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Kiwi rest home film competes for international prize

Kiwi rest home film competes for international prize

An acclaimed New Zealand short film about two old men finding love in a rest home has been nominated for a prestigious short film prize in the UK.

“The Colonel’s Outing”, made by Christopher Banks and Andy Jalfon of local film-making charity Number 8 Films, is one of thirty films selected from among hundreds of international entries for the Iris Prize – the world’s largest gay short film award, with a prize package worth just under $50,000.

This is only the second time a film from New Zealand has been shortlisted for the Iris Prize. The last was the Number 8 Films team’s 2009 film “Teddy”, which screened at festivals in Los Angeles, New York and London and won two local awards.

"The shortlist for the 2011 Iris Prize once again represents the best of the best,” says Christopher Racster, Iris patron. “Half of the short-listed films have been nominated by our partner festivals – film festivals from around the world that have their fingers on the pulse of upcoming gay and lesbian filmmaking talent.”

“The Colonel’s Outing” was nominated by the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, where the film had its world premiere in April. It has since been programmed in more than twenty international festivals.

It had its first New Zealand screening last month as part of the Film Talk series at Auckland’s Rialto Cinemas. Further screenings are planned for Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch before the end of the year, as well as a DVD release.

“It’s great to have such high-profile international recognition for an untold story about older gay men,” says producer Andy Jalfon. “We’d like to again thank our key sponsor, the Mental Health Foundation, for seeing the value in this story and to all the people who have supported our efforts to get the film seen locally.”

The winners of the $50,000 Iris Prize package will be invited to the UK to make a new short film.

"Iris is now recognised for supporting talented film makers from all over the world,” says Iris patron Christopher Racster. “Iris is more than just a trophy that gathers dust or a certificate that yellows on the wall. Iris is what film makers need – funding, support and guidance.”

“The Colonel’s Outing” is the fourth film made by director Christopher Banks, and the first to receive any form of sponsorship. His first three films were self-funded.

“It’s tough for independent gay filmmakers to get their stories on screen, and positive stories about our mental health and wellbeing are few and far between,” he says. “Gay men are over-represented in depression and suicide statistics worldwide, and if we were fortunate enough to win this year, we’d take the opportunity again to tell a story that shows there’s a way through life’s difficulties, no matter your age, race or background.”

“The Colonel’s Outing” will screen at the Iris Prize Festival in Cardiff from October 5-8.


Iris Prize shortlist:
The Colonel’s Outing website:
Youtube trailer for embedding:
Number 8 Films website:


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