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LILY wins Iris Prize Youth Award
26 Oct 2017 :
IFTA nominated LGBT drama LILY, written and directed by Graham Cantwell, has won the Iris Prize Youth Award, presented at the annual Iris Prize Festival, a six-day celebration of LGBT film in Cardiff, Wales.

The award is sponsored by Cardiff University, and was presented by Youth Council representatives Alex Jones and Eve Limbrick, who said, “LILY was inspirational, and if it’s played in schools and universities it will change behaviours. Winning this award is such an important part of this year’s festival.”

Director Graham Cantwell commented:

“We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded this prestigious prize. I would like to thank the board and staff of the Iris Prize Festival for making us feel so welcome and for compiling an incredibly diverse and accomplished selection of short films from across the globe. The fact that the award is chosen by young people is especially gratifying, as the film was made specifically for that demographic. I'm also delighted that LILY will be included in the important work that the Iris Prize Outreach Programme carry out throughout the year.”

Mark Williams, Iris Prize Outreach facilitator, commented:

“With such a strong vote in favour of LILY from the young people attending our Education day, I can’t wait to show this in schools here in Wales as part of our outreach work. LILY has such a strong message for victims of bullying that I’m sure it will be a firm favourite for young programmers to show to their contemporaries to improve acceptance.”

The film was nominated to participate in the Iris Prize Award by the GAZE Film Festival in Dublin. The Iris Prize, commonly dubbed the LGBT Oscars, is the largest short film prize in the world and is sponsored by the Michael Bishop Foundation.

LILY has had a very successful run on the international festival circuit worldwide, most recently winning the Best International Short Film Award at the Durban Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. It was nominated for Best Irish Short at the 2017 Irish Film and Television Academy Awards, was nominated for an Irish Writers’ Guild Award and won the Best Irish Short Award at the two biggest festivals in Ireland, The Galway Film Fleadh and the Audi Dublin International Film Festival, qualifying for Academy Award consideration in the process. The film was nominated for the Best Narrative Short Award as part of the Global Shorts Forum at the prestigious Savannah Film Festival and screened at many festivals across the globe, including the world-famous Rhode Island International Film Festival, billed as one of the top 10 international festivals in the US. At the Santa Fe Film Festival, LILY was awarded the Best International Short Film award and Director Graham Cantwell was honoured with the Courage in Cinema Award. The film also won the Best Female Short Film at FilmOut in San Diego, Best Irish Short at the Underground Film Festival and the Jury Award for Best Women’s Long-Form Narrative Short in North Carolina. Lead actress Clara Harte was voted Best Female Actor at the Pune International Queer Film Festival in India.

Upcoming festival screenings include Taiwan, Barcelona and Kansas.

The film tells the story of Lily, a girl with a secret, on the cusp of becoming a young woman. With her best friend, the fiercely loyal and flamboyant Simon, she navigates the treacherous waters of school life. When a misunderstanding with the beautiful and popular Violet leads to a vicious attack, Lily is faced with the greatest challenge of her young life.

The film stars Gaiety graduate Clara Harte and introduces Dean Quinn in the leading roles of Lily and Simon respectively. Leah McNamara (Vikings), Amy-Joyce Hastings (The Callback Queen), Paul Ronan (Veronica Guerin), Aisling O’Neill (Fair City), and Lynette Callaghan (The Yank) come together as the supporting cast, alongside newcomers Hallie Ridgeway and Daniel Mahon.

LILY was produced by Sharon Cronin, executive produced by Film Venture, Filmbase and Powerscourt Pictures and was shot on location in Dublin. The film is internationally distributed by Network Ireland Television. 

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