Still from Pxssy Palace, directed by Laura Kirwan Ashman
Still from Pxssy Palace, directed by Laura Kirwan Ashman
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Filmmakers from Norway, Ireland, Brazil, and the UK explore LGBTQ+ identities in Five Films For Freedom

Five Films For Freedom, the world’s largest LGBTIQ+ digital campaign, starts today – marking six years of broadcasting five brand new LGBTIQ+ films to countries around the world, including those where homosexuality remains illegal.

In this continuing creative partnership, the British Council makes five short films from the BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival available across the British Council’s global digital networks, free of charge, from 18 – 29 March 2020.

This year’s BFI Flare Festival, due to take place from 18 – 29 March, was cancelled due to the rapid evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Festival organisers will be announcing an alternative digital version of the festival imminently.

The 2020 Five Films For Freedom line-up sees filmmakers from Norway, Ireland, Brazil, and the UK explore compelling LGBTIQ+ realities, from navigating family relationships to the struggle for and celebration of sexual freedom.

Still from After That Party, directed by Caio Scot

Global audiences are encouraged to show solidarity with LGBTIQ+ communities around the world by watching the films on the British Council’s YouTube Arts channel.

This year’s Five Films For Freedom programme comprises an inspiring mix of drama and documentary from multi-award-winning directors and screenwriters. The selection includes:

134: Irish drama capturing a family’s voyage through gender identity, modern adolescence and parental expectation. Director Sarah-Jane Drummey gives viewers an emotional glimpse into protagonist Jack’s journey to win the love and acceptance of their parents.

After That Party: Brazilian director Caio Scot tells the moving story of a man on a mission to find the perfect way to tell his father he knows the truth about his sexuality.

Pxssy Palace: UK documentary from Laura Kirwan-Ashman, co-founder of female film collective Sorta Kinda Maybe Yeah, offering a unique insight into the London-based QTIPOC (queer, trans, intersex, people of colour) collective and eponymous club night.

Something In The Closet: British writer and director Nosa Eke’s short film sees a queer teenager struggle with her sexuality as her desires begin to manifest themselves in unsettling ways.

Something in the Closet, directed by Nosa Eke

When Pride Came To Town: Award-winning directors Julia Dahr and Julie Lunde Lillesæter provide a provocative yet heart-warming account of Norway’s rural Pride network through the eyes of 52-year-old Bjørn-Tore, shedding light on the ongoing battle for gay rights in one of Europe’s most liberal countries.

Over 14 million people from more than 200 countries have viewed the Five Films For Freedom programme since its launch in 2015. This includes online engagement in countries where homosexuality remains illegal, and in some cases punishable by death.

Acknowledging Five Films For Freedom as a unique global opportunity for LGBTIQ+ support and connection, former participant and Scottish film director Siri Rødnes said:

“Five Films For Freedom made my short film ‘Take Your Partners’ available all over the world to audiences it would never otherwise have reached.

“I am immensely proud to have been involved in this truly innovative programme and to have had the opportunity to promote and publicly discuss my film’s universal themes on such an international scale.”

When Pride Came to Town, directed by Julia Dahr and Julie Lunde Lillesæter

Building on the success of Five Films For Freedom, the British Council and partners BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival and BFI NETWORK last year announced three further LGBTIQ+ short film commissions due to be shared later this year under the banner #MoreFilms4Freedom.

Briony Hanson, Director of Film, British Council, comments: “It’s a privilege to announce this year’s Five Films For Freedom selection.

“At the British Council, we are proud that filmmakers trust us to present their work to the eyes of the world, and we’re always overwhelmed by the positive response.

“Imagining audiences across the globe enjoying the films and witnessing their reactions to them is really eye-opening – it feels like the whole world is taking a moment to celebrate LGBTIQ+ lives with us.”

Michael Blyth, Senior Programmer, BFI Flare, said: “Since its inception in 2015, Five Films For Freedom has given us the opportunity to share queer stories with millions of audiences across the world.

“As LGBTIQ+ people in many countries continue the ongoing fight for basic human rights, this campaign offers an essential moment for global communities to come together in solidarity and ensure that our collective voices remain heard.”

All films will be available to view from 18 – 29 March 2020 via the British Council Arts YouTube channel.

Written by QWEERIST editor

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