Films - BFI Flare Events

The 35th BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival, which launched yesterday, has announced free online events to tie in with the film festival...

Press Release

The 12-day event, which brings the best new LGBTIQ+ cinema from around the world via BFI Player to UK-wide audiences will include a new Screen Talk with stage, film and television actor Russell Tovey and, as part of BFI Flare’s The Makers series, conversations with award-winning filmmaker, journalist and author David France (Welcome to Chechnya) and writer-producer Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor (Blue Story). All of the special events are available for free for audience via BFI YouTube and BFI Flare Facebook channels.

Other highlights include discussions with the directors and BFI Flare programmers for the films WELL ROUNDED and REBEL DYKES, both screening at the Festival. BFI Film Academy will also return with events for young creatives and the BFI Flare community can indulge in their love of trivia and music as the popular Big Gay Film Quiz is back and BFI Flare FM will keep everyone moving to the beats of their favourite BFI Flare dance party DJs over on the BFI’s Spotify page. Tickets for the feature films can be purchased via


BFI Flare Screen Talks offer a series of in-depth interviews with leaders in contemporary cinema and, on Friday 26th March at 7pm, Russell Tovey discusses his stage and screen career via BFI YouTube and BFI Flare Facebook.

First coming to prominence as Rudge in the National Theatre’s production of The History Boys, along with its subsequent film adaptation, over the last 15 years Russell Tovey has been celebrated for an impressive variety of performances. They include his comic turn in anti-romantic comedy Him & Her, a charmer of a werewolf in Being Human and a husband with a dark secret in ITV’s The Sister. Tovey has also featured in Dr Who and Sherlock, and has played an array of gay/queer characters, from roles in CIA thriller Quantico, relationship drama Looking and BFI Flare 2016 Opening Night Film The Pass featuring Tovey as a troubled footballer to Russell T Davies’ dystopian family drama Years And Years, con-man caper The Good Liar and the National Theatre’s revival of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America.


The Makers is a series of conversations offering audiences the opportunity to learn more about key industry figures that have made an important contribution to LGBTIQ+ cinema and television.


Producer and writer Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor joins BFI CEO Ben Roberts via BFI YouTube and BFI Flare Facebook on Tuesday 23rd March at 6pm to talk about her journey from learning her trade on ‘no-budget’ features M.L.E. (2015) and White Colour Black (2016) to the success of the highly acclaimed feature Blue Story (2019), for which she received a Breakthrough Producer BIFA nomination. She will also talk about the formation of her production company Joi Productions, which was awarded a BFI Vision Award in 2020.

Joy's vision is to create commercial content featuring Black, Queer and Female voices that have not been seen or heard in the UK. She's an advocate for innovation and taking risks because of her understanding of the audiences searching for the content she provides.


Oscar-nominated filmmaker, New York Times best-selling author and award-winning investigative journalist David France joins BFI Flare Programmer Brian Robinson to discuss his work via BFI YouTube and BFI Flare Facebook on Wednesday 24th March at 6pm. These include How to Survive a Plague (2012 ), a vital chronicle of how a community united to fight for their lives in the face of government resistance to seek new cures for the AIDS epidemic, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017), which searched for the truth behind the mysterious 1992 death of black transgender activist and Stonewall veteran Marsha P. Johnson, and his latest film Welcome to Chechnya (2020), a powerful and revealing documentary about a group of activists risking their lives to confront ongoing LGBTIQ+ persecution in the Russian republic of Chechnya.


WELL ROUNDED: A CONVERSATION happens on BFI YouTube and BFI Flare Facebook on Saturday 20th March at 2pm.

Blending interviews with dreamy animation, Well Rounded is a documentary that focuses on fat and fierce babes in Canada who are using their creativity to clap back at a diet culture that seeks to shrink marginalised bodies. Assistant Programmer Tara Brown is joined by director Shana Myara and two of the films contributors, comedian Candy Palmater and fashion blogger Lydia Okello, alongside psychotherapist and fat activist Dr Charlotte Cooper and Reframing the Fat Body curator Grace Barber-Plentie. Together they will address the film’s themes, including the vital intersections between fatness, race, sexuality and gender. How do we bloom in our creative selves when surrounded by fatphobia?

REBEL DYKES: A CONVERSATION is the next day, Sunday 21st March, again at 2pm on BFI YouTube and BFI Flare Facebook 

Rebel Dykes is a rabble-rousing documentary that tells the unheard story of a community of dykes who met doing art, music, politics and sex, and how they went on to change their world. Co-directors Harri Shanahan and Sian Williams, and rebel dyke Atalanta Kernick join BFI Flare Programmers Jay Bernard and Tara Brown to discuss the making of the film and the story of these kick ass post-punk dykes who shook up London in the 1980s.

There are also some BFI FILM ACADEMY LIVE ZOOM EVENTS planned, which are free but ticketed and you can book these here.

BEYOND COMING OF AGE on Saturday 20th March at noon is a panel discussion about what happens when you bring a queer perspective to a genre world, spotlighting the filmmakers who are looking beyond ‘coming of age’ stories.


· Thomas Wilson-White — Director, The Greenhouse, BFI Flare 2021
· Thanasis Tsimpinis — Director, Escaping the Fragile Planet, BFI Flare 2021
· Nosa Eke — Director / BFI Flare x BAFTA Crew alumni 2018
· Matthew Jacobs Morgan — Director / BFI Flare x BAFTA Crew alumni 2018

FAMILY VALUES on Saturday 20th March at 3pm features Alexa Bakony & Michelle Antoniades in conversation, tackling family and queerness on screen from director and producer perspectives.


· Alexa Bakony – Director, Colors of Tobi, BFI Flare 2021
· Michelle Antoniades – Producer, Sweetheart, BFI Flare 2021


The biggest and best queer film quiz is back and this time it’s going online through BFI Flare Facebook page on Monday 22nd March at 7pm. Gather your housemates, Facetime your friends, or simply go solo. Whichever way you choose, be prepared for the ultimate test of your LGBTIQ+ cinema knowledge. Questions cover everything from the familiar to the obscure so there’ll definitely be something for everyone, whether you’re a quiz aficionado or a nervous newbie. Grab a pen and some paper, and who knows, you might even learn a thing or two. And remember the one important rule: no googling!


Finally, although we can't yet let loose on the dancefloor at the BFI Southbank for the infamous BFI Flare DJ Nights this year, head on over to the BFI Spotify page for a selection of playlists from your Flare favourites. They include the dynamic Unskinny Bop duo, Club Kali’s DJ Ritu, Jonathan Kemp & Sadie Lee and R&She, the international queer party that celebrates the Queens of R&B and Hip-hop. You will also find some playlists inspired by films in the programme, including a Rebel Dykes playlist by the Sleeze Sisters, DJ Angie and Ellyott and a Well Rounded playlist by Grace Barber-Plentie, which features songs from some of the most iconic fat musicians that have helped shape both music and the way that we think about fatness.

BFI Flare: London LBGTIQ+ Film Festival runs until Sunday 28th March 202. Find out more.

Images - Russell Tovey photo credit: Jason Dimmock / David France image: Courtesy of David France, rest BFI Flare.
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