BFI Flare, London’s LGBT+ Film Festival, is back in its 33rd year and will take place from 21st – 31 March 2019.
It will be ten days of films and events for our community, a celebration of all things LGBT that promises to offer a vibrant space for all of us who are able to attend. Flare will also be ten days of seeing people you only see during this festival – and a time to meet up and grab a drink or a cup of coffee in between screenings. It will also be a great opportunity to meet new friends and some of the filmmakers and actors.
BFI Flare will present over 50 features, more than 80 shorts, and a wide range of special events, guest appearances, club nights and much much more. Here is a very brief summary of some of the highlights:
Flare will open with the period drama Vita & Virginia, charting the passionate relationship between Virginia Woolf (played by Elizabeth Debicki) and aristocrat Vita Sackville-West (Gemma Arterton).
A must-see for the gay male crowd will most definitely be Mapplethorpe, which stars sexy Matt Smith as the legendary photographer in this no-holds-barred exploration of the controversial and one of the most feted photographers. Another one for the boys is Papi Chulo which stars Matt Bomer as a heartbroken gay television weatherman who forms an unlikely friendship with an older straight migrant worker.
Another must-see will be the closing night gala screening of JT Leroy. Starring Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart, the film tells the story of how Savannah Knoop (adapted from her memoir) became JT Leroy – a fictional character who came true to life and bedazzled New York’s downtown scene for years.
The UK premiere of Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life takes place during the festival and paints a portrait of one of the world’s most successful gay porn stars – Agassi – in a life of highs and lows.
Anna Paquin and Holliday Grainger portray two women who fall in love in 1950’s Scotland in the film Tell it to the Bees, while in Rafiki two young Kenyan women attempt a relationship despite it being illegal in their country.
On the documentary front, a queer Lucha libre wrestler is profiled in Cassandro, The Exotico, while Halston is a portrait of the American Fashion legend, complete with rare archive footage. Another legend, Montgomery Clift, is profiled in the self-titled film in the search to discover who was the real Clift. Tongues Untied features the work of black gay filmmaker Marlon Riggs, while in Transmilitary, four soldiers risk dismissal to fight for transgender fights in the U.S. armed forces.
Events/debates include: Trans Creative at the Movies: a discussion that will feature transgender moments in film; At Lethal Lesbians will be a talk about how queer females are deadlier than the male species. In Operation Spanner: Then and Now – 16 men were prosecuted in the late 1980s for their participation in consensual S&M sex sessions, will be explored in two short films and in a discussion.
The Big Gay Film Quiz is back as well as the very popular Club Nights that take place in the BFI Southbank’s Benugo Bar & Kitchen – great weekend nights out to let your hair down and boogie the night way.
Also, don’t miss The 25th-anniversary screening of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert which will take place during the festival.
Full details, and to buy tickets, please go to this link:
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.