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Inclusive narratives celebrated in London with LGBTQ+ film festival


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The BFI Flare LGBTQ+ Film Festival came once more to the BFI Southbank, London, last month.

Image credit: Ponyboi by Madeline Leach

From the 21st to the 31st of March, the festival presented the best of LGBTQ+ cinema, with film screenings every day and an agenda packed with debates, special presentations, quizzes and club nights.

Most importantly, it was a whole week and a half that celebrated and raised awareness of LGBTQ+ film.

Films were divided in three categories: “hearts”, “bodies” and “minds”, though themes transcended seemlessly across the categories: love, friendship, self-discovery, sex, hatred, arts, politics, amongst others.

The first film on the calendar, a romantic drama based on the lesbian love story of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, Vita and Virginia, laid the ground for high-quality inclusions for the rest of the festival.

Across the ten days, the moving rawness and sensibility with which these films were made was admirable. Other films of note included Ponyboi, the first intersex narrative film made by an intersex artist; Infinite While It Lasts, a short film exploring asexuality; JT LeRoy; Two in the Bush: A Love Story, and Splinters, a film that focuses on bisexuality. The list of highlights could go on and on.

Image credit: Ponyboi by Madeline Leach

There were also great opportunities to network and meet some of the masterminds behind the innovate projects shown, including directors, cast members, producers, and the brilliant group of organisers responsible for running this festival each year. BFI Flare is a film festival that is particularly engaging, not only because it educates people in a variety of LGBTQ+ related subjects, but because whilst doing so it promises an atmosphere of lightheartedness and fun.  

A strength of BFI Flare is that it is inclusive for all members of the LGBTQ+ community, addressing not only homosexuality, but bissexual, transexual and asexual stories too. The films presented work to bring forth a huge range of emotions in viewers, from mutual understanding to simple joyfulness, and the realisation that cinema is evolving to celebrate communities that tend to be forgotten in this industry.

The film industry is a prominent and much-admired vehicle for the promotion of values and behaviours in society. Whilst unfortunately there are still underrepresented communities in film, it is comforting to know that queer cinema is being supported and celebrated in the UK.

Breaking barriers and celebrating freedom, and the complexity of the human race - that is the goal of this festival, and it has definitely been achieved this year. 

To access the full programme and more information about the festival, click here

Lead image credit: Ponyboi by Madeline Leach

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