IFTA-nominated LGBT drama LILY, directed by Graham Cantwell, has been selected to compete for annual LGBT short film award the Iris Prize, the world’s largest short film prize. Presented annually during the October film festival of the same name in Cardiff Wales and dubbed the LGBT Oscars, the winner will receive a generous £30,000 prize funded by The Michael Bishop Foundation.

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 Iris Prize is the blue riband event on the LGBT festival circuit, so to be chosen to compete with such an incredible selection of films is truly an honour. Our inclusion in the festival, the Iris Outreach programmes and the Iris partner festivals will help us to bring our anti-bullying message to a much wider audience. We are extremely grateful to the GAZE Film Festival in Dublin for nominating us to represent Ireland for the award, and to the board, organisers and sponsors of the Iris Prize for selecting LILY to compete in such a prestigious event.
Graham Cantwell, Director

GAZE FilmFestival have been proud partners of the Iris Prize since 2006, and the two festivals have maintained a fruitful professional and personal relationship over the last decade. This year GAZE is thrilled to include LILY as our short film nomination for Iris. It is an important piece of Irish LGBT film, not only for its raw portrayal of the struggles of LGBT youth, but for its pointed, realistic dialogue, strong direction, and the standout performances from its two young leads.
Roisin Geraghty, Programmer – GAZE Film Festival

LILY has had a very successful run on the international festival circuit worldwide. 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 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 is internationally distributed by Network Ireland Television.

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