35th BFI Flare's LGBTIQ+ London Film Festival 2021

This year BFI Flare's LGBTIQ+ London Film Festival celebrates its 35th Edition with a empowering showcase of cinema, beginning from 17th – 28th March 2021.

What is BFI Flare?

BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival is the UK’s longest running queer film event. It began in 1986 as Gay’s Own Pictures. By its 3rd edition it was tagged the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and since then has grown to become the largest LGBTIQ+ film event in the UK, and its most anticipated.

The Festival changed its name to BFI Flare in 2014 to reflect the increasing diversity of its films, filmmakers and audience. The festival is programmed by Jay Bernard, Michael Blyth, Zorian Clayton, Brian Robinson, Emma Smart and guest programmer Tara Brown, led by Festivals Director, Tricia Tuttle.

This Years Programme.

One of the key themes emerging from this year’s programme is strong representation of significant individuals and communities whose lives and work have had an impact on queer history and the ongoing fight for change and equality.

Two exciting world premieres from the UK include:

Peeter Rebane’s lavishly told feature debut FIREBIRD, a touching love story set at the height of the Cold War, where a troubled soldier (Tom Prior) forms a forbidden love triangle with a daring fighter pilot (Oleg Zagorodnii) and his female comrade (Diana Pozharskaya) amid the dangerous surroundings of a Soviet Air Force Base.

Harri Shanahan and Sian A. Williams’ rousing feature documentary REBEL DYKES is a joyful and colourful history of post-punk dyke culture in the UK. Harnessing the anarchic energy and creativity of London in the early 1980s, REBEL DYKES mixes first person testimonies, animation and unseen archive to tell the stories of those artists, performers, musicians, sex workers and activists who lived it, and together, found their chosen family.

You can watch the full programme launch below:

This years programme is divided into three thematic strands: HEARTS, BODIES and MINDS. For more information on this years films Click Here.

Celebrating the Unheard.

This year’s programme also celebrates and elevates individuals whose lives and accomplishments are perhaps less well known but who deserve to be championed, such as Gloria Allen, Connie Norman and Billy Tipton. Activists and campaigners Dr. Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings are also featured, as well as queer icons including ground breaking German Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Moomin’s creator Tove Jansson.

Highlights that celebrate the legacy of these trailblazers include:

A Los Angeles Act-Up organiser is remembered for her fierce resistance to both transphobia and the AIDS virus in AIDS DIVA: THE LEGEND OF CONNIE NORMAN (Dir. Dante Alencastre).

CURED (Dirs. Patrick Sammon, Bennett Singer) – This astonishingly rich documentary explores the campaign by key U.S. activists to remove homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s definition of mental illness.

MAMA GLORIA, Director Luchina Fisher’s endearing documentary portrait shows how fighter, organiser and survivor Gloria Allen has become a local hero to younger Chicagoan trans women.