BFI Flare

Our preview of London’s famous queer film festival.


BFI Flare is the annual LGBT film festival that takes the city by storm every year, bringing the best queer cinema to London from around the world. The internationally renowned ten day event has been running for over thirty years, and has garnered an international reputation for bringing some of the industry’s most valued pieces into the spotlight. They’ll be presenting over fifty feature films, as well as more than 100 shorts. It takes place at the effortlessly slick BFI Southbank, a venue known for its sophisticated, literate crowd and celebrity clientele.

This year, they open with the world premiere of BBC production Against The Law, an intense factual directed by Fergus O’Brien. It’s the story of a gay journalist and their lover who were pressured by authorities, culminating in the Montagu Trial – one of the most notorious court cases of the 1950s. They’ll close the festival in a different vein, with Jennifer Reeder’s Signature Move, an indie-comedy about a Pakistani Muslim woman living in Chicago with her mother.

Every year the festival selects a film to put in the limelight with their sought-after Centrepiece Screening feature. This time around it’s Torrey Pines, a psychedelic stop-motion animation about a child grappling with gender identity. There’s an intriguing film premise for you! There’s also buzz surrounding their world premiere of After Louie, starring Alan Cumming as a New York artist whose life is turned upside down by a much younger man.

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As well as all this, one of the main focuses this year will be there 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Acts, which decriminalized private homosexual acts in England and Wales. BFI Flare will be marking this in a number of ways throughout the festival, with talks, screenings, and a new season of screenings in July and August.

They’ll also be revisiting their wonderfully unique BFI Flare Club Nights, on Friday 17th, Saturday 18th, Thursday 23rd, Friday 24th and Saturday 25th. The nights have grown in popularity over the years, and are a great place for stimulating conversation and like-minded people. They’ll be at Benugo Lounge and Riverfront, with DJs including Pink Glove, Club Khali, BBZ, and Sadie Lee. 

• For more info, listings and tickets, head to bfi.org.uk/flare

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