Guests including Linda Riley, Mark Harriott and Ross Kemp congratulated Jacquie on her work in increasing onscreen lesbian visibility
BY VAL ZELASCHI
Established in 2007, the Iris Prize wants to honour those in the film industry who contribute to better the representation of LGBTQI people and shining a light on their stories. The brilliant Jacquie Lawrence has been awarded the Iris Prize Fellowship. During the awards ceremony at The Ministry Venues in London, the writer, producer, director and editor was praised for her work in promoting the visibility of LGBTQI women on screen.
During her impressive career, Jacquie Lawrence has been responsible for Channel 4’s LGBTQI programmes such as Dyke TV, Queer Street and Gay Icons. As commissioning editor, she has overseen the production of Paragraph 175, a documentary about the persecution of LGBTQI people in Nazi Germany and Emmy award-winning Celluloid Closet, which focuses on the representation of LGBTQI characters in movies throughout history. Between 2000 and 2003, Lawrence has produced a quartet of lesbian-themed documentaries for Channel 5 and Sky One: Lesbians Go Mad on Lesbos, Lesbians Behaving Badly, Lesbians Ole and Power Lesbians. Her first novel Different For Girls, which has been later adapted into a web series, won the DIVA Literary Festival Prize in 2015. Jacquie also directed the groundbreaking documentary Gateways Grind.
Berwyn Rowlands, festival director, said: “The Iris Prize Fellowship is presented to honour those who have made a significant contribution to the UK film industry with a specific focus on LGBT+ stories. Jacquie Lawrence is the perfect example of what we were looking for.”
During the ceremony, Lawrence gave an acceptance speech in which she congratulated the Iris Prize for sharing lesbian stories and increasing their visibility. Despite some encouraging developments in the mainstream media, Jacquie also reflected on how much work is still to be done in terms of lesbian visibility and representation.
DIVA magazine publisher Linda Riley, who presented the award, said: “I simply cannot think of anyone more deserving of the Iris Prize Fellowship than Jacquie Lawrence.” Riley called Lawrence “a pioneer of lesbian visibility” and said “her onscreen work is legendary both in our community and beyond.” The 2022 Iris Prize Fellowship was sponsored by DIVA and The Ministry Venues.
Ross Kemp, documentary film maker and former Eastenders actor, also congratulated Lawrence for her work and achievements. “I owe you a huge thanks because without you I could never have made the transition from acting into doc making,” said Kemp.
Filmmaker Mark Harriott said: “Congratulations on this deserved award for your work in LGBTQI commissioning and filmmaking. ‘From the Gutter to the Stars’ you’ve been a beacon of working-class queer radiance, shining upon a flock of grateful independent filmmakers & artists for three decades.” Harriott added: “Thank you for being a crazy, hilarious, creative, approachable but untameable visionary. You’re unique… it’s a shame, but there’ll never be another Jacquie Lawrence.”
At DIVA, we echo these congratulations and thank Jacquie for her incredible work and her dedication to our community.
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