Falkirk scriptwriter wins Iris Prize at Welsh ‘Oscars’

Script writer Katie White and director Charlie Francis at the Iris Prize Festival
Script writer Katie White and director Charlie Francis at the Iris Prize Festival

Anyone who knows Katie White will know that she is seldom lost for words, in fact she has made a success out of putting them on paper.

But when her script writing was recognised as being the best in its field at the recent Iris Prize Festival she admits to being “absolutely gobsmacked”.

“I couldn’t speak, just couldn’t take it in,” she admitted, after ‘Middle Man’ was named the Best British Short 2014 at the Cardiff event.

Written three years ago, she and director Charlie Francis from Glasgow were continually being told how good the short film was and it had already been in the running for other prizes, coming seventh in the Skinny Awards for the Best Micro-Budget Scottish Short Film.

“But we never thought that we would win at such a huge event. It’s just unbelievable,” said Katie. “It was really like the Oscars, very well organised and a brilliant experience.”

The Iris Prize – Cardiff’s International Gay and Lesbian Short Film Prize is the only LGBT short film prize in the world which allows the winner to make a new film.

And although they didn’t take the top prize, valued at £25,000, their success with the best short gives them £14,000 to spend on post-production at Pinewood Studios for their next film.

‘Middle Man’ was written in less than a day after Katie met someone at a party who was chatting about his boyfriend who was deaf and spoke of the type and talk service that allows people with hearing problems to receive phone messages.

“It gave me an idea and the script is about two gay men who fall out with the ‘Middle Man’ the person in the type and talk call centre.

“At that time I was involved with Write, Camera, Action in Glasgow which put you in touch with an independent director and actors, giving you the chance to do workshops before filming your work.”

Katie’s is a support worker for deaf pupils at Falkirk High School, and the building was one of three locations used in ‘Middle Man’ with some of the pupils extras alongside the three main actors.

She has recently completed her 11th film script and asked if her hope is one day to make this her full-time employment, she said: “If my boss is reading this, no I don’t, but if she’s not, I’d love to write full-time!”

Following on from success at the Iris, ‘Middle Man’ is going to be shown in Brazil and will be shown at the GAZE film festival in Belfast.

Katie added: “It’s been amazing. People have been in touch about collaborating with us on work, and it all sounds very exciting.

“When we showed ‘Middle Man’ as part of the recent For Falkirk’s Sake event there was also really good feedback, which is nice in your home town.”

The mum-of-two has always loved writing, first nurtured when she was at Camelon High School, but something she only really returned to within the last five years.

However, in only a short time she has already chalked up some remarkable achievements and admits that she doesn’t know what the future holds or where it will take her ... just don’t tell her boss.