One of the world’s longest running LGBT film festivals, BFI Flare London returns on March 19th, 2015, with over 50 features and 100 shorts. This 10-day festival is one of the UK’s most beloved, showcasing the latest and greatest of LGBT cinema from around the globe. Specials guests this year include Gus Van Sant protégé Justin Kelly, director of I Am Micheal, Jeffrey Schwarz and Tab Hunter of Tab Hunter Confidential, Mark Christopher, director of 54: The Director’s Cut, and Colin Rothbart, with his new film, Dressed As A Girl.
This year’s films and shorts have been grouped into themes, entitled HEARTS, MINDS, and BODIES. Notable films in this year’s programme include the UK premiere of director Mark Christopher’s 54: The Director’s Cut. A film that originally debuted in 1998, it was re-shot, re-editing, and modified greatly from the director’s original vision. 17 years later, Mark Christopher brings about 36 minutes of cut footage back into this cult film, which stars Ryan Philppe, Breckin Meyer, and Salma Hayek.
In the MINDS category, the 2104 America satire Dear White People presents a mixed race film student in a predominantly white Ivy League college. The BODIES category shares another American film, Drunktown’s Finest. Director Sydney Freeland’s debut, the film tells the story of three young Navajo struggling with life on the reservation.
This year’s festival also showcases an award-winning short, Silverlake Life: The View From Here. This touching short film is a video diary about life with AIDS between lovers Tom Joslin and Mark Massi.
Surrounding the films in this year’s programme, many BFI Flare sponsors are hosting lavish galas. The Opening Night Gala features the provocative film I Am Michael, starring James Franco and Zachary Quinto. Principal sponsor Accenture hosts the Accenture Gala, with a screening of the witty Do I Sound Gay? The Centerpiece Screening gala features a touching look at LGBT issues in Kenya through the film Stories of Our Lives. And finally, the Closing Night Gala presents Out to Win, a documentary about homosexuality in sports.
There’s no shortage of activities at this year’s BFI Flare, as the show is also presenting a variety of events honouring past works. In celebration of its 40th anniversary, the Rocky Horror Party sends its guests on a time warp, with music provided by DJs Sadie Lee and Jonathan Kemp. For a lesbian-themed party, there’s also the Xena-themed Warrior Women Party, a costume party in honour of cinema and television’s powerful women.
Five films are to be made available free of charge to a worldwide audience and actively promoted in more than 70 countries, the British Council and the British Film Institute has announced. Each film will be on the BFI player during the 10-day festival and on Wednesday 25 March there will be a “fiveFilms4freedom” campaign day, when people will be encouraged via social media to come together to watch a film.
The five films chosen are Chance, a self-funded film by Jake Graf about two older men with troubled pasts finding love after a chance encounter in a park; Code Academy, about a girl masquerading as a boy in cyberspace to get the girl of her dreams; Morning is Broken, a coming of age drama set in the English countryside; True Wheel, a documentary about a Detroit bicycle workshop for the city’s gay, transgender and women’s communities; and An Afternoon, about a teenage boy plucking up the courage to tell another boy how much he fancies him.
Film Festivals Location
As the home of Europe’s largest LGBT population, London is a sophisticated and stylish gay-friendly destination. With literally hundreds of gay pubs and venues, the city is colourful and welcoming. Journey through SoHo, London’s gay mecca, to find a wide variety of clubs, bars, theatres, restaurants, and entertainment. By nightfall, the Vauxhall neighbourhood is the perfect destination. This lively section of the city is home to the most gay night clubs and discos, keeping the party alive deep into the night.
Film Festivals Hotels
Make your BFI Flare festival visit a luxury affair with a stay in The Goring Hotel. This five-star palace has been owned and operated by one prestigious London family for over 100 years. Lavish in stately rooms that have welcomed world leaders, Presidents, and celebrities alike. For a more casual boutique hotel experience, there’s the gay friendly myhotel Bloomsbury. Offering 78 well-appointed guest rooms, the hotel has a modern and comfortable feel, making this a perfect home away from home during your London stay. Guests staying in fashionable Mayfair will enjoy the stylish and historic Connaught Hotel. Steeped in traditional and modern luxury, The Connaught is recognized for its impeccable service.
London pictures reproduced courtesy of Gianni Malnati