BFI Flare: LGBTIQ+ Film Festival returns

Posted on 11 March 2021
By Olivia Houghton
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Flare film festival returns for its 35th year. The annual event will take place online this year and will run between the 17th – 28th of March, 2021.

BFI is the UK’s lead organisation for film, television and moving image. Flare festival is London’s longest running LGBTIQ+ event. Launching in 1986 as ‘Gay’s Own Pictures’, BFI Flare now celebrates its thirty-fifth birthday.

BFI will deliver virtual premieres of the best new LGBTIQ+ cinema and will feature films from around the world. They are hosting their most accessible version of the festival to date; it will include twenty-six features and thirty-eight free shorts. These will range from twenty-three different countries. The festival will be available through BFI Player to a UK-wide audience.

A key theme emerging from this year’s programme is the representation of prominent individuals and communities who have had an impact on Queer past and present. BFI strives to celebrate and elevate individuals who accomplishments are less well known but deserve to be championed. There will be highlights to celebrate icons like Gloria Allen and Billy Tipton which are presented in titles such as ‘Mama Gloria’ and ‘No Ordinary Man’.

The festival’s full programme is divided into three thematic strands: Hearts, bodies and minds.

Hearts includes films about love, romance and friendships. Titles you can expect to see under Hearts includes ‘Boy Meets Boy’ – which follows two young men who fall for each other in the course of a single day.

Bodies involves themes surrounding sex, identity and transformation. ‘Cowboys’ is a gripping thriller about a father and son who attempt to escape a mother who’s unwilling to accept her child’s gender dysphoria.

Reflections of art, politics and community will feature in Minds. ‘Poppy Field’ is based on a true story and weighs up the professional demands of a closeted police officer when his work and personal life clash.

Flare’s Shorts programme is split across seven thematic selections. These will exhibit themes such as the blurred lines between love and friendship, and the trials and triumphs of being your true self.

BFI’s Senior programmer, Michael Blyth said:

“From snappy shorts to sprawling features, BFI Flare is a true celebration of the best in contemporary queer cinema, here to showcase extraordinary filmmaking talent, and to entertain and inspire audiences. In amongst the many stories on offer, this year’s programme shines an essential spotlight on a host of pioneering LGBTIQ+ icons that have come before, reminding us all that we must understand our past if we are to change our future.”

Despite the current climate of the country and what seems like an infinite lockdown, BFI and Flare creators have brought us a jam-packed festival, falling no-where near short of diversity, creativity and expression.

If you wish to virtually attend Flare Festival, tickets are available now to purchase via phone. Call  020 7928 3232 to secure your seat, tickets start at £5. For more information visit