BFI Flare 2014: London LGBT Film Festival Preview

by Maryann O'Connor on 20/03/2014

BFI Flare

Today marks the beginning of eleven days of the most inclusive film programming you could hope to find on the riverside of this fair city, BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival. Tonight sees the European premiere of Lilting; a study of communication and grief by director Hong Khaou with cinematography by Sundance award winning Ula Pontikos (Weekend) and starring Ben Whishaw.

Lilting opens the festival but is by no means alone in being a highlight of the ten days. Looking through the programme you would be hard pressed to choose which events to go to and in fact many of the films have already sold out.

There are five films which strike me as compulsive viewing, whenever you might get the chance to see them;


You’ve probably heard plenty about this high school comedy in which the popular girls are falling over themselves to obtain the ultimate validation for their teenaged lives; the gay best friend. All the festival blurb suggests that G.B.F. can be compared with the best of teen comedies. We shall see.

Croc-A-Dyke Dundee, The Legend of Dawn O’Donnell

A convent girl runs away to be an ice skater and eventually turns Sydney into “one of the gayest cities in the world”. Surprisingly this is a documentary rather than a supreme work of fiction, telling the life of businesswoman Dawn O’Donnell, who apparently acted as inspiration for The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I believe that the excellent title alone provides reason enough to see this documentary.


San Francisco in 1985. Dancing and the impact of H.I.V; Light and dark.

The Abominable Crime + Veil of Silence

Technically two documentaries but being shown together owing to their joint focus on the impact of violent and all-pervasive homophobia in Jamaica and Nigeria and the brave people who fight this injustice despite the great personal cost. The law, both old and new, has a lot to answer for.

52 Tuesdays

Billie’s mum Jane is making the transition to being a man, a long held desire, or necessity to truly live his life. Billie goes to live with her Dad, leaving Jane, now known as James, to sort his life out. Billie sees James every Tuesday for a year, their relationship changing in ways that neither of them would have foreseen. Director Sophie Hyde delicately picks apart relationship between parent and child and considers the reality of growing up.

I will be reviewing select morsels from BFI Flare 2014 over the next week, so stay tuned. Hearts, Bodies and Minds.

BFI Flare 2014 runs 20-30 March, information and booking here


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