Now Reading
London’s LGBT+ film festival is shut down but you can watch it at home

London’s LGBT+ film festival is shut down but you can watch it at home

  • Five Films For Freedom are free to watch until 29 March.
Still from Pxssy Palace.

London’s LGBT+ film festival, BFI Flare, has had to shut down because of coronavirus.

But you can still watch five of the best short films from around the world which were due to be part of it.

That’s thanks to the Five Films For Freedom project.

It has put its films live now and the timing could barely be better. Countless people around the world are self-isolating or working from home. Meanwhile London itself may go into lockdown before this weekend to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Five films and directors’ interviews

This year’s Five Films For Freedom are a mix of drama and documentary from multi-award-winning directors and screenwriters.

And because it’s a film festival, there’s also interviews with filmmakers to accompany each one.

134 is an Irish drama capturing a family’s voyage through gender identity, modern adolescence and parental expectation. It gives viewers an emotional glimpse into protagonist Jack’s journey to win the love and acceptance of their parents.

After That Party is a film from Brazilian director Caio Scot. It tells the moving story of a man on a mission to find the perfect way to tell his father he knows the truth about his sexuality.

Pxssy Palace is a UK documentary from Laura Kirwan-Ashman, co-founder of female film collective Sorta Kinda Maybe Yeah. It offers a unique insight into the London-based QTIPOC (queer, trans, intersex, people of colour) collective and eponymous club night.

Something In The Closet is by British writer and director Nosa Eke’s. The short film sees a queer teenager struggle with her sexuality. Meanwhile, her desires begin to manifest themselves in unsettling ways.

In When Pride Came To Town, award-winning directors Julia Dahr and Julie Lunde Lillesæter provide a provocative yet heart-warming account of Norway’s rural Pride network. They look through the eyes of 52-year-old Bjørn-Tore. Moreover the film sheds light on the ongoing battle for LGBT+ rights in one of Europe’s most liberal countries.

More of BFI Flare could be coming online

But this may be just a teaser of the film festival. Organizers have promised to announce an alternative digital version of BFI Flare soon. So it could emerge victorious over the shutdown by attracting new audiences and its biggest numbers yet.

The British Council has made Five Films For Freedom a part of BFI Flare for the last six years.

Briony Hanson, director of film for the British Council, comments:

‘We are proud that filmmakers trust us to present their work to the eyes of the world, and we’re always overwhelmed by the positive response.

‘Imagining audiences across the globe enjoying the films and witnessing their reactions to them is really eye-opening – it feels like the whole world is taking a moment to celebrate LGBTIQ+ lives with us.’