BFI: Flare 2018 opens

The Pureland Foundation is delighted to announce that the 32nd BFI Flare: London LGBTQ+ Film Festival, which it is supporting, has opened.

Cinema fans are in for a treat, with a compelling, significant and richly diverse selection of films revealed in the full programme earlier this week.

The Pureland Foundation is the main supporter of the 2018 Festival, which runs until 1 April at BFI Southbank, and which opens this evening with the UK premiere of My Days of Mercy. With stirring performances from Ellen Page (Juno, Inception, Freeheld) and Kate Mara (House of Cards, The Martian), Tali Shalom-Ezer’s follow-up to Princess is a poignant love story between two women from vastly different backgrounds and opposing political views.

The Festival will close with the European premiere of Steve McLean’s stylish and sexy Postcards from London. The film tells the story of beautiful teenager Jim (Harris Dickinson, Beach Rats) who, having travelled from the suburbs, finds himself in London where he falls in with a gang of unusual high-class male escorts called ‘The Raconteurs’. Set in a vibrant, neon-lit, imaginary vision of Soho, this morality tale manages to be both a beautifully shot homage to the spirit of Derek Jarman and a celebration of the homoerotic in Baroque art.

The Centrepiece Screening of the Festival is the world premiere of UK feature documentary A Deal with the Universe, the debut from former BFI: Flare programmer Jason Barker, which tells the inspiring tale of a very different kind of pregnancy.

The Special Presentation is Robin Campillo’s modern queer classic 120 BPM, a rousing, heart-breaking account of AIDS activists’ group ACT-UP: Paris. And the special event in collaboration with The Art Machine is Rise: QTIPOC Representation and Visibility in Film – a special one-day series of talks and workshops, providing a platform to examine the importance of inclusion and the stories of queer people of colour, both on and off the screen.

This year, the festival will showcase works by and about queer D/deaf and disabled people, including the world premiere of Laura Marie Wayne’s documentary Love, Scott – a sensitive and moving portrait of a young man left paralysed after a homophobic attack. The film charts the impact of the assault over the year, following his life-changing ordeal.

Stumped (directed by Robin Berghaus) is an extraordinary documentary that tells the story of comedian Will Lautzenheiser, a young film professor who prevails over the loss of his limbs with humour and revolutionary medicine.

Pulse (directed by Stevie Cruz-Martin) features a young disabled man embarking on a radical transition, while Fighters of Demons, Makers of Cakes is an unconventional and fantastical collection of shorts curated by Sandra Alland examining LGBTQ+ disabled, neurodiversity, chronically ill and/or D/deaf lives.

Another theme running through the festival is family: Paternal Rites (directed by Jules Rosskam) questions how to approach an abusive past in this contemplative mix of home movies, collages and interviews. Belgian documentary F.A.M.I.L.Y investigates the concept of family through the children of same-sex couples.

The Shorts programme Trans Family Matters offers a broad spectrum of stories, encompassing challenges, triumphs and personal breakthroughs.

There will also be several films that reflect the concern of queer filmmakers about HIV/AIDS. Mediations in an Emergency is a free access, all-day event looking at the representation of HIV/AIDS on screen. Highlights will include clips of little-seen material from the BFI archive and awareness posters from the V&A.

BFI Flare Programmer Brian Robinson gives an illustrated talk on Cinema of Aids, featuring 30 years of the virus on screen, accompanied by screenings of classic AIDS films Buddies, Silverlake Life: The View from Here and A Home at the End of the World.

BFI Flare also includes a wide range of events, talks and debates. Radfem/Trans: A Love Story is a clip show and talk examining how rifts in the feminist movement have been shown on screen. Programmer Jay Bernard and invited guests will examine how schisms have been depicted and the imaginative ways deep-rooted conflicts in the feminist movement have been represented and resolved in the past.

Inspired by two fashion-forward documentaries in the festival (Antonio Lopez’s 1970: Sex, Fashion & Disco and Susanne Bartsch: On Top), Gay Garb is a lecture that pays homage to the gay designers of the golden age, including clips from the Roaring Twenties, Dirty Thirties, Flying Forties and Nifty Fifties.

Following the thrills and spills of the BFI Flare Film Quiz last year, Michael Blyth leads the challenge again, with the Big Gay Film Quiz. There will also be a return for the popular BFI Flare Club Nights (Friday 23, Saturday 24, Thursday 29 and Fri 30) at Benugo Lounge, with DJs including BBZ, Debbie Does BFI Flare, Club Kali, The Prince Farah Show and Unskinny Bop for the BFI Flare Closing Night Party.

Second Chance Sunday will also feature catch-up screenings and some of the most popular titles in this year’s programme, including multi Oscar-nominated Call Me By Your Name (directed by Luca Guadagnino, starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer), a lush summer romance tinged with all the longing and heartache of adolescence. Battle of the Sexes (directed by Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton) stars Emma Stone as Billie Jean King in this thrilling account of her highly publicised fight for equality in women’s tennis. God’s Own Country (directed by Francis Lee) is the highly acclaimed story of a young farmer who embarks on a relationship with a migrant worker in northern England. A Fantastic Woman (directed by Sebastián Lelio) stars Chile’s first out trans actress Daniela Vega, who shines in this thoughtful drama on confronting intolerance.