BFI Flare: 'Five Films For Freedom' 2021

Five Films For Freedom, the world’s largest LGBTIQ+ digital campaign, returns for its seventh edition in 2021, reminding audiences that Love is Still a Human Right.


Broadcasting five brand new LGBTIQ+ films to countries around the world, this year’s programme showcases queer storytelling from India, Spain, Sweden, USA and the UK.


In a continuing creative partnership, the British Council has selected five short films from the BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival and will make them available across the British Council’s global digital networks, for free, from 17 - 28 March.

Five Films For Freedom 2021 sees filmmakers exploring emerging sexuality, trans-activism, homophobia and genderless love.

Global audiences are encouraged to show solidarity with LGBTIQ+ communities around the world and view the films via the British Council’s Arts YouTube channel. This year’s campaign acknowledges that links between global LGBTIQ+ communities may have been adversely impacted by restrictions arising from Covid-19. In response, the campaign’s call-to-action – asking audiences to share the films widely using the hashtag #FiveFilmsForFreedom – serves as a timely reminder that Love is Still a Human Right for LGBTIQ+ communities who continue to feel isolated.


In a new twist for 2021, audiences will be invited to nominate their Five Films Favourite, selecting the film that resonates most for them via a British Council web poll. The winning film will be announced via British Council social media channels prior to 28 March. Voting for the Five Films Favourite opens 17 March via the Five Films For Freedom homepage.


Commenting on Five Films For Freedom’s 2021 focus, to support and sustain global LGBTIQ+ connections, the British Council’s Director of Film, Briony Hanson, says:

“After such a remarkable and difficult year, it feels so good to be able to send a positive message of support and solidarity to LGBTIQ+ communities the world over, by inviting audiences everywhere to watch Five Films For Freedom. The range of experiences shown and the diversity of voices reveal that wherever you are, the campaign’s message - that love is still a human right - is more relevant than ever.”

Building on the success of Five Films For Freedom, the British Council, BFI NETWORK and BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival have partnered for a second year to commission three brand new LGBTIQ+ short films from filmmakers from the Middle East and across the African continent working in partnership with filmmakers in the UK. These films, under the banner #MoreFilmsForFreedom, will be launched in Summer 2021.


Five Film For Freedom programme 2021:

  • Bodies of Desire (India/Dir. Varsha Panikar & Saad Nawab), directed by Varsha Panikar and multi-award-winner Saad Nawab, uses Indian poet Panikar’s work as the basis for a visual, poetic film capturing four sets of lovers in a sensual celebration of genderless love and desire.

  • Land of the Free (Sweden/Dir. Dawid Ullgren) - Ullgren’s tense Swedish drama follows the fictional David and friends as they celebrate his birthday with a nightly swim at the beach. The good mood swiftly changes after two straight couples walk by and laugh – was the laughter directed at them, or something else? Who owns the truth of exactly what happened?

  • Pure (USA/Dir. Harris) is the fictional debut from and directed by Harris - a filmmaker passionate about the intersection between filmmaking and social justice.

  • Trans Happiness Is Real (Dir. Quinton Baker) – Young activists in Oxford wage a trans- positive graffiti war after discovering TERF stickers dotted around the city.

  • Victoria (Dir. Daniel Toledo) – A florist receives a surprise visit from her ex-wife, uneasy at the next round of coming out.


Five Films For Freedom continues the British Council’s work building connection, understanding and trust between people in the UK and overseas through arts, education and English language teaching.


For more information on the BFI Flare London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival, visit their website at https://www.bfi.org.uk/flare.

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