The British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural and educational opportunities, has announced that five short films from BFI Flare, the UK’s leading Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Film Festival, will be available to audiences around the world for the first time through BFI Player, the BFI’s online video service.
BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival runs from 19–29 March 2015 at BFI Southbank. On Wednesday 25 March, fiveFilms4freedom will become a 24-hour campaign asking people everywhere to watch a film together over the course of one single day. fiveFilms4freedom is the world’s first digital, global, LGBT film festival and will be promoted through the British Council’s network in more than 70 countries and regions including across the Americas, China, India, Israel, Kosovo, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine and the Middle East. This will be a chance for audiences, wherever they are, to enjoy a taster of LGBT cinema; to find out a little bit more about emerging LGBT filmmakers from around the world; and most importantly, to show support for freedom and equality everywhere. fiveFilms4freedom is produced in partnership with Stonewall, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans equality charity.
The five films represent a cross section of contemporary LGBT short film. The films are made by lesbians, gay men and transgender filmmakers, and range from sweet short stories about first love to documenting activism. They are polished, rough, funny, sad and inspiring and each has a different voice. The films are:
An Afternoon (En Eftermiddag): Director Søren Green’s new short film is a sensitive exploration of nascent sexuality. Mathias and Frederik are two friends who spend an afternoon together; Mathias has decided that this is the time to tell Frederik that he is in love with him.
Chance: Jake Graf’s self-funded short film premieres at BFI Flare. It focuses on older gay love and overcoming loneliness as a chance encounter between Trevor and a mysterious stranger equally troubled by his own past, forces both men to start to live again.
Code Academy: Canadian writer and director Nisha Ganatra is best known as producer-director of Transparent, the Golden Globe-winning TV series. In Code Academy, when searching for love in all the virtual places, Frankie, Libby and Sheridan are their own worst enemy.
Morning Is Broken: Director and writer Simon Anderson’s 2014 film is a beautifully shot coming-of-age drama set in the lush English countryside, following a young man’s struggle to come to terms with his sexuality at the end of his older brother’s wedding.
True Wheel: Director Nora Mandray’s 2015 documentary focuses on Fender Bender, an inspirational bicycle workshop for queer, transgender and women’s communities in Detroit.
Tricia Tuttle, Deputy Director of Festivals at the British Film Institute said:
Queer filmmakers have delivered some of cinema’s most striking, vital, challenging, provocative and beautiful films, and BFI Flare has been key in bringing these to UK audiences over the last 29 years. We’re thrilled this partnership will open up the festival to audiences around the world, giving millions of people the opportunity to enjoy great new LGBT films.
Alan Gemmell, Director of fiveFilms4freedom, British Council said:
fiveFilms4freedom is a ground-breaking LGBT film festival supporting freedom and equality all over the world and showcasing some of our finest short film makers. By bringing together the British Council and films from BFI Flare we are promoting LGBT cinema in countries that make up fifty percent of the world’s population. On 25 March we are asking the world to watch a movie together and show that love is a basic human right.
Briony Hanson, Director of Film, British Council said:
The British Council’s job is to connect people around the world and fiveFilms4freedom explores the diversity, freedom of expression and celebration of difference that characterise UK society. We believe passionately in the power of culture and film to change people’s lives and hope that this programme has a long lasting, far reaching and positive impact.
James Taylor, Head of Campaigns, Stonewall said:
fiveFilms4freedom not only showcases some phenomenal talent, but also brings together the international LGBT community. In 77 countries around the world it is still illegal to be gay, and in five it is punishable by death, so the opportunity to showcase LGBT stories and filmmakers in more than 80 countries worldwide is fantastic.”