Five Films for Freedom, the world’s widest-reaching LGBTQIA+ digital campaign, returns on 15 March bringing five new LGBTQIA+ films from Cyprus, Guyana, Nigeria, Northern Ireland and South Korea to audiences across the world.
The film programme continues the British Council’s partnership with BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival, with the short films promoted across the British Council’s global digital networks and BFI Player for free from 15 to 26 March to coincide with the festival at BFI Southbank and online.
The selection of films, chosen by the British Council from BFI Flare’s programme, explores subjects such as violence and security, love across borders and shifting identities. The films in 2023 are:
- All I Know by Obinna Robert Onyeri (Nigeria/USA)
- Butch Up! by Yu-jin Lee (South Korea)
- Eating Papaw on the Seashore by Rae Wiltshire and Nickose Layne (Guyana)
- Just Johnny by Terry Loane (UK – Northern Ireland)
- Buffer Zone by Savvas Stavrou (UK/Cyprus)
Global audiences are encouraged to show solidarity with LGBTQIA+ communities around the world where freedom and equal rights are limited by watching the films via the British Council Arts YouTube channel and through other channels in countries with access restrictions.
Since 2015 and with the programmes live for less than 100 days, Five Films for Freedom films have been viewed 20 million times by people in over 200 countries and principalities, including all parts of the world where homosexuality is criminalised, and all countries where the death penalty is in place.
Five Films for Freedom continues the British Council’s work building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and overseas through arts, education and English language teaching. This year the five selected titles have been translated and made available with subtitles/closed captioning in 23 languages.
During BFI Flare, the Five Films for Freedom programme and filmmakers are presented at a special reception event for politicians in Westminster.
All I Know
Obinna Robert Onyeri, 16 mins, 2022, Nigeria/USA
Two friends meet for dinner, one goes to meet a stranger for a hook-up date while the other goes home. We follow a man’s search for his friend that puts him at risk of revealing life-altering secrets they both share.
Obinna is a Los Angeles based filmmaker, born in Lagos, Nigeria. He studied Film at the University of California, Los Angeles, receiving the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Directing Fellowship award and the George Burns and Gracie Allen Scholarship.
Savvas Stavrou, 16 mins, 2022, UK/Cyprus
Two young soldiers across enemy lines fall in love and find escape from their oppressive environments through music.
Savvas was born in Cyprus and studied Film at the University of Westminster, London. He works as a director across advertising, music video and short film, and he is developing his first feature. He is a Sundance Lab alumnus.
Yu-jin Lee, 12 mins, 2022, Korea
“Stop being miserable.” After hearing her ex’s last words to her, Mi-hae, a lead singer of an independent band, cannot get herself to sing the band’s most popular song, Oppa’s Girl.
Yu-Jin Lee studied film directing at the Korea National University of Arts. Her first short film, A Good Mother, was the most talked about queer film of the year in Korea.
Eating Papaw on the Seashore
Rae Wiltshire, Nickose Layne, 18 mins, 2022, Guyana
A coming-of-age film about Asim and Hasani, two queer Guyanese boys, navigating their feelings in a homophobic society.
Rae studied literature and linguistics at the University of Guyana. As a playwright, he won Best New Guyanese play at Guyana’s National Drama Festival in 2015, he recently won the Guyana Prize for Literature in Drama, 2022, for his play Don’t Ask Me Why. Nickose is a playwright, poet and actor. studied Theatre Arts at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago.
Terry Loane, 19 mins, 2021, UK - Northern Ireland
Maria and Dermot’s straightforward family life takes a sudden turn when their son Johnny announces that he wants to wear a dress for his Holy Communion. Both parents are keen to do what is best for Johnny, but their different opinions almost pull the happy family apart.
Terry was born and bred in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and studied photography at Ulster University. He began designing for film in 1996 on the Oscar-nominated short Dance Lexie Dance, and in 1998 he wrote and directed his first short film comedy, CLUCK. His latest feature as director, The Last Rifleman, starring Pierce Brosnan and John Amos, is released this year. The film was written by former Hollyoaks actor Gerard McCarthy who came out last summer as non-binary.
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