This week Five Films For Freedom launches the ninth edition of the world’s largest, and widest-reaching, queer digital film showcase. Produced in a partnership between the British Council and the BFI Flare Film Festival, this year’s excellent five short films include gems from Nigeria, Guyana, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and South Korea.
The films are available for free between 15-26th March at www.bfi.org.uk/Flare and also on the British Council’s YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/user/britishartschannel They have been translated into 23 different languages to maximize global audiences. To date, since the launch of the programme in 2015, the films have been watched over 20 million times by people in over 200 countries and principalities, including all parts of the world where homosexuality is criminalized, and all countries where the death penalty is still in place. This is despite the films only having been available for viewing for less than 100 days in total. Themes explored in this year’s films include violence and security, love across borders and shifting identities.
The films in 2023 are:
Terry Loane, 19 mins, 2021, UK - Northern Ireland
Maria and Dermot’s straightforward family life takes a sudden turn when their son Johnny announces that he wants to wear a dress for his Holy Communion. Both parents are keen to do what is best for Johnny, but their different opinions almost pull the happy family apart. A wonderful, tear-jerking, feel-good film that packs a lot into its 19 minutes. 9/10
Obinna Robert Onyeri, 16 mins, 2022, Nigeria/USA
Two friends meet for dinner, one goes to meet a stranger for a hook-up date while the other goes home. We follow a man’s search for his friend that puts him at risk of revealing life-altering secrets they both share. A haunting drama that will keep you on the edge of your seat. 8/10
Yu-jin Lee, 12 mins, 2022, South Korea
“Stop being miserable.” After hearing her ex’s last words to her, Mi-hae, a lead singer of an independent band, cannot get herself to sing the band’s most popular song, Oppa’s Girl. This sets off a chain of events in this sweet film about finding your right people. 8/10
Rae Wiltshire, Nickose Layne, 18 mins, 2022, Guyana
A coming-of-age film about Asim and Hasani, two queer Guyanese boys, navigating their feelings in a homophobic society. Beautifully shot, sexy and with fine performances by Isaiah Lewis and Rae Wiltshire. Rae also wrote, directed and produced the film. 9/10
Savvas Stavrou, 16 mins, 2022, UK/Cyprus
Two young soldiers across enemy lines fall in love and find escape from their oppressive environments through music. This is an excellent film, with great cinematography, fine vocal performances and an original storyline. 9/10
Watch the Five Films for Freedom campaign trailer on YouTube: https://bit.ly/3INf1ka
Queerguru’s Contributing Editor Ris Fatah is a successful fashion/luxury business consultant (when he can be bothered) who divides and wastes his time between London and Ibiza. He is a lover of all things queer, feminist, and human rights in general. @ris.fatah
Labels: #FiveFilms4Freedom, 2023, BFI Flare, British Council, review, Ris Fatah