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Ahead of this year’s Iris Prize, the world’s biggest celebration of LGBT+ short films, we speak to previous winner and 2017 nominee Brendon McDonall about his latest project The Dam and how personal experiences feed into his work

The Iris Prize — known colloquially as the ‘Gay Oscar’ — is an annual prize handed out at the Iris Film Festival in Cardiff. A six-day celebration of LGBT+ film, the event sees screenings of the 35 international short films competing for the main award, as well as the 15 Best British short nominees, amongst other events.

In 2014, Brendon McDonall won the Iris Prize with his highly autobiographical film All God’s Creatures. He then used the £30,000 prize to develop another short film, Spoilers, which premiered on BBC2 and was nominated in BAFTA Cymru’s Best Short Film category last year. After serving as a jury member for the 2015 Iris Prize, Brendon returns to Cardiff this October as a nominee (and the first winner to be shortlisted twice), after his film school in Sydney submitted his latest film on his behalf. The Dam tells the story of two mature men’s lifelong friendship that finds itself under threat when they visit the monolithic dam that defined their youth. We spoke to the acclaimed filmmaker about his career, the filmmaking process and this year’s Iris Prize.

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