FEATURE: Hove-based film judge urges support for local independent cinemas

Brian Butler October 14, 2020

The Iris Prize, the only LGBTQ+ short film competition in the world has just announced its 2020 winners – and a Hove-based tv executive played a key role.

Tim Highsted, Senior Editor, Acqired Feature Films for Film4 told me how delighted he’s been to be chairman of the judging panel for this year’s Iris Best British award. And he also told me about his hopes and fears for the future of cinemas and film in the current Covid crisis.

The overall Iris Prize went to Short Calf Muscle , from the Netherlands and other winners included : Cocoon for best feature and best performance in a female role; Dry Wind for best performance in a male role and Better, which was picked as  best British film in the category Tim judged.

Better, is by Michael J Fern and was praised by Tim and his jury for “ its quietly controlled and beautifully orchestrated examination of gender, as a young mother tries to cope with the bullying of her young son at school.

”Our other shortlisted titles – Queens, The Passing and Wings raised the bar with their unique portrayals and studies of LGBTQ+ lives and stories.” Tim confirmed that all 15 British shorts will be available from now on All 4.

Tim told me: “ The Iris Best British films are of course even more timely during this pandemic, where we can watch a wider array of new films from our homes. Even with the chaos that seems to be with us on a daily basis, there is still a wealth of great new talents and films that you can watch and enjoy from your armchair.

” It’s very worrying that cinemas have been forced to close – both for the film industry and audiences – at a time when we could all do with a bit of escape. Hopefully , the industry will bounce back next year. Let’s not forget to support the independent cinemas who are still operating and offering an array of distinctive programming. “

Commenting on his own judging category Tim added:”The quality and range of this year’s film contenders has been excellent – so much so that the jury was spoiled in having to choose a winner. The Iris Prize is an ideal partner for Film4, especially in offering fresh perspectives and showcasing new talent. We are delighted to present the 15 LGBTQ+ shorts free on All4  to as wide an audience as possible, free “

For more information on the films go to

Or you can see all the shortlist and winning films for free on Film4 & ONLINE UK PREMIERE ON All4