Thursday 19 March 2015


British Council makes flare LGBT films available in more than 50 countries
#FiveFilms4Freedom is the world's first digital, global, LGBT film festival

The British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural and educational opportunities, today announced that five short films from BFI Flare, the UK’s leading Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Film Festival, will be available to audiences around the world for the first time through BFI player, the British Film Institute’s online video service.

BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival runs from 19–29 March 2015 at BFI Southbank. On Wednesday 25 March, fiveFilms4freedom will become a 24-hour campaign asking people everywhere to watch a film together over the course of one single day. fiveFilms4freedom is the world’s first digital, global, LGBT film festival and will be promoted through the British Council’s network in more than fifty countries and regions including across the Americas, China, India, Israel, Kosovo, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine and the Middle East. This will be a chance for audiences, wherever they are, to enjoy a taster of LGBT cinema; to find out a little bit more about emerging LGBT filmmakers from around the world; and most importantly, to show support for freedom and equality everywhere. fiveFilms4freedom is produced in partnership with Stonewall, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans equality charity.

The five films represent a cross section of contemporary LGBT short film. The films are made by lesbians, gay men and transgender filmmakers, and range from sweet short stories about first love to documenting activism. They are polished, rough, funny, sad and inspiring and each has a different voice. The films are:

  • An Afternoon (En Eftermiddag) Director Søren Green’s new short film is a sensitive exploration of nascent sexuality. Mathias and Frederik are two friends who spend an afternoon together; Mathias has decided that this is the time to tell Frederik that he is in love with him.  
  • Chance Jake Graf’s self-funded short film premieres at BFI Flare. It focuses on older gay love and overcoming loneliness as a chance encounter between Trevor and a mysterious stranger equally troubled by his own past, forces both men to start to live again.
  • Code Academy Canadian writer and director Nisha Ganatra is best known as Producer/Director of Transparent, the Golden Globe-winning TV series. In Code Academy, Frankie masquerades as a boy in futuristic cyberspace to get the girl of her dreams. 
  • Morning Is Broken Director and writer Simon Anderson’s 2014 film is a beautifully shot coming-of-age drama set in the lush English countryside, following a young man’s struggle to come to terms with his sexuality at the end of his older brother’s wedding.
  • True Wheel Director Nora Mandray’s 2015 documentary focuses on Fender Bender, an inspirational bicycle workshop for queer, transgender and women’s communities in Detroit.

Alan Gemmell, Director fiveFilms4freedom, British Council said: 'fiveFilms4freedom is a ground-breaking LGBT film festival supporting freedom and equality all over the world and showcasing some of our finest short film makers.  By bringing together the British Council and films from BFI Flare we are promoting LGBT cinema in countries that make up fifty percent of the world’s population.  On 25 March we are asking the world to watch a movie together and show that love is a basic human right.'

Briony Hanson, Director Film, British Council said: 'The British Council’s job is to connect people around the world and fiveFilms4freedom explores the diversity, freedom of expression and celebration of difference that characterise UK society.  We believe passionately in the power of culture and film to change people’s lives and hope that this programme has a long lasting, far reaching and positive impact.'Tricia Tuttle, Deputy Director of Festivals at the British Film Institute said: 'Queer filmmakers have delivered some of cinema's most striking, vital, challenging, provocative and beautiful films, and BFI Flare has been key in bringing these to UK audiences over the last 29 years. We’re thrilled this partnership will open up the festival to audiences around the world, giving millions of people the opportunity to enjoy great new LGBT films.'

James Taylor, Head of Campaigns, Stonewall said: 'fiveFilms4freedom not only showcases some phenomenal talent, but also brings together the international LGBT community. In 77 countries around the world it is still illegal to be gay, and in five it is punishable by death, so the opportunity to showcase LGBT stories and filmmakers in more than 80 countries worldwide is fantastic.'

Notes to Editor

About fiveFilms4freedom

fiveFilms4freedom launches alongside BFI Flare 2015, the British Film Institute’s LGBT Film Festival. Using the BFI player and the British Council’s global network it promotes five films from this year’s Flare Festival to people all over the world. It will return next year with an expanded international programme.

About BFI Flare 
Screening in London from 19-29 March 2015, BFI Flare presents the best queer cinema from around the world. Now in its 29th year, and previously called London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, the festival was re-branded in 2014 to reflect the increasingly diverse audiences the festival serves. Flare is a name that which evokes the image of the cinematic projector onto the screen but also connotes light, a beacon in the darkness and a spark for change.

Throughout its history, the Festival has played a major role in bringing great LGBT cinema from around the world to UK audiences. Queer filmmakers have delivered some of cinema's most striking, vital, challenging, provocative and beautiful films and the Festival has been key in bringing these to UK audiences. In doing so, it has steadily helped to win hearts and minds for progressive change for LGBT people. Empathy requires understanding and film is a powerful tool in helping people see lives and experiences different to their own. As director Paul Greengrass has said, 'film festivals at their best are a window and also a mirror. A window through which we can see the world, and a mirror in which we can see ourselves.'

We have witnessed great cultural change in the UK over the 29 years of BFI Flare, moving from a culture in which LGBT people have experienced fear and discrimination to one in which gay parents share legal responsibility for their children and one which momentously witnessed the historic legalisation of gay marriage on 28 March 2014. The Festival has undoubtedly played a role in that progressive change.

About the 5 films

To watch the films:

An Afternoon (En Eftermiddag) Director: Søren Green, Denmark, 2015, 9 minutes
Writers: Tomas Lagermand Lundme, Søren Green
Cinematographer: Jonas Berlin

Chance Director / writer: Jake Graf, UK, 2015, 16 minutes

Code Academy Director: Nisha Ganatra, USA, 2014, 16 minutes

Morning Is Broken Director / writer Simon Anderson, UK, 2014, 9 minutes

Producers: James Northcote, Elisabeth Hopper
Cinematographer: Craig Dean Devine

True Wheel
Director Nora Mandray, France/USA 2015, 7 minutes

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 8,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes. We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publicly-funded grant provides 20 per cent of our turnover which last year was £864 million. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, such as English classes and taking UK examinations, and also through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.  

For more information, please visit: You can also keep in touch with the British Council through and