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Tom Abell has been confirmed as the new Chair of the Iris Prize


Peccadillo Pictures MD to take over the role as festival looks to the future and 20th anniversary in 2026 and Alice Blanc also appointed to the Board



Tom Abell has been confirmed as the new Chair of the Iris Prize. The announcement was made prior to the 2021 Iris Awards in Cardiff, by outgoing Chair Andrew Pierce, who leaves the role after almost seven years.


Accepting the role, Tom Abell paid tribute to Andrew Pierce for all of his work in securing major sponsorship and funding for the festival. Tom is a popular and familiar name within the British Film world, and was appointed the inaugural Iris Prize Fellowship in 2019, which honours those who have made a significant contribution to the LGBT+ film industry.




Other appointees to the Board include: Suzy Davies and Alice Blanc.


Suzy Davies is a qualified solicitor who became a Welsh politician, and served as a Member of the Senedd for South Wales West from 2011 to 2021. She held the office of Shadow Minister for Culture and Welsh Language between 2011 and 2016. She has written for various publications and was one of the founding board members of the Welsh International Film Festival in 1989 with Iris Prize Director Berwyn Rowlands.

Alice Blanc is currently working as Distribution Coordinator, French Territories at Motion Picture Solutions. Alice's past experience volunteering at film festivals, current experience in outreach and event-producing sets them in great stead for this role.


Alice has demonstrated great experience in account management, business development and sales. They are looking to pursue career within distribution, acquisition and marketing (Film and TV sector). And bring international experience to Iris: 11 years spent in Asia, speak 5 languages. Currently studying at UCLA Extension ‘Business & Management in Entertainment’.


They join Carol Jones, Christopher Racster, Heather Small, Katie White and Iris Prize Company Secretary, Grant Vidgen.


Tom Abell, Iris Chair said, “It’s an honour and a privilege to be invited to become the new Chair of Iris Prize.  I wish to pay thanks to Andrew Pierce for his tireless dedication to the festival these past few years enabling it to grow and expand its activities over that time. I very much look forward to working with team Iris over the coming months in helping shape its future.”


Berwyn Rowlands, Festival Director said: “I’ve always been a huge admirer of Tom Abell and his commitment to making sure that audiences in the UK have access to LGBT+ stories. His experience and enthusiasm is well-known within the sector and Iris will be in a strong position because of his involvement. I can’t wait to work more closely with him.”


The main festival sponsors are: The Michael Bishop Foundation, Creative Wales, a Welsh Government agency that supports the creative sectors in Wales, the BFI awarding funds from The National Lottery, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film 4, University of South Wales, Cardiff University, Co-op Respect, Bad Wolf, Gorilla Group, Peccadillo Pictures, Pinewood Studios, Attitude Magazine, Diva Magazine and The Ministry of Sound.  The festival also works in partnership with BAFTA Cymru, Pride Cymru and Stonewall Cymru.                               





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