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Every year we endeavour to curate a Festival that speaks to anyone and everyone who occupies a space under the LGBTIQ+ umbrella.

From the BFI

A hug. This year we challenged design company Studio Moross to find its graphic representation for our BFI Flare 2020 cover art... ’cos who in the UK doesn’t need a hug after the last few years, eh?

By turns tender and playful, when consensual a hug reassures, restores and renews; it’s an act of intimacy, community, family. And that’s what BFI Flare represents to so many of us – a special kind of queer family and cultural community. That’s also a quality which makes the Pureland Foundation such a perfect Main Supporter for the Festival, with their commitment to empowerment and social wellbeing. We’re so hugely grateful for their continued support.

On top of the moving, intelligent and sharply relevant programme of films and events, we’re excited about More Films For Freedom, an evolution of our international short film series FiveFilms, delivered with British Council. This year, together with BFI NETWORK – the BFI’s National Lottery-funded talent programme – we’ve paired UK filmmakers with counterparts in the Middle East and Africa, and funded their collaborations to bring new global queer stories to the screen.

Flare is also a time to celebrate the development of UK queer-identified filmmakers and we’re proud to see our BAFTA/BFI Flare Mentorship alumni thriving. Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, Amrou Al-Kadhi and Lindsey Dryden have all had successes with new film and TV projects this year, while Dionne Edwards and Aleem Khan have debut features coming soon.

You give them much confidence that they have a community behind them. So, see you on the Southbank for BFI Flare’s warm embrace in March – great cinema, safe spaces for discovery and debate, and a rollicking good time in one of the most inclusive queer environments around.

Tricia Tuttle, BFI Festivals Director and
Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive

From the BFI Flare programmers

Activism, resistance and rebellion are key themes running throughout this year’s programme, with a number of inspiring and timely films telling stories of brave individuals and communities that will not give up in the ongoing fight for change.

Our Centrepiece Screening, Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen, is both an enlightening history lesson and a call to arms for better, more positive representation. Isabel Sandoval’s Lingua Franca, about an undocumented Filipina transwoman living in New York, is a deeply personal study of structural disempowerment in contemporary America. Steelers: The World’s First Gay Rugby Club is a heartfelt celebration of sportspeople determined to squash stereotypes and break barriers.

The joyous and inspirational We Are the Radical Monarchs follows several young women of colour in Oakland fighting for social justice. While Pride & Protest offers a fascinating look at Britain’s LGBTIQ+ Black and POC community. That’s just to name a few...

Screening the films is just the first step. It’s the conversations that take place after the lights come up that truly make the difference – be those in the form of the many Q&As we host with visiting filmmakers, our various panel discussions and special events, or simply the casual conversations that take place in the bar between you, our audiences.

As programmers we are honoured to give a platform to a vast range of work that will educate, excite, provoke and motivate. The rest is up to you. We may well live in troubled times, but if you want to be inspired you’ve come to the right place.

Jay Bernard, Michael Blyth, Tara Brown, Zorian Clayton, Brian Robinson, Emma Smart, Festival Programmers

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