 15th year, Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival is home of the Iris Prize £30,000 film award, supported by The Michael Bishop Foundation, which is the world’s largest short film prize and enables the winner to make a new LGBT+ themed film in the UK. Other award categories include:

  • Iris Prize Best British Short Supported by Film4
  • Iris Prize Best Feature sponsored by Bad Wolf
  • Best Performance in a Female Role sponsored by DIVA Magazine
  • Best Performance in a Male Role sponsored by Attitude Magazine
  • Youth Jury Award
  • Community Award – £250 to enable the winning community group to make more films
  • Education Award – £250 to enable the winning education/youth group to make more films
  • Micro Short Award – £100 to enable the filmmaker to make more films

The Iris Prize prides itself in being inclusive of diversity and is open to filmmakers from around the world as well as judged by a panel of international filmmakers and artists. Submissions are NOW open!

Details about submitting films can be found here:

A shortlist of 35 entries will be selected for the Iris Prize, 15 entries for the Iris Prize Best British Short Supported by Film4, and up to 12 feature films. These will screen as part of the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival held in Cardiff, Wales, UK on 5-10th October 2021 both online and in person. In addition, for a second year running, all 15 Best British shortlisted films will be broadcast on Film4 after the festival, and available on Film4 via All 4 for one year, which is an excellent opportunity to reach a UK wide audience.

Some key rules to note include:
• All entries should be for, about or of significant interest to LGBT+ audiences, and must have been completed within 2 years prior to the submission deadline.
• All short films must have a runtime of 39 minutes or less. Any work with a longer runtime will be considered a feature.
• There are NO restrictions regarding films that have previously been, or are currently available online, or which have been broadcast on television.
• To be eligible for the Iris Prize Best British Short you should be a UK citizen or have been resident in the UK for at least three consecutive years prior to submitting your film. All Best British films will be considered for the Iris Prize.

As well as the chance to see the best in current LGBT+ short and feature filmmaking, the film festival shares panel discussions, and organises special events and parties. The organisers are keen to continue to share LGBT+ stories from all over the world as well as celebrate those LGBT+ groups closer to home, with the introduction of community and education awards at the main festival.

Andrew Pierce, Festival Chair, says:
“Diversity has been at the heart of Iris from the beginning. Thanks primarily to the relationships we have with 30 partner festivals located in 20 countries we have always enjoyed seeing diversity represented on our screens.
Diversity across the board is taking a little longer. However, I’ve been encouraged by the improved gender balance and over the past three years we have seen women directors taking the main prize.
We have also seen a steady increase in the number of trans stories included in the festival programme. I’m hoping in 2021 and from this point in time we will also see an increase in films made by Trans filmmakers.”

The Early Bird Submission deadline for the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival is 31st March 2021, then the regular and late submission deadlines fall in June 2021.

Lesflicks wishes all filmmakers the best of luck in their submissions and we can’t wait to see and celebrate your work with you throughout 2021!

This article was written by:



Reviewer & Writer


Ping believes in the power of love and kindness, and that "love is love" no matter what shape or form it comes in. She would like to see positive representation for all walks of life in film and media.