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John Berwyn Rowlands
|Known for||Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival.|
John Berwyn Rowlands (born September 1966) is a Welsh creative producer who founded and continues to lead the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival. Previously he was Chief Executive of Sgrîn, Media Agency of Wales from 1997-2006 and director of the Welsh International Film Festival 1989-1997.
In 1978 Rowlands was the youngest person to establish a local group (Aelwyd) of the Welsh youth voluntary organisation Urdd Gobaith Cymru. Aelwyd Llangoed met in the primary school until 1983.
While a pupil at Ysgol David Hughes Rowlands established the school magazine San.
Rowlands moved to Aberystwyth in 1986. While in Aberystwyth he established the theatre-in-education company Cwmni Cadwyn which toured his play “Dwirnod Olaf Elfyd Wyn Roberts 17 Blwyddyn Oed” commissioned by British Institute for Traffic Education Research (BITER). Rowlands then joined Ffilmiau Rebeca as a researcher on the welsh language television programme “Tudalen 88”.
Rowlands established the Aberystwyth-based company Premiere Cymru Wales in 1990 with the then director of Aberystwyth Arts Centre Alan Hewson. Premiere produced the Welsh International Film Festival from 1990 to 1998. In 1995 Rowlands produced the feature length drama for S4C Llety Piod starring Bill Nighy and Sandra Dickinson.
Premiere published a number of magazines including Ffocws a bi-monthly bilingual magazine for the welsh media industry from 1994 until 1998.
Rowlands was appointed as the Chief Executive of Sgrîn, the Media Agency for Wales in April 1997. During his tenure Sgrîn co-ordinated the establishment of a pan-Wales film location service, Wales Screen Commission and the National Screen & Sound Archive in partnership with the National Library of Wales.
In 2006 Rowlands left Sgrîn and established The Festivals Company. Through this company he set up the Iris Prize, an international competition for LGBT+ short films awarded annually in Cardiff.
An out gay man Rowlands has been active with campaigning groups including Cylch – the welsh language lesbian and gay society founded in Aberystwtyh in 1990. He entered into a civil partnership with his long-term partner Grant Vidgen on Dydd Santes Dwynwen 2006 (25 Jan) and in 2012 the couple were the first same-sex couple to compete on the welsh language game show Siôn a Siân. From Ynys Môn originally, Rowlands now lives in Cardiff.
In 2020 Rowlands was nominated for outstanding contribution to LGBT life in the 2020 LGBT Awards
He has been recognised as an influential LGBT+ person in Wales, earning a place on the Western Mail’s Pinc List each year since the list was first published in 2015.
Also in 2015 Rowlands was listed in the Wales Arts Powerlist as one of fifty people making a mark on welsh culture due to the success of the Iris Prize.
- Ali, Joseph (2020-11-23). "How a boy from Anglesey created the world's biggest LGBT+ film festival prize". WalesOnline. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
- Tudalen '88 [videorecording] / Ffilmiau Rebeca. Wales]: S4C, 1988.
- Sherlock, Ceri, Llety Piod (Drama), Sandra Dickinson, David Paul West, retrieved 2021-01-06
- Premiere Cymru Wales. Ffocws : Cyswllt I'r Cyfryngau Cymraeg = Keeping Welsh Media in Touch., 1994 - 1998. ISSN 1355-4840
- Barry, Siôn. "Film commission facing competition from rival." Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), August 15, 2002. NewsBank
- Jobbins, Siôn T. The Phonomenon of Welshness II or is ‘Wales too poor to be independent?’. 2013: Llanrwst, Gwasg Carred Gwalch. p54
- "Gay couple on 'Mr and Mrs' show." South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), April 10, 2012.
- "Just Eat – Top 10 Outstanding Contributors to LGBT+ Life 2020 – British LGBT Awards". Retrieved 2021-01-05.
- Jones, Hannah. "The Pinc List: The 40 most influential LGBT people in Wales - Wales' first ever Pinc List of the 40 lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people making a difference." WalesOnline (Wales), August 15, 2015.
- Price, Karen. "Arts Power List 2015: The 50 men and women putting Wales centre stage - Who did you choose for the number one spot from across the fields of music, film, theatre and the visual arts?." WalesOnline (Wales), January 29, 2015.
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