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BFI Flare, The London LGBT Festival unveils line-up

February 20, 2014

FestivalsFilm + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia


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Last night I had the pleasure to spend some time at BFI Southbank which was hosting the launch event of the 28th annual BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival under the new brand name of BFI Flare, London LGBT Film Festival. I didn’t get a chance to attend last year’s edition of this companion to the major festival that usually runs at the end of March hence I was in the dark on how audiences had been vocal about creating a name that was more inclusive and reflective of the festival line-up’s ever-growing diversity.

Clare Stewart, BFI Head of Cinemas & Festivals kicked off the presentation, announcing this exciting re-branding and unveiling some of the highlights in this year’s interesting and eclectic programme. The Opening Night on March 20th will host the European premiere of Lilting, a poetic drama of love and loss starring Ben Whishaw (pictured below), which marks the feature debut of UK-based Hong Khaou, following two successful shorts that played at previous editions of the festival. The film opened the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival where its gorgeous cinematography by Ula Pontikos (Weekend) won an award.

The Gala Screening hosted by Accenture, the principal sponsor of the festival, is Antonio Hens’ The Last Match, a powerful story about two young men falling in love amidst economic struggle in Cuba and making dangerous choices. On March 30th, the Closing Night will feature 52 Tuesdays by Australian filmmaker Sophie Hyde who won a director’s award at Sundance for her creative and inventively constructed story about a teenager struggling with her mother’s transition from female to male.

The rest of the lively and upbeat team of festival programmers took the stage to announce the content of the main three sections of the festival called Hearts (films about love, romance and friendship), Bodies (stories of sex, identity and transformation) and Minds (reflections on art, politics and community). Each of them provides a wide range of films for all kinds of tastes, including also a series of very interesting short films retrospectives. If you add to all this a well thought out selection of talks, exhibitions and club nights, you know you’re in for a treat.

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Whether you’re gay like me or not, it doesn’t matter. BFI Flare, running from March 20th to March 30th promises to be filled with exclusive and hard-to-miss events for cinema and art lovers. So free your calendars and book your tickets that will go on sale on March 3rd at 12:00pm. However, for a best chance at getting the tickets you’re really interested in, just become a BFI member and get a week of priority booking with no booking fees.

You can browse the full festival line-up here.

Francesco Cerniglia – Film Editor