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BFI Flare Film Festival and British Council share this year’s #FiveFilmsForFreedom

On Sunday evening, as part of the BFI Flare London Film Festival and in partnership with the British Council, excerpts from five short films which recognise and celebrate queer lives were projected onto the Tower of London.

The films from up-and-coming young filmmakers and directors showcase a broad range of LGBTQ+ experiences from all over the world, exploring the diversity of global queer narratives.

From India, Canada, South Korea, Greece and the UK, the films celebrate free love and are free to watch online from March 26 until April 1. During this time the films will be promoted across an impressive network of over 100 countries, including Europe, the Middle East, India, China and the Americas.

Already in its fourth year, the initiative has reached thousands of people all over the world. Last year the films were viewed almost 2 million times in 202 countries, including locations where homosexuality is still criminalised.

With content ranging from secretive, stolen kisses between a girl and her housemaid, members of the British farming community caught snogging by their shocked and horrified and families, a South Korean man attempting to conceal any evidence of his partner when his mother unexpectedly pays a visit – and a goldfish named Tom Daley – the films really do capture the uneven variety and depth of queer experience globally.

One of the films available to watch online is the Indian coming of age tale, Goddess. Karishma Dev Dube’s film is set in Delhi and tells the story of Tara, a rebellious, closeted lesbian teenager who elicits a romance with her housemaid, Devi. But the relationship becomes entangled in complications when the couple are caught together at a family dinner party.

A story about the complications of family, cultural tradition and the struggling with identity, Goddess packs a host of important issues into its 13 minutes.

Sunday evening’s short screenings were well received by the public, with their political impact and cultural resonance being a particular highlight.

Minister for Equalities Baroness Williams said that she was delighted that the government had chosen to support BFI Flare and highlighted how important it was to make films like these widely available:

‚ÄúThese films present a chance for everyone to engage with the issues facing the community‚ÄĚ, she said.

‚ÄúProjecting them onto one of the capital‚Äôs most recognisable sites, the Tower of London, makes a real statement to British people and those visiting London about their importance and relevance.‚ÄĚ

A coordinated effort from the British Council’s global network of over 100 countries will encourage people to watch the films in solidarity with LGBTQ+ communities. The campaign will ask audiences to share the films using the hashtag #FiveFilms4Freedom in recognition of the fact that Love is a Human Right.

Last year, the films were viewed 1.8 million times by people in 202 countries and principalities, including parts of the world where homosexuality is criminalised, and in some cases punishable by the death penalty.


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