The 35th edition of BFI Flare, London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival, will take place online between 17 and 28 March. One of the oldest and most prestigious queer film festivals in the world, this year there’s another impressive line-up with some of the best new LGBTIQ+ cinema from around the globe. This year, the line-up is split into three strands: Hearts, Minds and Bodies. There’s also a selection of great shorts. We picked out some of the highlights below.
A last party between lifelong theatre geek friends before they scatter to college reveals just how much they don’t know about one another in first-time director Jonathan Wysocki’s warm, funny, and ultimately moving coming-of-age dramedy.
My First Summer
16-year-old Claudia has grown up in isolation from the outside world. Stranded on a remote property after her mother’s death, she is shocked when Grace, a spirited local teen, appears in the garden like a mirage, a breath of fresh, sugary air. The pair find in each other the support, love and intimacy they need, and teach each other the restorative power of human connection. But their idyllic peace is a fragile one as the adult world closes in and threatens their secret summer love.
Cristi a young gendarme from Bucharest keeps his homosexuality secret, since it is a stigma among military ranks. He is in a long-term relationship with Hadi, who lives in another city. The same day Hadi comes to visit him for a few days, Cristi is called in for an intervention at a movie theatre, where an ultra-nationalist, homophobic group has sabotaged the screening of a queer film. When one of the protesters recognises Cristi and threatens to disclose the secret about his sexuality, Cristi is faced with the danger of losing everything he has.
Kiss Me Before It Blows Up
A subversive love story between clashing cultures and families, Kiss Me Before It Blows Up is a romantic misadventure crossing all borders. When two generations of Israeli women fall for a German woman and a Palestinian man, chaos follows. What happens with lovers who don’t fit but do belong together?
Meet Mama Gloria. Chicago’s Black transgender icon Gloria Allen, now in her 70s, blazed a trail for trans people like few others before her. Emerging from Chicago’s South Side drag ball culture in the 1960s, Gloria overcame traumatic violence to become a proud leader in her community.
is a rabble-rousing documentary set in 1980s post-punk London. The unheard story of a community of dykes who met doing art, music, politics and sex, and how they went on to change their world.
I Am Samuel
Samuel grew up on a farm in the Kenyan countryside, where tradition is valued above all else. He moves to Nairobi in search of a new life, where he finds belonging in a community of fellow queer men where he meets and falls in love with Alex. Their love thrives even though Kenyan laws criminalize anyone who identifies as LGBTQ, and together they face threats of violence and rejection. Samuel’s father, a preacher at the local church, doesn’t understand why his son is not yet married and Samuel must navigate the very real risk that being truthful to who he is may cost him his family’s acceptance.
To buy tickets, a festival pass or to find out more, visit the BFI Flare website.