P/REVIEW: Iris Prize LGBT+films to view – Colonial Gods

Brian Butler April 19, 2020

One of the lgbtq+ film highlights of next month’s postponed Brighton Fringe would have been screenings from the internationally known Iris Prize Festival.

We may have to wait some time for those offerings but in the meantime Iris organisers are making three short films, all made by women, available free to stream on YouTube.

Dee Rees’ Colonial Gods is live now and my review is below. It’s available throughout the rest of April, watch on Youtube. 

In May it will be the turn of Daisy+ D by Artkasha Stevenson and in June Susan Jacobson’s Wild Geese will be available.

Berwyn Rowlands , Iris festival director, told Gscene: “ One of the primary reasons for Iris to exist is to get more people seeing LGBT+ stories . I hope this focus will combine our enthusiasm for October’s film festival in Cardiff with the reality of today, where people have more time on their hands to access content during lockdown ‘“

Colonial Gods is a penetrating study of migrant workers in Cardiff Bay and the challenges that face them. Watch it, free,  on Youtube here

With the arrival of Abdi ( Said Mohamed ) seeking work and a room to rent, the focus of the story is on his “ landlord “ Izi ( Cornell S. John ) . Though their relationship is not explicitly sexual, there is some hidden attraction for the young arrival.

Izi is a passionate fighter for rights – fair wages for the local factory workers,  and opposition to greedy and uncaring property developers , though he struggles with his own darker moods.

When he’s arrested on bogus burglary charges, it’s time for Abdi to literally step forward and defend him . Director/writer Dee Rees explores what Abdi calls the corrosive silence of a friend  betrayed and the urge for self-improvement and preservation of the little a migrant has. It’s a powerful short and could be  developed further.