The 35th BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival, which launches today, is thrilled to announce a new Screen Talk with stage, film and television actor Russell Tovey and, as part of BFI Flare’s The Makers series, conversations with award-winning filmmaker, journalist and author David France (Welcome to Chechnya) and writer-producer Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor (Blue Story). All of the special events will be available for free for audiences to access internationally via BFI YouTube and BFI Flare Facebook channels. 

The 12-day event, which brings the best new LGBTIQ+ cinema from around the world via BFI Player to UK-wide audiences will also feature discussions with the directors and BFI Flare programmers for the films Well Rounded and Rebel Dykes, both screening at the festival. BFI Film Academy will also return with events for young creatives and the BFI Flare community can indulge in their love of trivia and music as the popular Big Gay Film Quiz is back and BFI Flare FM will keep everyone moving to the beats of their favourite BFI Flare dance party DJs over on the BFI’s Spotify page. Tickets for the feature films can be purchased via bfi.org.uk/flare. 

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New BFI Flare events

Screen Talks

BFI Flare Screen Talks offer a series of in-depth interviews with leaders in contemporary cinema.

Screen Talk – Russell Tovey

BFI YouTube, BFI Flare Facebook
Friday 26 March, 7:00pm

We are delighted to welcome Russell to BFI Flare to discuss his stage and screen career.

First coming to prominence as Rudge in the National Theatre’s production of The History Boys, along with its subsequent film adaptation, over the last 15 years Russell Tovey has been celebrated for an impressive variety of performances. They include his comic turn in anti-romantic comedy Him & Her, a charmer of a werewolf in Being Human and a husband with a dark secret in ITV’s The Sister. Tovey has also featured in Dr Who and Sherlock, and has played an array of gay/queer characters, from roles in CIA thriller Quantico, relationship drama Looking and BFI Flare 2016 opening night film The Pass featuring Tovey as a troubled footballer to Russell T Davies’ dystopian family drama Years and Years, con-man caper The Good Liar and the National Theatre’s revival of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America.

The Makers

The Makers is a series of conversations offering audiences the opportunity to learn more about key industry figures that have made an important contribution to LGBTIQ+ cinema and television.

Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor 

BFI YouTube, BFI Flare Facebook
Tuesday 23 March, 6:00pm

Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor

Producer and writer Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor joins BFI CEO Ben Roberts to talk about her journey from learning her trade on ‘no-budget’ features M.L.E. (2015) and White Colour Black (2016) to the success of the highly acclaimed feature Blue Story (2019), for which she received a breakthrough producer BIFA nomination. She will also talk about the formation of her production company Joi Productions, which was awarded a BFI Vision Award in 2020.

Joy’s vision is to create commercial content featuring Black, queer and female voices that have not been seen or heard in the UK. She’s an advocate for innovation and taking risks because of her understanding of the audiences searching for the content she provides. 

David France

BFI YouTube, BFI Flare Facebook
Wednesday 24 March, 6:00pm

David France

Oscar-nominated filmmaker, New York Times best-selling author and award-winning investigative journalist David France joins BFI Flare programmer Brian Robinson to discuss his work. This includes How to Survive a Plague (2012 ), a vital chronicle of how a community united to fight for their lives in the face of government resistance to seek new cures for the AIDS epidemic; The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017), which searched for the truth behind the mysterious 1992 death of black transgender activist and Stonewall veteran Marsha P. Johnson; and his latest film Welcome to Chechnya (2020), a powerful and revealing documentary about a group of activists risking their lives to confront ongoing LGBTIQ+ persecution in the Russian republic of Chechnya.

Discursive events

Well Rounded: a conversation

BFI YouTube, BFI Flare Facebook
Saturday 20 March, 2:00pm

Blending interviews with dreamy animation, Well Rounded is a documentary that focuses on fat and fierce babes in Canada who are using their creativity to clap back at a diet culture that seeks to shrink marginalised bodies. Assistant programmer Tara Brown is joined by director Shana Myara and two of the film’s contributors, comedian Candy Palmater and fashion blogger Lydia Okello, alongside psychotherapist and fat activist Dr Charlotte Cooper and Reframing the Fat Body curator Grace Barber-Plentie. Together they will address the film’s themes, including the vital intersections between fatness, race, sexuality and gender. How do we bloom in our creative selves when surrounded by fatphobia? 

Rebel Dykes: a conversation

BFI YouTube, BFI Flare Facebook
Sunday 21 March, 2:00pm

Rebel Dykes is a rabble-rousing documentary that tells the unheard story of a community of dykes who met doing art, music, politics and sex, and how they went on to change their world. Co-directors Harri Shanahan and Sian Williams, and rebel dyke Atalanta Kernick join BFI Flare programmers Jay Bernard and Tara Brown to discuss the making of the film and the story of these kick ass post-punk dykes who shook up London in the 1980s.

BFI Film Academy events

BFI Film Academy presents: Beyond coming of age

Saturday 20 March, 12:00pm 
Live Zoom event – book via Eventbrite

A panel discussion about what happens when you bring a queer perspective to a genre world, spotlighting the filmmakers who are looking beyond ‘coming of age’ stories.

Panelists:
Thomas Wilson-White – director, The Greenhouse, BFI Flare 2021
Thanasis Tsimpinis – director, Escaping the Fragile Planet, BFI Flare 2021
Nosa Eke – director / BFI Flare x BAFTA Crew alumni 2018
Matthew Jacobs Morgan – director / BFI Flare x BAFTA Crew alumni 2018 

BFI Film Academy presents: Family values – Alexa Bakony & Michelle Antoniades in conversation

Saturday 20 March, 3:00pm 
Live Zoom event – book via Eventbrite

A conversation tackling family and queerness on screen from director and producer perspectives.

Panelists: 
Alexa Bakony – director, Colors of Tobi, BFI Flare 2021
Michelle Antoniades – producer, Sweetheart, BFI Flare 2021

Big Gay Film Quiz

BFI Flare Facebook
Monday 22 March, 7:00pm

The biggest and best queer film quiz is back and this time it’s going online. Gather your housemates, Facetime your friends, or simply go solo. Whichever way you choose, be prepared for the ultimate test of your LGBTIQ+ cinema knowledge. We’ll be covering everything from the familiar to the obscure. There’ll definitely be something for everyone, whether you’re a quiz aficionado or a nervous newbie. So grab a pen and some paper, and who knows, you might even learn a thing or two. And remember the one important rule: no googling!

BFI Flare FM

BFI Spotify
17 to 28 March

Although we aren’t able to let loose on the dancefloor at BFI Southbank for the infamous BFI Flare DJ nights this year, head on over to the BFI Spotify page for a selection of playlists from your Flare favourites. They include the dynamic Unskinny Bop duo, Club Kali’s DJ Ritu, Jonathan Kemp & Sadie Lee and R&She, the international queer party that celebrates the Queens of R&B and hip-hop. You will also find some playlists inspired by films in the programme, including a Rebel Dykes playlist by the Sleeze Sisters, DJ Angie and Ellyott and a Well Rounded playlist by Grace Barber-Plentie, which features songs from some of the most iconic fat musicians that have helped shape both music and the way that we think about fatness.

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