Kashish Pride Film Festival Day 4: The Best of Iris short films explore truth, equality, open marriage, and more!

Aishwarya Srinivasan
New Update
Kashish Pride Film Festival

Day 4 of the Kashis Pride Film Festival showcased diverse short films that subtly and humorously gave an impactful message to the viewers!

The Best of Iris are short films from the UK that won the Iris Prize. They were a culmination of four short films, each different in nature from the other. The first was ‘Realness with a Twist’ and it stood true to its title. The film was about a queer footballer who also loved dancing and performing with his friends from the queer community. But it was like he was living two lives; one was of a footballer where he felt he needed to look or be more ‘macho’ and the other was where he was more in touch with his true sexuality. He feared being bullied by one of his teammates if he ever told him the truth. After a traumatic incident between them, he decides to just let go and be who he is and to his surprise, except for that one teammate, the rest of his team, including his coach, fully accept him for who he is. The film gives out a rather important message of owning your reality, even if you feel it is unconventional or comes with a twist. Realness with a Twist starts with the protagonist questioning his whole life to dancing on the football field and that was wholesome to say the least. Since he loved dancing in the film, the soundtrack was lively and made you want to cheer for him at the end along with his friends.

Realness with a twist

Ted and Noel is based on a gay couple who met when they were 21 and have loved each other all their lives. They kissed in public at a time when ‘queer’ wasn’t even a term and same sex relationships were not even a thought to be accepted by society. Ted and Noel spent their lives dedicating themselves to the bigger picture, which was the fight for equality, for them and for their entire community. Noel eventually passed away at the age of 71 due to dementia but Ted’s determination for doing his bit for the community never stopped. He participated in pride parades and protests for gay liberation and it was important for him to do so as he was the only black person at the time who was a part of this. He wanted to have black representation in the community and he shares his difficulties as a black gay man in society. His campaigns are the reason why so many people from the LGBTQIA+ community are respected and are given the same rights as any other heterosexual person. 

The film shows videos of Noel’s last few days with Ted; it normalizes them in a way where they seem like any other couple in love. It breaks the preconceived notions homophobes have about gay couples and it beautifully encapsulates Ted and Noel's journey. But the main highlight of the documentary is how LGBTQIA+ couples are abused in care homes. Noel was burned by cigarettes and beaten up in the care home where he was being treated for dementia. This film follows Ted’s journey to raise awareness about that. Around 76% of people from the queer community feel they will not be treated with respect in care homes. This film is a crucial plight towards eradicating such discrimination against the community, and Ted continues to fight for the love of his life and for the love of his community. 

Also Read: Baby Queen gives us a much needed insight into being queer in Singapore, the fascinating world of drag and the bittersweet journey of becoming Opera Tang!

From a serious note, we transitioned into Sarah Harrak’s light hearted film, F**ked. Queer films are mostly about coming out or about the struggles that they face in society. And while that is pivotal to show, Sarah’s thought with this film was to flip the narrative for once and keep something humorous as the heart of the story. The movie starts with a lesbian couple grocery shopping late at night in Stratford. The pair begins to discuss their open relationship and that’s when Dani says that she wants to try sleeping with men. Her wife, Jess, is completely blindsided by this and wants to know what else her partner is keeping from her. Through dark comedy, the film portrays the need to discuss sexual fluidity with one’s partner. The makers show open relationships in a positive light as compared to the scrutiny the term usually faces. It sheds light on how it can actually work for some couples as long as they communicate what they’re okay and not okay with.


The last of the lot was Karimah Zakia Issa’s Scaring Women at Night. The film revolves around two strangers who walk home late at night and both of them are afraid of the other and try to flee. Until a common friend in the climax makes them realize that neither of them needed to be scared. But this makes them dig deeper into why they were afraid in the first place. The film sheds light on how except for a cis man, the world isn’t really safe at night for anyone. Women are scared of being followed and trans men are afraid of being abused, and the two protagonists belonging to these genders make you relate to the story while also adding depth in terms of how messed up it is for so many of us to be scared of another human being. The pace of the editing increases the compelling nature of the short film, giving it a thriller film-like feel. In scenes when the two are isolated in the middle of the night and analyze their fears is the crux of the story. Scaring Women at Night does not give us a definitive end or answers, in fact it wants to be a conversation starter about how we perceive gender.

The Best of Iris short films were screened at the Kashish Pride Film Festival this year and left us with a lot to introspect on in many aspects, whether or not we belong to the LGBTQIA+ community.

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KASHISH Pride Film Festival Best of Iris short films Realness with a Twist Ted and Noel F**ked Scaring Women At Night