Stars hit the red carpet for opening of the BFI Flare: London LGBTQ+ F …

Gemma Arterton led the stars on the red carpet at the opening of the BFI Flare Festival 2019, which is sponsored by the Pureland Foundation.

Arterton was accompanied by Rupert Penry-Jones, one of her co-stars from Vita & Virginia, a lavish period drama that opened the festival.

Set in 1922, the film follows socialite and novelist Vita Sackville-West (Arterton) as she befriends and seduces the writer Virginia Woolf (Elizabeth Debicki) in an attempt to develop her own literary career.

As the women’s relationship develops, both are overwhelmed by passion to a point where they find themselves judged and tested by society, family and friends.

Chanya Button, who directed Vita & Virginia and was also in attendance, said she was “thrilled” that her film was receiving its UK premiere at the “vivid and forward-thinking” BFI Flare.

Isabella Rossellini and Peter Ferdinando also co-star in the film, which opens in the UK on July 12 through Thunderbird Releasing.

This year BFI Flare audiences can look forward to more than 50 feature films and 80 shorts during the festival, which runs until March 31 at BFI Southbank.

Additional programme highlights include Mapplethorpe, which stars Matt Smith as the legendary photographer in a full-frontal homage to the devilish bad boy, and the UK premiere of Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life, a documentary that paints an illuminating portrait of one of the world’s most successful gay porn stars.