• Maysa Monção

Still at home but coming out

Updated: Feb 26

Last Tuesday (23/2) the 35th edition of BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival (17-28 March) unveiled its full programme. For the second time in a row, the film festival will be online, and not in the cinemas. Needless to say that despite this being not ideal, the efforts of the organizers are in tune with the demand. More than ever, film lovers and the UK LGBT community need cultural diffusion and room to express themselves. Judging by the comments during the virtual launch announcement, Flare 2021 will be a success.

This year the festival portrays 26 features and 38 free shorts from 23 countries -- below you can see a still from the Brazilian Valentina (Cássio Pereira dos Santos, 2020), about a young trans activist YouTube star. Tickets go on sale via bfi.org.uk/flare on the 2nd of March.

"Valentina" will be available on BFI Player from: 00:01 Wednesday 17 March until: 23:59 Sunday 28 March.

Apart from Valentina, Amayzing Movies recommends the American documentary Cured (Bennett Singer, Patrick Sammon, 2020) that explores the campaign by key US activists to remove homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s definition of mental illness. Indeed it is quite astonishing that in the 21st century we are still talking about the association of homosexuality and sickness.

Tricia Tuttle, BFI Festivals Director says: “Facing the first lockdown last Spring, and with days until launch, we moved BFI Flare online – one of the first Festivals around the world to do so. Now, a year on, we are launching our second digital edition and Flare’s spirit of community, solidarity, defiance and celebration is more precious than ever, and we’re excited to be able to share that with audiences everywhere in the UK.”

Good festivals not only show movies and promote events but also nurture careers. The BFI Flare in partnership with BFI NETWORK offers a group of emerging LGBTIQ+ filmmakers an opportunity to strengthen and develop their industry knowledge via a mentorship. Making the film industry more representative is key for any community development.

Virtual press and industry screenings on Shift72 begin Monday 15th March through Sun 21st March and the Digital Viewing Library of features will be available from 22nd to 28th March for accredited press and industry delegates. Let's celebrate our indoors coming out!

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