Flare turns 30 this year. And what is Flare you might ask? It’s London’s LGBT Film Festival. Flare starts on Wednesday March 16th and continues up until Sunday March 27th. That’s ten jam-packed days of films, seminars, parties, and just plain lots of fun!
Flare is one of the world’s longest running and largest LGBT Film Festival. There will be over 50 features and more than 100 shorts (by filmmakers from all over the world such as Israel to Spain to Australia), and a wide range of special events, guest appearances, discussions, workshops and club nights. It’s divided into three themed sections: Hearts, Minds and Bodies.
The opening night gala is the world premiere of ‘The Pass.’ A debut by director Ben A Williams, ‘The Pass’ stars Russell Tovey as a closeted football player who’s secretly in love with a fellow player. It’s sure to continue the conversation going about if there are any active gay footballers currently playing in the sport.
The closing night gala is ‘Summertime,’ an acclaimed French romantic drama between two feminists in Paris in 1971.
Other movie highlights include:
‘Bare’ – A small town girl meets a rough and charming female pimp who challenges her to take charge of her own destiny. It stars Dianna Agron (Glee).
‘Coming Out’ – A young man’s video diary of his process of coming out to his friends and family.
‘Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures’ – documents the legendary photographers graphic work.
‘Naz & Maalik’ – a heartwarming story about the love and romance between two gay teen muslim teens in Brooklyn.
‘Closet Monster’ – A coming-of-age drama about a young boy struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. It features the voice of Isabella Rossellini as a talking hamster!
‘Carmen Tropical’ – a trans woman is drawn back to her past after the murder of her friend in this Mexican thriller.
‘Inside the Chinese Closet’ – a documentary that explores being gay in China’s homophobic society.
‘From Afar’ – A story between a middle-aged man and a 17-year old rent boy.
‘The Chambermaid Lynn’ – A former psychiatric patient becomes obsessed with guests at a hotel where she works.
‘Holding the Man’ – A 15-year old student falls in love with an older rugby player and faces challenges that might tear them apart. Guy Pearce, Anthonly LaPaglia, and Geoffrey Rush feature in the movie.
‘Rebel Dykes’ – A 2016 documentary that pieces together the history of lesbian London in the 1980’s.
‘Nasty Baby’ – A young woman enlists her gay best friend to have a baby with. Starring Kristen Wiig.
There are also 12 programs of short films including ‘What Others Think’ which explores how others perceive the LGBT community.
Film festival-goes will also have a chance to watch previously released LGBT films including Xavier Dolan’s first film ‘I Killed My Mother,’ ‘Grandma’ with Lily Tomlin, the recent award-winning ‘Carol,’ and the highly-acclaimed film about two Los Angeles transgender prostitutes in ‘Tangerine.’
The festival will also shine a spotlight on transgender issues with ‘Transform,’ a series of events on trans acting on screen. Attending will be Silas Howard, a trans director on the award-winning hit show ‘Transparent.’ There will also be a live event called ‘XO LGBTQ Pitch’ where LGBT creative media professionals live pitch ideas for new interactive and games projects with LGBTQ content to commissioners. In addition, industry delegates will have access to a range of special talks and events. The BFI Flare LGBT Filmmakers’ Mentorship Programme, delivered by BAFTA with funding from Creative Skillset, helps talented LGBT identified filmmakers build professional skills and networks. LGBT film gets an International spotlight with the return of fiveFilm4freedom. This ground-breaking project developed in association with the British Council sees five LGBT short films from BFI Flare available online for free throughout the Festival. And on the festival’s last day, Easter Sunday, all film are just £8.
To buy tickets, and learn more about the festival, please click here.
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.