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It has been announced that London-set gay football drama The Pass starring Russell Tovey will open the BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival next month.

The movie revolves around Tovey’s character Jason, a premier league footballer who spends a secret intimate night with one of his teammates, played by Arinze Kene, before his first big international match.

The story, based on a Royal Court play by Jack Donnelly, then charts a tortured decade for the pair in a sport that still has very few openly gay players.

Producer Duncan Kenworthy said: “As a season ticket holder of a major Premier League Club, I know just how much interest there is in the question of why no currently-playing Premier League player has come out – or has felt able to come out – as gay.

“The Pass is by no means an issue film, but John Donnelly’s wonderful screenplay puts very handsome flesh on the bones of this modern anomaly, imagining the pain, passion and complexity of the lives of elite footballers always inches away from fame or failure, and wondering whether honesty is worth the price.”

The similarly themed Australian film Holding The Man explores similar territory for two young rugby players, and features Guy Pearce, Geoffrey Rush and Kerry Fox.

Other highlights of the 11 day festival, now in its 30th year, include a revealing documentary about photographer-provocateur Robert Mapplethorpe, a sing-a-long screening of Calamity Jane and screenings of recent hits Carol and Tangerine.

The Pass will screen at the Odeon Leicester Square on Wednesday 16th March 2016.

The BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival runs from 16-27 March. Tickets go on sale to the public from 29 February, while BFI members can book from 24 February.

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