Full program announced for 36th BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival
The 36th edition of IBF Rocket: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival unveiled its complete program tonight with a launch event at IBF Southbank as well as on IBF FlareFacebook and IBF Youtube. One of the largest and longest running queer film events in the world this year IBF Flare will take place face-to-face, and will also offer a selection of titles available on IBF Player at UKto a wide audience, and to international audiences through Five Films for Freedom – now in its seventh year, in partnership with the British Council. This year features 6 world premieres, 56 feature films and 84 short films from 42 countries, with tickets going on sale via bfi.org.uk/flare on February 24.
As previously announced, IBF Flare opens Wednesday, March 16 with the UK premiere of Alli Haapasalo’s award-winning coming-of-age drama Girl Picture, about three girls on the dawn of womanhood, which won the Sundance Cinema Drama Audience Award and just screened at the Berlinale. The festival closes on Saturday March 26 with the world premiere of Kevin Hegge’s feature-length documentary TRAMPS!, a look at 1980s London and the unique cross-fertilization of British art, fashion, music and film that culminated in the ‘New Romantics’.
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Other world premiere screenings at the festival include Jean Carlomusto’s Esther Newton Made Me Gay, who exudes wisdom, passionate research and a healthy dose of New York savvy in this celebratory portrait of the pioneering octogenarian American scholar whose the work of life formed the foundation of LGBTQIA+ cultural anthropology. Director Matt Carter’s In from the Side explores the lives of a gay London rugby team, both on and off the pitch, revealing the many different games people play. Two young men learn to navigate Iranian courts to begin their transition in Saeed Gholipour’s documentary This Is Not Me; and Jacquie Lawrence’s Gateways Grind joins Sandi Toksvig on a journey through lesbian London to uncover the history of the legendary Gateways club, one of the oldest lesbian clubs of all time, and the women who drank, danced and loved inside.
This year IBF The Flare program demonstrates how the richness and diversity LGBTQIA+ stories in the film can be. For so long, queer stories have been largely hidden. It took generations of individual and community bravery, ingenuity and struggle to make these stories visible. This 2022 edition includes untold stories; both imagined and those that explore personal truths and stories, bringing to light the LGBTQIA+ champions of the past.
The festival features a compelling selection of documentaries that uncover lost or hidden queer family histories. Jimmy’s world premiere in Saigon sees filmmaker Peter McDowell embark on a heartfelt journey to understand the truth behind his brother’s mysterious death, while Robin Hunzinger’s startlingly poetic film Ultraviolette and the Blood-Spitters Gang brings the long-hidden story of her Marcelle, grandmother’s rebellious schoolgirl sweetheart in the 1920s. Plus, the international premiere of It Runs in the Family tells the richly textured story of a queer filmmaker who discovers that it is linked to a long-forgotten pioneer of Caribbean cinema, Oscar Torres.
The European premiere of Boulevard! A Hollywood Story is the latest documentary from IBF Flare favorite Jeffrey Schwarz (I Am Divine, Tab Hunter Confidential), who uncovers some of Hollywood’s hidden queer history and proves that life does indeed imitate art.
Framing Agnes is Chase Joynt’s anticipated sequel to No Ordinary Man, which screened at IBF Flare last year. An intriguing recreation of forgotten trans history, co-written with Morgan M Page, and starring Zackary Drucker, Angelica Ross and Silas Howard.
This year IBF The Flare program also looks at the queer women who have shaped the face of modern music, without always getting the credit they deserve. Invisible: Gay Women in Southern Music is a light-hearted celebration of the unsung heroes behind some of country music’s biggest hits of the past four decades, and Fanny: The Right to Rock is a celebration of the 1970s rock band that was l one of the first all-girl groups to release an album in the weand were championed by David Bowie, who claimed they were as important as the Beatles.
For those who like their music heavy, Sirens is a lively, loud and thought-provoking documentary straight out of Sundance about an all-female Middle Eastern queer thrash rock band from Lebanon, while Leigh Brooks’ The Sound of Scars, a captivating chronicle of the metal group Life of Agony, whose singer Mina Caputo came out as transgender in 2011.
Screening is also Charli XCX: Alone Together is a warm DIY Bradley documentary & Pablo following acclaimed pop star Charli XCXwho teamed up with her legions of queer fans around the world to create a new album during the 2020 lockdown.
This inspiring selection of musical documentaries is contextualized by a IBF Flare-themed event, Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves: Queer Women in Music, helping to raise the profile of queer women working at the heart of the industry today.
The screening of the archives is Mohamed Camara’s 1997 queer African cinema classic, Dakan. Dubbed West Africa’s first film on homosexuality, this is an opportunity to reevaluate the significance of Dakan, a film that was funded by the Guinean government and was the subject of protests during of its production.
Presented in partnership with African Odysseys, Madame Satã is Karim Aïnouz’s bold, beautiful and epic tale of an extraordinary and notorious Brazilian nightlife legend, criminal, queen and folk heroine of Rio de Janeiro’s bohemian underworld. The film is followed by a Questions and answers discussion with Aïnouz and lead actor Lázaro Ramos discussing how LGBTQIA+ and representations of race in Brazil have evolved in the 20 years since its Cannes premiere.
“A recurring theme in IBF Flare 2022 is the rediscovery of forgotten queer histories and the recognition of LGBTQIA+ pioneers whose pioneering work has so often been overlooked,” says Michael Blyth, IBF Main programmer of Flare. “By reflecting on the past, we can better understand the present, appreciate how far we’ve come, while recognizing how much there is still to do. At the heart of this year’s festival is a glorious celebration of a collective queer history that we cannot take for granted.
Tricia Tuttle, IBF The Director of Festivals, says: “We are all looking forward to welcoming the public back to an in-person event. IBF Flare, our first since 2019, and with the bonus of online screenings for the public who cannot go on site, wherever they are in the UK. And this year’s program truly offers something for every queer audience and movie fan – engaging personal stories and bold, adventurous films.
Now in its eighth year, the IBF Rocket x BAFTA Crew Mentoring Program in partnership with IBF NETWORKwhich discovers, develops and funds new and emerging filmmakers through National Lottery funding, offers six emerging programs LGBTQIA+ filmmakers the opportunity to strengthen and develop their industry knowledge and professional relationships. Selected mentees will receive year-round mentorship from a senior industry leader, as well as a tailored program of workshops and 1-2-1 meetings, masterclasses and talks festival accreditation, and access to BAFTAprogram of events throughout the year. Previous program mentors have included Luca Guadagnino, Kate Herron Oliver Hermanus, Isaac Julien, Desiree Akhavan and Russell T Davies.
For professionals working in the film and screen industries, this year IBF The Flare industry program will be back with delegate networking and dedicated events. Press and industry screenings will return to IBF Southbank and the digital visualization library will be powered by Shift72. Full IBF The lineup of Flare industry programs will be announced in the coming weeks.
Once again, IBF Flare will be in partnership with the British Council for Five Films for Freedom, which is making five LGBTQIA+ thematic short films available for the whole world to watch online for free for the duration of the festival. Available internationally via the British Council’s YouTube channel, Five Films for Freedom has been on the air since 2015 and the program has seen nearly 15 million people view the films in over 200 countries and principalities, including many parts of the world. where homosexuality is criminalized, and in some cases, punishable by death.
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Originally published: February 15, 2022