38th BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival wraps with audiences up, global talent attendance and 5 world premieres

Audiences attending screenings and events at the home of the festival, BFI Southbank, increased by 7.5%, with 54% of these audiences new to BFI Flare.

Luke Willis, Lady Camden and Cookie Walukas at the premiere of Lady Like© BFI/Millie Turner

The 38th edition of BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival (13 to 24 March), the UK’s leading LGBTQIA+ film event, closed on 24 March seeing a continued growth in audiences attending in person events at the Festival’s home, BFI Southbank. Overall BFI Flare saw 28,125 audience attendances across BFI Southbank screenings, events and on BFI Player. The festival had packed houses with 87% occupancy at BFI Southbank, up from 85% in 2023, with 54% of bookers new to BFI Flare. 

Over 12 days between 13 to 24 March, BFI Flare welcomed audiences to its home at BFI Southbank with 58 feature and 81 shorts screened from 41 countries. The festival hosted 5 world premieres, 2 international premieres, 6 European premiere and 23 UK premieres from across the features programme.   

BFI Flare welcomed 285 filmmakers and their teams in person from 24 countries. Talent highlights included Elliot Page, the Merchant Ivory family including Helena Bonham Carter, Simon Callow, Rupert Graves, Natascha McElhone, Greta Scacchi and James Wilby and other stars and filmmakers including Bilal Hasna, Lady Camden, Amrou Al-Kadhi, Levan Akin, Devery Jacobs, James Krishna Floyd, Ben Hardy, Nimra Bucha, Jeffrey Schwarz, Linda Riley, Iris Brey, Michelle Parkerson and many others.  

This year’s festival saw the 10th year of #FiveFilmsForFreedom in partnership with the British Council. This landmark initiative presents five films for free to audiences globally and invites everyone everywhere to show solidarity with LGBTQIA+ communities in countries where freedom and equal rights are limited. The 2024 film selection spanned from the Philippines, India, Spain, USA and the UK and early viewing figures show the digital campaign attracted over 3 million views, with worldwide figures still being counted. The five filmmakers were guests at a reception at the Houses of Parliament in the UK welcomed by Lilian Greenwood MP, shadow minister for the Arts, and Andrew Mitchell MP, Minister of State FCDO. Meanwhile multiple in person screenings and events took place in over 30 countries across the world from Myanmar, Venezuela and New Zealand to Indonesia and Kazakhstan. This global movement has attracted over 25 million views in the last ten years, with audiences joining together to celebrate love as a human right. 

The BFI Flare 2024 Programming team are Grace Barber-Plentie, Jay Bernard, Diana Cipriano, Zorian Clayton, Rhianna Ilube, Darren Jones, Wema Mumma and Brian Robinson.