Short Calf Muscle from the Netherlands wins the prestigious Iris Prize 2020 


Short Calf Muscle, directed by Victoria Warmerdam, has been announced the winner of the Iris Prize 2020, Cardiff’s International LGBT+ Short Film Prize, supported by The Michael Bishop Foundation. This was the first time in the festival’s 14 year history that a film from the Netherlands has won. The £30,000 prize enables Victoria to make a new short film in Wales, becoming the 13th Iris production. 

Better, directed by Michael J. Ferns, won this year’s prestigious Best British Award. 

The winners of all awards categories were announced at a special awards ceremony on Saturday, night marking the successful end to the unique virtual festival that has attracted a UK wide audience to watching film screenings and talks online for free, which included the UK premiere on opening night of Lloyd Eyre-Morgan and Neil Ely’s S.A.M. 

The awards show included performances by Welsh singer Casi Wyn and pop legend Heather Small, who presented the Best Performance In A Female Role In A Feature Film Award, sponsored by us here at DIVA.

This award was given to Lena Urzendowsy for Cocoon. Of Lena’s performance, Lewis Bayley, Chair of Best Feature Jury said: “The award for Best Performance in a Female role goes to Lena Urzendowsky. Lena’s honest and raw portrayal of Nora in Cocoon captures a teenager in a time of self-discovery, complicated by the dramas and vices of those closest to her. In this beautiful coming-of-age story, Lena holds the attention in each frame she appears with quiet nuance and vulnerability”.  

Philip Guttman, from the Iris Prize jury said of the 2020 Prize winner: “Short Calf Muscle captures a universal sense of being misunderstood in an hilarious yet absurd comic tone, setting it apart in a class of its own. Piquant dialogue, accomplished storytelling and tongue in cheek acting are distilled into a potent black comedy, where Anders, a gay man, suddenly finds himself labelled to be a “gnome” by everyone around him, harkening to our own society that all too often misgenders or misidentifies others.”

“Filmmaker Victoria Warmerdam masterfully tackles themes of prejudice and societal authoritarianism, captured through an impeccable Stepford style lens which contrasts the loss of control in a world gone mad. Ms. Warmerdam reveals herself to be a singular, exciting and rising comedy director”. 

Head over to to see the full list of winners and to find out more about the awards. 

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