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Five international LGBTQ short films at BFI Flare you can watch free anywhere in the world

Short films from India, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA will be shown as part of BFI Flare and the British Council's 'Five Films For Freedom' series.

By Will Stroude

BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival is going digital this year, meaning that queer cinema fans across the UK will be able to stream the best new feature films and shorts online for the first time (tickets for screenings are available here).

But the UK’s biggest LGBTIQ+ film festival isn’t just limited to those on these shores: People will once again be able to view five LGBTQ short films that form the ‘Five Films For Freedom’ series absolutely free wherever they are in the world.

The annual collaboration between BFI Flare and the British Council is now in its seventh year, and since its inception has seen 15 million people from more than 200 countries tune into vital short films telling powerful stories of queer identity from across the globe.

Reminding audiences that love is still a human right, the five films that will be available to watch on free YouTube from 17-28 March have now been revealed, with stories from India, Spain, Sweden, the USA and the UK all set to be showcased.

“Now in its seventh year, Five Films For Freedom remains an integral part of BFI Flare, giving audiences worldwide the chance to access a selection of extraordinary short films from our programme”, says Michael Blyth, Senior Programmer for BFI Flare.


Swedish short film ‘Land of the Free’ forms part of this year’s BFI Flare x British Council ‘Five Film for Freedom’ series.

“It has been humbling and gratifying to see how many millions of people we have reached since launching the project in 2015, and we are so excited to continue working with the British Council to reach millions more this year.”

Five Films for Freedom will be available to view from 17 – 28 March 2021 via the British Council Arts YouTube channel. Check out this year’s line-up below:

Bodies of Desire (India/Directed by Varsha Panikar & Saad Nawab)

Directed by Varsha Panikar and multi-award-winner Saad Nawab, uses Indian poet Panikar’s work as the basis for a visual, poetic film capturing four sets of lovers in a sensual celebration of genderless love and desire.

Land of the Free (Sweden/Directed by Dawid Ullgren)

Ullgren’s tense Swedish drama follows the fictional David and friends as they celebrate his birthday with a nightly swim at the beach.

The good mood swiftly changes after two straight couples walk by and laugh – was the laughter directed at them, or something else? Who owns the truth of exactly what happened?

Pure (USA/Directed by Natalie Jasmine Harris) 

The fictional debut from 2020 Directors Guild of America Student Film Award winner Natalie Jasmine Harris, centring on a young Black girl grappling with her queer identity and ideas of ‘purity’.

The film is written, produced and directed by Harris – a filmmaker passionate about the intersection between filmmaking and social justice.

Trans Happiness is Real (UK/Directed by Quinton Baker)

A moving documentary from first-time filmmaker Quinton Baker – sees transgender activists take to the streets of Oxford, England to fight anti-trans sentiments using the power of graffiti and street art.

Victoria (Spain/Dir. Daniel Toledo)

This follows a bittersweet reunion between a trans woman and her ex, sparking tension and long buried resentment. Directed by award-winning filmmaker, Daniel Toledo, Victoria also features acclaimed trans actress, writer and director Abril Zamora (The Life Ahead, The Mess You Leave Behind).

All films will be available to view from 17 – 28 March 2021 via the British Council Arts YouTube channel.

Tickets for feature film screenings at the BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival are available to book now.