BFI Flare, London’s LGBTQ+ Film Festival 2019 begins today, Thursday 21st March 2019, and runs until the 31st March 2019. This year there are loads of films to see, and here are our choices, starting with the much anticipated Jordana Spiro film, Night Comes On.
Here are our selections. To find out more and to attend the festival, just click on the links to the BFI Flare Films.
Friday 22 March 2019
Night Comes On (also Sunday 24 March, 15:45)
After being released from prison, Angel visits her younger sister Abby, a bright, straight-talking pre-teen who struggles with being in foster care. The unspeakable circumstances that tore their family apart make being together incredibly difficult. Together, they gather enough money to get the bus to their father’s new place, but the tension between them is palpable.
+ The Orphan
Following his rejection by multiple foster parents, Jonathas hopes this new couple is ‘the one’.
Saturday 23 March 2019
The Gospel of Eureka (also Sunday 24 March, 14:00, Sunday 31 March 17:50)
Mx Justin Vivian Bond narrates the tale of a Passion Play and a Christian drag show happily co-existing in small-town Arkansas. With a population of just over 2,000, the Bible Belt town of Eureka Springs is not necessarily where you’d expect to find a thriving gay community. Having voted in a Non-Discrimination Ordinance to protect LGBTQ+ rights (a first in Arkansas) and stop the dreaded trans-exclusionary bathroom bill, the townsfolk are a lesson in togetherness.
Life in Transit (also Monday 25 March, 20:40)
Travelling through a rich slice of life, the films explore avenues of gender diversity, from determined paths to unexpected twists and turns.
Film 5 – Silvia in the Waves (Silvia dans les vagues)
A teenage son honours his trans parent’s wishes as they journey into the afterlife.
Socrates (Sócrates) (also Monday 25 March, 18:30)
After his mother’s sudden death, 15-year-old Socrates must learn how to fend for himself in São Paulo. Unable to collect her ashes without the consent of a legal guardian and with no income to cover the rent for his run-down apartment, Socrates sees no way out. Landing a small construction job, he meets a troubled young man with whom he forms an unlikely connection. But as financial pressures mount, so do Socrates’ burgeoning feelings, leading him to confront the harsh reality of his situation. Co-written, produced and acted by young people from low-income communities in Brazil.
Little Miss Westie (also Sunday 24 March, 16:15, Tuesday 26 March 20:45)
Screening with Little Miss Westie, a 5min short, + Gender
The beyond the binary rainbow is unpacked and embraced.
Vision Portraits (also Sunday 24 March, 14:10)
Hot from its World Premiere at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, Vision Portraits is the response of black, gay filmmaker Rodney Evans (Brother to Brother) to his deteriorating eyesight. In this deeply personal documentary, he explores what it means to be a blind or visually impaired creative artist. It’s a celebration of the possibilities of art created by a photographer (John Dugdale), dancer (Kayla Hamilton), writer (Ryan Knighton) and the filmmaker himself, who each experience varying degrees of visual impairment.
Sunday 24 March 2019
Labyrinths of Desire
Films about finding a connection, whether in the street, a bath-house, nightclub or on an app.
*Over 18s only
Film 3 – My Loneliness Is Killing Me
The ease of casual rejection in the modern dating world infuriates a young man who decides to fight back after a night on the town.
Deep in Vogue (also Tuesday 26 March, 18:10)
Manchester’s Vogue ball scene is revealed in a compelling documentary that explores notions of love, community and creativity, as preparations are underway for an upcoming competition. This is a celebration of the queer heroes of this scene, which takes its inspiration from the US model of competing Houses that were developed in the black, gay ballrooms of 1980s New York. And as we hear the life stories of the key players, legendary MC Rikki Beadle-Blair works the runway like no one else.
+ See the Man
When a Swedish football team incorporate contemporary dance into their training regime, they find that its rigour and discipline transforms them as a single functioning unit. This moving documentary reveals how the challenge to traditional notions of masculine behaviour truly confounds expectations.
Monday 25 March 2019
Two in the Bush: A Love Story (also Tuesday 26 March, 14:10, plus relaxed screening Tuesday 26 March, 14:00)
Life is not turning out how Emily planned it. Her girlfriend is cheating on her, she gets fired and to top it all off she’s homeless because the now ex-girlfriend’s name is on the lease of their apartment. She ends up on her friend Rosa’s sofa, eating cereal in her pyjamas and getting too invested in daytime television. When Rosa insists Emily ‘get back in the game’, she somehow ends up working for a dominatrix and going on so many bad Tinder dates she wonders if she’ll ever find love again. That is, until her boss Nikki begins to show an interest, along with her boss’s partner Ben.
Tuesday 26 March 2019
From Zero to I Love You (also Wednesday 27 March, 14:00)
This delightful relationship comedy begins when Peter bumps into handsome businessman Jack in a gay bar. After a bumpy start, they begin a passionate relationship, in spite of Jack being married. Peter always seems to end up with married men, a situation which brings its own special set of tensions. Gossip, deception, heartbreak and coincidence play their part and eventually Peter is forced to confront the fact that he needs something to change if he’s going to maintain any self-respect.
Wednesday 27 March 2019
Transmilitary (also Saturday 30 March, 12:00)
Exploring the flabbergasting fact that the military is the largest employer of trans people in the US, this film examines the appeal of such a regimented, binary system. Forced to conform to strict hair lengths and uniforms matching gender assigned at birth, one particularly muscly trans male soldier signs up for multiple tours in Afghanistan as overseas he can wear male uniforms and sport a buzz cut. The ridiculousness of his official skirt uniform back home is one of the primary examples convincing the top brass to reconsider the rules. For every step forward there are two steps back, as evinced by the recent Supreme Court decision on the issue.
Rafiki (also Sunday 30 March, 16:15)
Rafiki tells the story of two young women, Kena and Ziki, who find love despite mounting political and family pressures. Based on Monica Arac de Nyeko’s short story, which won the 2007 Caine Prize for African fiction. Like its equally brilliant predecessor Stories of Our Lives, Rafiki faced a hostile response from the Kenyan government. Initially banned, international pressure and strong resistance from Wanuri Kahiu herself won the day, and the film was eventually screened on home turf. Kena and Ziki face violence themselves, yet their story unfolds as an utterly contemporary affirmation for LGBTQ+ people everywhere.
Shelter: Farewell to Eden (also Friday 29 March, 18:20)
Beginning life in the Philippines, in the minority Muslim population known as the Moro, Pepsi recounts her early experiences with the Islamic Liberation Front, before running away to hide her emerging gay identity, before eventually transitioning. Ending up in Libya as a nurse during the final decade of Gaddafi’s rule, she subsequently sought asylum in Italy. Her life on paper reads like a rollercoaster of adversity, yet her wisdom and resilience give her a philosophical perspective to cope against the injustices of inequality.
In Place of the Real
Abstractions of queerness make up this collection of experimental short films, showcasing the best in contemporary artists’
*Over 18s only
Film 3 – Donebeing
Introspections of a deaf visual artist.
Film 6 – Crystal Clear
The body, desired.
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (also Sunday 31 March, 13:50)
It doesn’t matter how old you are, life is for living, as these witty and joyous short documentaries attest to.
Film 3 – Monica – Loose on a Cruise
Journey with the effervescent Monica as she goes on a lesbian cruise for the first time.
Thursday 28 March 2019
Man Made (also Saturday 30 March, 16:10)
Tracking four pumped and proud bodybuilders at different stages in their transformation, this documentary unveils the supportive network of men preparing for the annual FitCon. Originating in 2014, the world’s first trans fitness competition started in the southern state of Georgia, with the aim of uniting the community. From pre-hormone novices to stealth heavyweight hunks who compete year-round against cisgendered men, this diverse celebration of trans-masculine bodies is respectfully shot through the eye of a trans director who noted that, ‘For some of these guys, I think bodybuilding literally saved their lives’.
Tucked (also Saturday 30 March, 18:10)
Gender non-conforming Jackie is an 80+ drag queen with an acerbic nightclub comedy act. Diagnosed with cancer but determined to go out with a bang, they keep on performing and boozing. But at home Jackie is confronted with solitude and regret over family estrangements. Then young, non-binary performer Faith appears in the dressing room and Jackie must show them the ropes. Despite demographic differences, they realise how much they have in common and become each other’s support network in this feel-good, Brighton-based comedy.
Saturday 30 March 2019
What Makes a Man, a Man?
Life lessons and love lessons are hard to learn, as evinced in these powerful shorts.
Film 2 – Thrive
A sex date on an app leads to deep conversation the morning after.
Dancing with a Stranger – Shorts Programme
Life is full of possibilities in this amazing array of short films that entertain and enchant every step of the way.
Film 4 – Night Out
A night on the town might be just what Meena needs in order to figure herself out.
Part documentary, part performance, it was described as ‘the film we have been waiting for’ by critic Cary Alan Johnson and vilified as a misuse of public funds by right-wing presidential hopeful Pat Buchanan. Such divided opinions were testament to the film’s lasting impact as a powerful depiction of the ongoing black liberation movement, twinned with the devastation of the AIDS crisis. 30 years on, the poetry of Marlon Riggs himself, as well as performances from Essex Hemphill and Brian Freeman, comprise a unique record of a critical historical moment with fierce intelligence, virtuosic rhythm and courageous hope that still stuns today.
This screening will be followed by a discussion, hosted by BFI Flare programmer Jay Bernard, with filmmaker Vivian Kleiman, poet Keith Jarrett and singer, writer and historian David McAlmont.
Sunday 31 March 2019
The Way Things Are – UK Shorts Programme
The most exciting home-grown talent is showcased in this wide-ranging collection of short films, exploring the queer experience in its myriad forms.
*Contains scenes of suicide, viewer discretion is advised.
Film 2 – Anemone
A second-generation teen searches for a way to express their non-binary identity.
Film 3 – Diva
A transcendental fusion of queer surrealism and baroque opera.
Film 7 – Ladies Day
Whilst at the hair salon, Amma wonders if it is time for her to finally speak up.
Film 8 – Listen
A group of trans children discuss what it means for them to live an authentic life.
Film 10 – Batty Boy
Struggling with the threat of homophobia, a young black gay man searches for a place of acceptance.
The Short Films of Marlon Riggs
Marlon Riggs was a legendary black gay filmmaker whose poetic style pulled no punches in examining the relationship between race, gender, sexuality, capitalism and the media. A rare opportunity to see all three of his early short films.
Anthem – 1991
An experimental music video portraying a vibrant, exciting and defiant community of black gay men.
Affirmations – 1990
Featuring the poetry of Essex Hemphill, this is a beautiful short film exploring the dreams, desires and fantasies of black gay men.
Non, Je ne regrette rien – 1992
A timely and illuminating documentary examining the impact of HIV and AIDS. There’s fierce and fascinating insight at every turn, and a classic example of Riggs’s formally distinctive style.
HAVE A FABULOUS FESTIVAL 2019
2018 BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival began on
Wednesday 21 March, and ends on Sunday 1 April, and there is plenty to see at this year’s BFI Flare Film Festival. Here are our selections. To find out more and to attend the festival, just click on the links to the BFI website.
Have a look at some of the films in BFI Flare 2018: Part 1
This week you can enjoy:
Monday 26 March
“Kwanda, an edgy city boy, has been taken back to his father’s rural village where he is to undergo the painful initiation ritual that will ‘turn’ him into a man.”
This has to be one of my highlights of the festival. I saw this film at the London Film Festival. Tradition clashes with modern living, with a world of secrets. Absolutely fantastic.
Tuesday 27 March
SHORTS: Rewind the Film
Queer histories and queer futures are reconfigured in this collection of experimental short films, showcasing the best in contemporary artists’ film and video.
FILM 8 – Something Said
As history is remembered, the body is reimagined.
Thursday 29 March
20:40 (also Friday 30 March, 16:10)
You must decide what side of reality you stand on in these stories that revel in the dark, the dream-like and the bizarre.
FILM 3 – A Drop of Sun Under the Earth
A man known as Little Bear lives with his father in a run-down Rio slum, but everything changes when he gets a job with a rich older man and becomes obsessed with a Copacabana rent boy.
Friday 30 March
15:45 (also Saturday 31 March, 16:15)
SHORTS: Dangerous Atmospheres
Sometimes relationships happen in spite of the dangers. Four longer shorts with the power of mini-features explore different situations where things don’t turn out as anyone expected.
FILM 4 – Ursinho
A man known as Little Bear lives with his father in a run-down Rio slum, but everything changes when he gets a job with a rich older man and becomes obsessed with a Copacabana rent boy.
SHORTS: You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Life and all its complexities are laid bare in these emotionally-charged short films.
FILM 3 – Y
Laura finds more than she bargained for when she steals from the wrong woman.
18:15 (also Saturday 31 March, 16:20)
Malcolm Ingram’s spiritual companion piece to his acclaimed documentary Small Town Gay Bar (BFI Flare 2007), Southern Pride offers a fascinating insight into LGBTQ+ rights in a post-Trump landscape. Headstrong bar owner Lynn Koval, alongside a team of friends (and her own Republican-voting sister), endeavour against all odds to organise a Pride march in her local town. Meanwhile, in another part of the state, organisers of a Black Pride celebration are simultaneously striving to make a difference, despite the numerous setbacks that stand in their way. Emotionally textured and politically prescient, this inspiring tale of triumph over adversity addresses themes of leadership, struggle, division, community and race relations, ultimately offering a sense of hope in a world that can too often appear so hopeless.
20:15 (also Saturday 31 March, 20:15)
Good Manners (As Boas maneiras)
Clara, a care worker living on the outskirts of São Paulo, accepts the position of live-in nanny to the as-yet unborn child of a wealthy single woman named Ana. The two women immediately develop a strong bond, but Ana’s increasingly strange behaviour hints at a deep, dark secret.
20:30 (also Saturday 31 March, 11:30)
Moody, disturbed loner Pedro lives in the depressed harbour town of Porto Alegre. He scrapes together a living as webcam performer NeonBoy and erotic displays of his naked body smeared with neon paint attract a devoted following. When he discovers another male performer, Leon, has copied his act under the pseudonym Boy25, it prompts a radical change to Pedro’s performance and life.
Saturday 31 March
SHORTS: Wanting, Needing, Waiting
Whilst travelling down that rocky road toward true love, a disparate group of men face some difficult decisions in this heart-rending collection of short films.
FILM 2 – The Things You Think I’m Thinking
A burn survivor goes on a date for the first time since his life-changing accident.
Sunday 1 April
SHORTS: Brown is the Warmest Colour
Insightful shorts charting the queer Asian experience, and the importance of love, relationships and solidarity.
FILM 5 – More Love. Less Pre-Packed Bullshit
It is easy to overlook the simple extension of love to other people.
The festival runs until 1st April 2018, and there’s a lot more to see,
Sunday 1 April is a chance to catch up on some of the films shown earlier in the festival
BFI Flare Film Festival is back for 2017. Opening with, Against The Law on Thursday 16th March. Our selection of films to look out for are listed below, and include Oscar winning Moonlight, hotly debated in our Oggscars recording. Set in Miami, the film follows Chiron from childhood to adulthood. Beautifully portrayed, it is a must see.
Also at the festival catch the new UK web series, Different For Girls, a smart, sassy, sexy multi-layered lesbian drama, directed by award-winning Festival alumni Campbell X.
Danny Glover appears in San Francisco-set black comedy, Pushing Dead, as boss to Dan, who is facing losing his HIV drugs after 20 years of keeping it at bay.
Uganda is back in the spotlight at the festival with, The Pearl of Africa. This unified six-part web-series follows Uganda’s first out transgender woman, Cleopatra Kambugu from home to Kenya and then Thailand.
We managed to see Jewel’s Catch One at the 60th London Film Festival. It is a celebration of Jewel Thais Williams, owner of the legendary Catch One bar – one of Los Angeles first gay venues. Covering Jewel’s journey from purchasing the bar, fighting through discrimination, and personal challenges. Jewel managed to create a disco bar that welcomed every one, including stars like Madonna.
Plus Brazillian film, Waiting for B, a kitschy, light-hearted and thoroughly camp portrayal of pop culture, mega fandom and the adoration of Beyoncé.
The festival runs for 11 days, and closes on the 26th March with a gala screening of, Signature Move.
16-26 March 2017
Over 50 features, more than 100 shorts and a wide range of special events, guest appearances, discussions, workshops, club nights and much more.
Download the film Schedule here.
The official BFI Flare trailer
Different for Girls | Fri17
A smart, sexy new lesbian drama web series from the award-winning director Campbell X.
Waiting for B | Fri 17 / Sat 18
A crew of queer young Brazilian camp out two months in advance of Beyonce’s big show. One for superfans of the beyhive.
Moonlight | Fri 17/ Sat 18 / Sat 25
The Oscar winning, much-anticipated feature in which a young boy growing up in a harsh environment learns what it means to love and be loved.
Jewel’s Catch One | Fri 17 / Sat 19
This is the story of how Jewel rose from humble origins to create one of the most inclusive, radical and star-studded LGBT discos in America.
The Pearl of Africa | Sun 19 / Mon 20 / Fri 24
After suffering persecution from Uganda’s government and media, Cleopatra journeys to Thailand to get surgery and finally live freely with her boyfriend Nelson.
Free CeCe! | Tue 21 / Wed 22
Laverne Cox leads this insightful documentary into the case of Cece McDonald, whose infamous case sparked protests around the world.
Can’t Stop the Music | Thur 23 [BFI IMAX, Waterloo]
A monument to camp with the Village People and some of the most dazzling musical numbers ever committed to celluloid.
Being 17 (Quand On A 17 Ans) | Thur 23 / Fri 24
Set in the French Alps, this beautiful and emotional coming of age tale has two boys in their last year at school coming to terms with their emotions.
Body Electric (Corpo Elétrico) | Thur 23/ Sat 25
A lively Brazilian drama set in a garment factory: young manager Elias finds distraction in some of his fellow workers, but is he getting too close?
The Trans List | Thu 23 / Sun 26
Famous faces abound in this new HBO production from Timothy Greenfield-Sanders celebrating trans luminaries.
Sexit Screenings: Enactone + Snapshot | Fri 24
As part of the Sexit programme, a double bill featuring two new porn films that will challenge as much as arouse.
Pushing Dead | Sat 25 / Sun 26
Delightful comedy set in San Francisco, in which an HIV-positive slacker/writer battles with life, meds and friends.
Pride? | Sat 25 / Sun 26
A warm and intelligent survey that examines the history of Pride, its radical off-shoots, like Black Pride, and what the future of queer organising will be.
Sat 18 / Sun 19 | Transcendent Tales – Bold and beautiful fictional shorts from first inklings to years after transition.
Diane From the Moon
Mya Taylor plays a pagan priestess who takes no prisoners.
Sun 19 / Wed 22 | Shadow and Act – Stylish shorts that compel you to know yourself, live freely and speak the truth to power.
A beautiful letter about migration, identity and love from a young Ghanaian man to his family.
Hattie Goes Cruising
An ageing African-American couple give a how-to on cruising and what it was like being young, queer and pretty in 1970s and 1980s New York.
A young migrant from Guadeloupe on the French vogue scene cares for his younger brother who is getting ready for his first ball.
*Watch Free on #BFIPlayer or YouTube as part of #FiveFilms4Freedom
I am a Woman
The politics of gender, identity and race are explored in this short and energetic spoken word piece.
Bayard and Me
Civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, the organisational genius behind the 1963 March on Washington, is remembered by his younger partner.
When a sexy chat becomes an intense exchange on race, politics and war, two strangers find out how much they can accept in each other and in themselves.
Thur 23 | The Permanent Perception – The queer experience, both real and imagined. A collection of experimental short films, showcasing the best in contemporary artists’ film and video.
LGBT histories through a TV sitcom lens.
Generation Divide II
More politics and canned laughter.
Sat 25 / Sun 26 | Falling Free – An inspiring and varied collection of queer tales, showcasing our most exciting home-grown filmmaking talent.
We Love Moses
Twelve-year-old Ella discovers a secret about her brother’s best mate.
Sat 25 / Sun 26 | Trials and Liberations – Personal stories of transgender and non-binary experiences from around the globe.
Places of Fear and hatred (Lugares de Medo e Ódio)
Five diverse Brazilians speak out on surviving prejudice and violence.
Sat 25 / Sun 26 | Something to Remember – The unknowable path to self-discovery can take many an unexpected turn, as the young men in these poignant and accomplished short films are soon to discover.
A boxer finds his world turned upside down by the arrival of a new fighter at his club.
*Watch Free on #BFIPlayer or YouTube as part of #FiveFilms4Freedom
The Oggscars 2017
Richard aKa Toby Kell-Ogg, Emerson Forde and Simone aka Jammie take a look at the 89th Academy Awards – The Oscars 2017.
Talking about the 2017 Oscars with Emerson Forde, Simone aka Jammie, and Richard Phillips aka Toby Kell-Ogg – Recorded: Friday 24th February 2017
See all of the Award Winners on the Academy website.
Discussing nominations in two parts:
Part 1: Leading and Supporting Actors and Actresses, and Director Awards – Actor in a leading role; Actress in a leading role; Actor in a supporting role; Actress in a supporting role; Director.
00:00 Intro to the Oggscars with: Richard aKa Toby Kell-Ogg, Emerson C Forde, Simone aKa ‘Jammie’. and to the 89th Academy Awards – The Oscars
02:00 ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
- WINNER – Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
- Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
- Ryan Gosling, La La Land
- Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
- Denzel Washington, Fences
14:59 ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
- Isabelle Huppert, Elle
- Ruth Negga, Loving
- Natalie Portman, Jackie
- WINNER – Emma Stone, La La Land
- Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
30:21 ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
- WINNER – Mahershala Ali, Moonlight [Ed: pronounced mah-HER-shah-lah]
- Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
- Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
- Dev Patel, Lion
- Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals
42:12 ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
- WINNER – Viola Davis, Fences
- Naomie Harris, Moonlight
- Nicole Kidman, Lion
- Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures [Ed: called ‘Computers’ in the film]
- Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
- Arrival – Denis Villeneuve
- Hacksaw Ridge – Mel Gibson
- WINNER – La La Land – Damien Chazelle
- Manchester by the Sea – Kenneth Lonergan
- Moonlight – Barry Jenkins
Part 2: Best Picture Award, and our scoring and selection of top film – Best picture, and our scores for the films. The film with the lowest score is who we think should get the best picture award.
00:00 BEST PICTURE
- Hacksaw Ridge
- Hell or High Water
- Hidden Figures
- La La Land
- Manchester by the Sea
- WINNER – Moonlight
00:24 #OscarsSoWhite – are some of these films in the list as a result of #OscarsSoWhite
12:13 Hacksaw Ridge
12:50 Hell of High Water
15:11 La La Land
16:20 Hidden Figures
24:05 Film Hype: influencing the viewer – Manchester By The Sea/Moonlight
34:25 Xavier Dolan / Krishna
36:57 Best Film List selection – how can you compare
38:39 Our scores – The higher weight, the lower down the list
39:30 Manchester By The Sea comes out on top for the OGGSCARS
40:00 Watching the Oscars in the UK
The discussion includes the following films shown at #LFF #BFI London Film Festivals:
- A Monster Calls
- Innocents, The
- It’s Only The End of the World
- Kiss Me Kate
- La La Land
- Laurence Anyways
- Manchester By The Sea
- Nocturnal Animals
- Toni Erdman
Update: Tickets still available: http://www.bfi.org.uk/lff/ticket-availability
The programme for this years BFI London Film Festival runs from 5-16th October 2016. Every year, EC Forde and I try and outline the films that interest us. Some will get a big cinema release, others, a smaller cinema release, and some you may catch at other festivals and screening events. The rest may just vanish from our radar, with the hope that they pop up somewhere in the future (e.g. TV/DVD/Event). So this is the perfect opportunity to see films from around the world. Particularly interesting this year are the number of films we wanted to list. 33 features, and 13 short films.
They take us on a journey through, Mali, Nigeria, Chad, Botswana, South Africa, America, Uganda, Haiti, France and the UK.
See our selection below and find out more on the BFI 60th London Film Festival website.
EC Forde & Jammie xx
|The 13th||Thu 6|
|All This Panic||Fri 7, Sat 8|
|American Honey||Fri 7, Sat 8, Tue 11|
|Arrival||Mon 10, Tue 11, Thu 13|
|Being 17||Mon 10, Tue 11, Sun 16|
|The Birth of a Nation
This explosive Sundance-winning drama follows Nat Turner, a preacher who became the radical leader of an uprising against slavery.
|Tue 11, Wed 12, Thu 13|
|Born In Flames||Sat 15|
|Chi-Raq||Sat 15, Sun 16|
|Daughters of the Dust [Treasure]||Sat 8, Sat 15|
|Divines||Thu 6, Fri 7, Tue 11|
|Fonko||Sat 8, Mon 10|
|Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy||Sat 8, Sun 9|
|Hospital [Treasure]||Sun 9|
|I called him Morgan||Fri 7|
|The Illinois Parables
Eleven parables relay histories of settlement, removal, technological breakthrough, violence, messianism and resistance, all occurring somewhere in the state of Illinois.
|Jewel’s Catch One||Sat 8, sun 9|
|Layla M||Tue 11, Thu 13|
Following her groundbreaking debut Bombay Beach, director Alma Har’el returns with another genre-bending, visually stunning gem about our perception of love and relationships, including the psyche of Victory, a young black woman in New York City pondering family bonds and faith.
|Sat 8, Mon 10|
|Mimosas||Thu 6, Fri 7|
|Moonlight||Thu 6, Fri 7, Sat 8|
|A Moving Image||Sat 8, Fri 14, Sun 16|
|Nocturama||Sat 15, Sun 16|
|Wed 12, Fri 14|
|The Pass||Wed 12, Fri 14|
|Queen of Katwe
The powerful true life tale of one girl’s determination to escape from poverty in Uganda by becoming a chess champion, directed by Mira Nair and starring David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.
|Sun 9, Mon 10, Wed 12|
|The Revolution Won’t Be Televised||Sun 9, Mon 10|
|Stolkholm My Love||Tue 11, Wed 12|
|Those Who Jump
|Thu 13, Sat 15|
|A United Kingdom||Wed 5, Thu 6, Tue 11|
|The Wedding Ring
A female-directed and rare film from Niger, about a privileged young woman who comes back home, in the sultanate of Zinder, after studying in Paris to discover the truth of the relationships between women and men in her society.
|White Colour Black||Sat 15|
|Wùlu||Fri 7, Sat 8|
|Hollywood Disections – Sat 8|
|Juke – Passages From The Films of Spencer Williams – The career of African American actor, director and scriptwriter Spencer Williams re-enacted in a plotless montage film.|
|London Calling – Thu 13, Fri 14|
|Pregnant Pause – Pee. Wait. Panic. Steph is in a happy, long-term relationship, but now that she might be pregnant she has no idea what she wants.|
|We Love Moses – Twelve-year-old Ella’s obsession with her brother’s best friend lands her with a potent secret.|
|Love in a Void – Wed 5, Fri 7|
|Nkosi Coiffure – Eva escapes her boyfriend on the street of Brussels’ Congolese neighbourhood. She finds solace in an afro hair salon. Initially, at least.|
|New Kind of Kick – Fri 7, Sat 8|
|The Best Last Best Plane Ride Ever – October, 1986. The NY Mets beat the Houston Astros. This animation recreates their post-game airplane celebration: three hours of unbridled chaos.|
|Returning and Repressing – Sun 9|
|Ears, Nose and Throat – While under a medical examination, a modest woman unburdens her traumatic witnessing of the shooting of a man by his friend.|
|Liliesleaf Farm Mayibuye: In Search of the Spectres of History – Using double screen, the filmmaker juxtaposes her domestic family history with that of Nelson Mandela prior to his arrest.|
|On a Wing and a Prayer – A recreation of the 31-mile walk of refugee Abdul Rahman Haroun through the Eurotunnel, only for him to be arrested under an arcane Victorian railway law.|
|Reluctantly Queer – A young Ghanaian man confesses his confusion around his sexuality and his desire to please his mother.|
|Tales of Mystery and Imagination – Wed 12|
|The Girl Who Danced With the Devil (A moça que dançou com o Diabo) – A girl from a very religious family seeks her own paradise.|
|Teen Creeps – Thu 6, Thu 13|
|Crystal Lake – A group of young girls take over a skate park. There, on the reclaimed ramp and with no boys around, they thrive.|
|The Send-Off – Emboldened by a giant block party on the evening of their high school prom, a group of students enter the night with hope for the future.|
|The Past is the Present Too – Fri 14|
|The Sea is History (work in progress) – The Sea is History, made in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, is a free adaptation of the poem by Derek Walcott as a materialist and animist critique of the monumentalisation of European colonial history and its ripples into the present.|
Events & Talks
- Black Mirror Preview
- Lynette Wallworth
Opening Friday 15th July 2016
Director George Amponsah
Producer Dionne Walker
Screenwriters George Amponsah, Dionne Walker
Production company Ga Films Ltd
“The Hard Stop is an intimate documentary revealing the story, away from all press coverage, of Mark Duggan’s friends and family following his death. He was shot and killed in a ‘Hard Stop’ police procedure in 2011, sparking the most violent riots in British history. For 28 months, director George Amponsah (The Fighting Spirit) filmed around Broadwater Farm in Tottenham, where Duggan grew up, capturing his family’s distress and focusing on two of his best friends, Marcus Knox and Kurtis Henville. We follow the men closely as they attempt to get on with their lives, look for a job, talk about the discrimination they experience on a daily basis and the impact Duggan’s death has had on the community. Duggan is present throughout, in peoples’ testimonies and news broadcasts. What emerges is a profoundly humane, thought-provoking and topical testament, which gives a voice to people who are rarely heard.”
BFI LFF 2015
Family and friends talk about their relationship with mark Duggan and how things unfolded after his death during a ‘Hard Stop’ – ‘a nationally approved police tactic’.
The film is thought-provoking, funny, sad and totally compelling watching. I’ve watched this film twice, and both times I have walked away with more questions than answers. Well worth seeing.
Also, read this piece in The Guardian:
The man accused of starting the 2011 riots – and what he did next.
“Marcus Knox-Hooke was at the heart of the 2011 riots sparked by the death of his friend Mark Duggan in a police shooting. A new documentary examines what happened and follows him as he struggles to rebuild his life.”
The programme for this years BFI London Film Festival runs from 7-18th October 2015. Every year, EC Forde and I try and outline the films we think have an afrocentric slant to them, in the hope that you get the chance to see them before they disappear from London cinemas. Some of course will get a big cinema release, others, a smaller cinema release, and some you may catch at other festivals and screening events. The rest may just vanish from our radar, with the hope that they pop up somewhere in the future (e.g. TV/DVD/Event). That is the beauty of the Film Festival, the ability to have access to these films covering topics from all over the world.
This years films takes us to the mountains of Ethiopia (Lamb), introduces us to a female mechanic in Johannesburg (Ayanda), brings us love, lust and power in Lagos (Fifty), child rebel soldiers in an unnamed African country (Beasts of No Nation), a look at male friendship in St Louis (Cronies), and a documentary in Tottenham – friends and family of Mark Duggan explore his life and subsequent death in 2011 (The Hard Stop).
My love affair with music related films continues, and I am looking forward to the “Sonic” stream of music films at the festival, If I’m honest, I could probably watch all of the films in this section of films, but EC and I are giving a nod to three you should check out, including two films about Hip Hop. One on the clothing culture and how it influenced fashion on the catwalks and high streets (Fresh Dressed) and the other on Hip Hop Radio presenters Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia (Stretch and Bobbito:Radio That Changed Lives)… AND, if that isn’t enough, there is an after-party after the screening at Hackney Picturehouse, where Stretch and Bobbito DJ at Birthdays on Stock Newington Road (Saturday 17th)!
So much more to tell you, and we will be back with more films, particulary the short films worth catching, and maybe some of the films available online.
EC Forde & Jammie xx
In the meantime, here is our list of recommended films:
It’s 1914 and 12-year-old Adama lives with his elder brother Samba in a small west African village. They have been raised to be naturally sceptical of the negative forces or spirits that live outside the community, so the family is shocked when Samba runs away to become a warrior. Adama leaves the village soon after in order to search for him. His epic journey takes him across several continents and forces the boy to take stock of the world at large, particularly a war-strewn Europe where, it becomes clear, Samba has been sent to the front line trenches to fight. Adama is a richly animated film that deals with an important chapter in world history. It is as exciting and enlightening as it is moving.
Saturday 10 October 3:45pm @ Ritzy Cinema, Screen 2
Sunday 11 October 3:45pm @ BFI Southbank, NFT2
Sara Belcher’s Ayanda is a fresh, modern tale set in a vibrant and diverse Johannesburg. 21-year-old Afro-hipster and artist Ayanda (Fulu Mugovhani) is the child of a Nigerian father and a South African mother (Nthati Moshesh). After her father’s death she inherits his struggling garage and along with her mechanic boyfriend David (OC Ukeje) they work hard, combining their skills, to keep the business going. In order to attract custom they decide to specialise in the buying, refurbishing and selling of vintage cars. Using a collage-style ‘inspired by the possibilities of a modern African aesthetic’, Blecher presents colourful portraits of the multi-national residents living in Johannesburg’s Yeoville suburb, intercut with a rousing narrative of two individuals with nothing to lose overcoming all odds. A lively, engaging and ultimately celebratory female-centred story, Ayanda also highlights the Afro-cultural hub that modern South Africa is fast becoming.
Saturday 10 October 8:45pm @ Cineworld Haymarket, Screen 1
Sunday 11 October 6:15pm @ Ritzy Cinema, Screen 2
Beasts of No Nation
Cary Fukunaga’s (True Detective, Jane Eyre, Sin Nombre) unflinching adaptation of Uzodinma Iweala’s 2005 novel of the same name (itself borrowed from Fela Kuti’s 1989 album) is at once enthralling cinema and a gut-wrenching indictment of child exploitation. In an unnamed African country, civil conflict rips through the village where Agu, a sparky young boy, lives with his family. Witnessing unspeakable atrocities, including the brutal execution of his father and older brother, Agu is forced to run for his life. He is discovered, dazed and traumatised, by a group of rebel soldiers and is swiftly incorporated into their ranks by a fierce mercenary. The Commandant (Idris Elba), who receives his own orders from afar and for an unknown purpose keeps his militia fuelled with a heady mix of intoxicating bravado and hard drugs, maintains control through psychological and physical abuse. Rapidly adapting in order to survive, Agu is pushed to unthinkable limits. Idris Elba is charismatic and terrifying as the unhinged Commandant and newcomer Abraham Attah is a revelation as Agu, delivering a performance that (like his character) carries a weight beyond his years. Whilst deeply true to its African subject, the film resonates darkly beyond its situation, serving as a harsh reminder of childhoods destroyed in war zones and deprived urban areas everywhere.
Thursday 08 October 6:00pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 7
Thursday 08 October 6:30pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 5
Friday 09 October 12:30pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 5
Black Girl (La Noire de…)
The evolution of African cinema can be dated from Sembène’s astonishing first feature, which tells the tragic story of Diouana, a young Senegalese woman eager to find a better life and who takes a job as a governess for a bourgeois French family. Mistreated by her employers, Diouana’s hopes turn to disillusionment and she descends into a state of isolation and despair. Sembène draws from the Nouvelle Vague, but the film’s heart and soul is most definitely African. It is the perfect companion to Samba Gadjigo’s documentary Sembéne!.
Wednesday 07 October 6:20pm @ BFI Southbank, NFT3
Friday 09 October 1:30pm @ BFI Southbank, NFT3
Executive produced by Spike Lee and developed while director Michael J Larnell was in film school, Cronies is a funny, sharply-observed look at male friendship. Louis and Jack have been mates since their tough childhood in one of the poorer, mostly black neighbourhoods of St Louis. Now grown up, they’re growing apart with Jack partying every day, while Louis has a baby and a job at a carwash. Louis’ new friend Andrew, the white guy whose parents own the car wash, threatens the delicate balance of the pair’s friendship. Then a spontaneous day out turns into a weed-fuelled test of their bond. With hints of Clerks, not least in the gorgeous B&W photography and rough-hewn charm, Larnell delivers a smart film about growing up and an ode to his native St Louis with the three local actors giving performances full of great natural appeal.
Thursday 08 October 6:30pm @ Ritzy Cinema, Screen 2
Saturday 10 October 2:45pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 7
The Endless River
In a small South African town, a man returns home from a four-year prison sentence. Tiny, his wife, finds herself agonising over their inability to reconnect. Meanwhile, on the other side of town Gilles, a French ex-pat is devasted by the brutal murder of his wife and young children. United in their suffering, Tiny and Gilles form an unlikely bond, turning to each other for help and companionship. While the gorgeous opening credits feel like a homage to a classic Hollywood western, Oliver Hermanus’ third feature (following the acclaimed Shirley Adams and Beauty) soon proves to be something far more thought-provoking. Defiantly ambiguous in its storytelling and consistently surprising in its aesthetic choices, The Endless River is undeniably demanding. However, thanks to the extraordinary central performances from Crystal-Donna Roberts and Nicolas Duvauchelle, along with Hermanus’ intelligent direction, such formal invention never eclipses the film’s devastating emotional impact.
Tuesday 13 October 2015 18:20 @ Curzon Mayfair Cinema
Thursday 15 October 2015 21:00 @Vue Cinema Islington
Biyi Bandele’s follow-up to Half of a Yellow Sun is a riveting exploration of love and lust, power and rivalry, and seduction and infidelity, set in Africa’s most populous city, Lagos. It details a few pivotal days in the lives of four women at the pinnacle of their careers and revelling in the power and supposed wisdom that comes with age. Tola is a reality TV star whose marriage to lawyer Kunle never stood a chance, thanks to an unpleasant family secret. Elizabeth is a celebrated obstetrician whose penchant for younger men has estranged her from her daughter. 49-year-old Maria has an affair with a married man that causes explosive rifts in her social circle. And for Kate, her battle with a life-threatening illness has prompted an obsession with religion. Elegantly performed, featuring a vibrant, pulsating soundtrack and with Lagos evocatively filmed by Malcolm McLean, Fifty is a joy to watch.
Saturday 17 October 6:00pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 7
Sunday 18 October 6:30pm @ Ritzy Cinema, Screen 2
In this fascinating and lively directorial debut, Sacha Jenkins continues his chronicling of hip hop culture that began with his journalism in the 1990s, followed by his 2008 publication, ‘Piecebook: The Secret Drawings of Graffiti Writers’. Here, he tells the story of the colourful characters that emerged from urban roots to hustle the oversized pants and graffiti-emblazoned jackets from the New York discount stores and would go on to influence both the fashion world’s catwalks and middle America’s shopping malls. Channelled through an entertaining collage of original interviews, archive footage, gloriously ‘fresh’ stills and groove-inducing hip hop, Jenkins’ film connects the dots between music, style, self-expression and identity politics. Moving from pre-Civil War slavery to South Bronx in the 1970s and the super-connected niche cultures of today, Fresh Dressed is the story of freedom of expression as articulated by disenfranchised and oppressed peoples.
Saturday 17 October 6:30pm @ Hackney Picturehouse, Screen 1
Sunday 18 October 3:00pm @ Picturehouse Central, Screen 1
Gold Coast (Guldkysten)
In 1836, young botanist Wulff Joseph Wulff is dispatched to the Danish colonies in Guinea (present-day southeast Ghana) to establish and oversee a coffee plantation. He is fuelled by naïve optimism and what he believes is a progressive mentality, but his troubling experience of colonial life radically challenges his very European complacency. Based on fact, but far from a traditional historical drama, both in style and content, writer/director Daniel Dencik’s story evolves through a series of richly textured dreamlike vignettes. Dencik employs a creative collision of fact and imagination to build a mesmerising picture of Wulff’s moral compass, thoughts and inner life. And Jakob Oftebro (Kon-Tiki) delivers an extraordinary and extreme performance as Wulff, by turns visceral, conflicted and heartbreaking. The addition of Angelo Badalamenti’s ethereal contemporary score further helps to bring a distinctive freshness to this powerful and ambitious feature debut.
Sunday 11 October 6:00pm @ Cineworld Haymarket, Screen 1
Tuesday 13 October 6:30pm @ Vue Cinema Islington, Screen 1
Thursday 15 October 12:00pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 7
The Hard Stop
The Hard Stop is an intimate documentary revealing the story, away from all press coverage, of Mark Duggan’s friends and family following his death. He was shot and killed in a ‘Hard Stop’ police procedure in 2011, sparking the most violent riots in British history. For 28 months, director George Amponsah (The Fighting Spirit) filmed around Broadwater Farm in Tottenham, where Duggan grew up, capturing his family’s distress and focusing on two of his best friends, Marcus Knox and Kurtis Henville. We follow the men closely as they attempt to get on with their lives, look for a job, talk about the discrimination they experience on a daily basis and the impact Duggan’s death has had on the community. Duggan is present throughout, in peoples’ testimonies and news broadcasts. What emerges is a profoundly humane, thought-provoking and topical testament, which gives a voice to people who are rarely heard.
Saturday 17 October 8:45pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 7
Sunday 18 October 3:45pm @ Ritzy Cinema, Screen 2
This is an exquisite, multilayered directorial feature debut that unfolds amidst the breathtakingly beautiful mountains of Ethiopia. After the death of his mother, 9-year-old Ephraim is taken from his drought-stricken home by his father who places him in the care of relatives while he goes to look for work in Addis Ababa. Ephraim has his pet sheep Chuni for company and they are inseparable, spending all their time playing together. Ephraim’s uncle, a hard working peasant-farmer, is frustrated that Ephraim doesn’t seem to be good at anything. However, the situation turns against Ephraim when he is told that Chuni will be sacrificially slaughtered at the next religious feast. Distraught at this news, Ephraim decides that he must take drastic action to save his only friend, even if that means returning home. Lamb marks the arrival of a major new African filmmaker in Yared Zeleke.
Friday 09 October 6:30PM @ ICA Cinema, Screen 1
Saturday 10 October 9:00pm @ Rich Mix Cinema, Screen 1
Jonas Carpignano’s riveting feature debut is an ultra-topical tale of two young African men, Ayiva and Abas from Burkina Faso who, in search of a better life, make the difficult and dangerous trip across the Sahara desert and Mediterranean Sea to reach Italy. Needless to say, their destination is more problematic than the two friends imagined. The Calabrian community is hostile to immigrants who attempt to eke out an existence there, which eventually leads to violence and rioting. Played by a largely non-professional cast (many having experienced similar problems), Mediterranea is a powerful, strikingly shot and utterly believable film. Directed with verve and considerable aplomb by director Carpignano, the film was developed from his award winning short A Chianna, which also drew on real life events.
Friday 16 October 9:15pm @ Curzon Mayfair Cinema, Screen 1
Saturday 17 October 1:00pm @ Ritzy Cinema, Screen 2
Sebastián Silva’s Nasty Baby is one of the most original works of the year, by turns beguiling, seductive and confrontational. Successful artist Freddy (Silva) and his boyfriend Mo (Tunde Adebimpe) are happily ensconced in Brooklyn and preparing to have a baby with Freddy’s best friend Polly (Kristen Wiig). Silva quickly draws us into their world and we identify with their worries: how to impregnate Polly; what Mo’s conservative family make of it; how to manage their increasingly disruptive neighbour. All against the backdrop of Freddy’s attempts to create a new work for a major gallery and struggling with the threat of deportation. These truthful and urgent cares are more than enough to make the film compelling. But the roguishly brilliant Silva hasn’t set out to deliver an absorbing ‘post-race’ drama about gay parenting. Instead, he plays a breathtaking and audacious late curve ball that is guaranteed to spark passionate post-screening debates.
Tuesday 13 October 8:45pm @ Cineworld Haymarket, Screen 1
Thursday 15 October 8:45pm @ Hackney Picturehouse, Screen 1
For his directorial debut, Sibs Shongwe-La Mer delves into the world of contemporary Johannesburg’s privileged youth. He plays Jabz, a twentysomething slacker who hangs out with best friend September in their uptown neighbourhood. They embark on a drug and alcohol-fuelled spree – their way of dealing with the circumstances that led to their friend’s live-streamed suicide a year before. Beautifully shot in black and white, Necktie Youth avoids the stereotypes that often undermine the country’s cinematic output, instead presenting a refreshing portrait of the ‘born frees’ – the generation born since 1990 and after the fall of Apartheid. Though their parents fought for or experienced the struggle against that regime, these youths are ill-equipped to handle the tragedy that blows apart their relatively sheltered lives. Winner of the Best South African Film and Best Director awards at the Durban International Film Festival, this is a promising film from a major new talent.
Friday 16 October 9:00pm @ Ritzy Cinema, Screen 2
Sunday 18 October 4:00pm @ Curzon Soho Cinema, Screen 1
Red Leaves (Alim adumim)
This marvellous first feature by Tel Aviv-based Ethiopian director Bazzi Gete tells the story of Meseganio, an immigrant who has been living in Israel for almost 30 years. After the death of his wife, he announces to his family that he will be selling his house and living with them. A stubborn patriarch, Meseganio is used to having everything done his way, so he is angry and hurt when his hard-line traditional values are challenged. He clashes with his daughter-in-law when she stands up to him and is shocked that his teenage granddaughter has a non-Ethiopian boyfriend. What makes this portrait of a man out of time with the world so compelling is Debebe Eshetu’s central performance. Scrupulously watched by Eddan Sasson’s camera – often in extreme close up to capture his anguish and outrage – Eshetu perfectly captures Meseganio’s inability to understand his children or exercise any power over them.
Thursday 08 October 9:15pm @ BFI Southbank, NFT3
Monday 12 October 6:30pm @ Ritzy Cinema, Screen 2
This incisive documentary chronicles the life of the internationally acclaimed filmmaker, considered by many to be the father of African cinema. Ousmane Sembène was a self-taught novelist and filmmaker. His ambition was to make films that would reach a vast African audience, from the illiterate to the educated. He dropped out from school when he was in the fifth grade and left Senegal, embarking on a journey that took him to Marseille where he worked as a docker. It was following an accident and the subsequent months lain in bed that Sembène began writing. From there he attended the Gorky Film Institute in Moscow and shortly after directed his first short film. Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman’s film details Semebène’s transformation into a world class filmmaker, through personal recollection, archive footage and the magnificent films he made. It is a fitting tribute to one of cinema’s great pioneers and storytellers. The director’s stunning feature debut Black Girl is also screening in the LFF.
Wednesday 07 October 8:45pm @ BFI Southbank, NFT3
Thursday 08 October 3:30pm @ BFI Southbank, NFT2
Stretch and Bobbito: Radio that Changed Lives
In 1990, Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia started broadcasting on New York’s WKCR. The pair filled the airwaves with their intense passion for Hip Hop, uniquely infectious chemistry and sense of humour. Presenting exclusive demo tapes and live in-studio freestyles from a range of artists who were unsigned at the time but now read like a roll call who’s who of the hip hop world, the Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show rapidly became a rally cry for rap. Their audience ranged from kids from the streets, the prison community and downtown fashionistas. It is a personal account of the show through its halcyon days, featuring previously unreleased footage and contributions from Nas, Biggie, Wu-Tang, Big Pun, Rosie Perez, Busta Rhymes, Eminem, Q-Tip, Jay Z and many more. This is simply a must for any fan of hip hop.
Thursday 15 October 9:00pm @ Curzon Soho Cinema, Screen 1
Saturday 17 October 8:45pm @ Hackney Picturehouse, Screen 1
Fizzing and popping with the energy of as-it-happened classics like Before Sunset and Do the Right Thing, Sean Baker’s Tangerine, a tale of two transsexual hookers on Santa Monica Boulevard, could prove the sleeper hit of the year. On Christmas Eve, released from a brief stint in jail, Sin-Dee Rella meets her best friend Alexandra who reveals that her beau, Chester, has been cheating on her with a ‘white fish’ (a Caucasian female-born woman). The news propels the mercurial Sin-Dee to find Chester’s new girl and teach her a lesson. Remarkably, considering the richness of the bold, saturated colour and widescreen photography, Baker and his co-cinematographer, Radium Cheung filmed this on iPhone 5s, grabbing most scenes with just two cameras and dolly shots filmed from cycles. The result is a film of urgency and veracity, with charming performances from transgender non-actors Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez. From donut shop to Hollywood dive bar, the comedy of hair pulling and bitch slapping gives way to something altogether more tender and unexpected: a film about female friendship and solidarity.
Friday 09 October 8:45pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 7
Friday 09 October 9:15pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 5
Saturday 10 October 12:30pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 5
Filmed on the remote island of Tanna in Vanuatu, this visually ravishing film tells the story of Wawu, a young woman who has fallen in love with her chief’s grandson, Dain. Despite their desire to marry, Wawa’s family forbid this union. When an inter-tribal war breaks out with a neighbouring community, her hand is unwittingly promised as part of the peace negotiations. With the threat of separation looming, Wawa and Dain abandon their homes in an attempt to be together, causing further upset between the warring clans. Based on the true story that took place in 1985, this is a stunningly photographed, evocative tale of two star-crossed lovers fighting the laws of ancient tradition and tribal custom. Working with an extraordinary cast of non-actors, acclaimed documentary filmmakers Martin Butler and Bentley Dean have made an arresting narrative debut, expanding on their previous work with indigenous communities, resulting in a truly special film.
Friday 16 October 9:15pm @ Curzon Soho Cinema, Screen 1
Sunday 18 October 3:30pm @ Vue Cinema Islington, Screen 1
They Will Have to Kill Us First: Malian Music In Exile
Imagine living in a world with no radio, no stereos and no live music. It is difficult to contemplate, but that is exactly what happened in an area of Mali in 2012. Islamic Jihadists took control of Northern Mali and through a harsh interpretation of Sharia law they banned all forms of music. In a tragedy that constitutes nothing less than a crime against humanity for a country famous for its vibrant and colourful music, radio stations were destroyed, instruments burned and revered musicians faced torture, even death. For her feature debut, Johanna Schwartz intelligently captures the complexity and emotion of the life of musicians forced into exile and desperate to keep their music alive. The score was composed by the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Nick Zinner and there is music from a variety of artists, including Khaira Arby, Fadimata ‘Disco’ Walet Oumar, Amkoullel and Moussa Sidi
Tuesday 13 October 6:15pm @ Picturehouse Central, Screen 1
Wednesday 14 October 6:30pm @ Rich Mix Cinema, Screen 1
Director: Rob Brown
Starring: Roger Jean Nsengiyumva, Rachael Stirling, Rosie Day, Fady Elsayed, Sam Spruell
Jumah is about to turn 16 and is already in need of a fresh start. Burdened with the shameful legacy of a past as a child soldier in the Congo, he lives with his adoptive mother in west London, where he struggles to keep a lid on his history of violence. One night, enjoying a rare carefree evening out with a new friend, Jumah witnesses something that draws him seemingly inescapably into his old ways. As he and others around him begin to question whether he can ever stop being a soldier, he’s set on a path to find out who he truly wishes to be.
I first saw this film at the London Film Festival in October 2013. Interesting brit film which asks the question we all hope we’ll never be faced with, ‘What would you do if you were a witness to a crime, and then became a target?’ Add to that Jumah’s history of being a child soldier, and it adds an unexpected twist to his predicament. But this is a thinking over brawn film, very gently done. Superb acting from Roger Jean Nsengiyumva. Lots of shots in West London, off and around Ladbroke Grove.
A selection of afrocentric films at this years BFI Flare Film Festival which opens on Thursday. Here are our selections for the festival.
Including Kenyan film, ‘Stories of Our Lives‘ which gets its UK Premiere at the festival but sadly is already sold out.
Mo’Nique returns to the big screen in her first film since winning an Oscar for ‘Precious‘ in ‘Blackbird‘ a story based on Larry Duplechan’s Novel of the same title, with the films screeplay written by Brit Rikki Beadle-Blair.
The Starlite, one of New York’s pre-Stonewall gay bars – a black-owned and operated influential dance club, is celebrated in, ‘We Came To Sweat‘. Some of the disco sound originated at the bar, which is now under the threat of redevelopment.
Plus there’s another chance to see French film, ‘Girlhood‘ and the hottest black film in years, ‘Dear White People‘ as with its London Film Festival outing last year the tickets sold out within an hour.
The festival closes with the documentary, ‘Out To Win‘, looking at the experience of LGBT sportspeople working in professional sport, with contributions from Brit John Amaechi, and remembering Justin Fashanu.
19-29 March 2015.
50 feature films and over 100 short films. BFI Southbank.
Download the film Schedule here.
A gay boy in a deeply conservative Southern US town deals with the traumas of religious prejudice and coming out.
“Based on a 1986 Larry Duplechan novel, transposed to a Mississippi small town. Randy, a young black man, is wrestling unsuccessfully with his burgeoning sexuality. A member of his church choir, he has a tight cohort of school friends who seem more aware than he is of his sexuality. Meanwhile, at home Randy has to contend with his deeply religious mother (actress Mo’Nique from Precious), grief-stricken since his sister was mysteriously abducted. An unexpected encounter with a young actor and filmmaker changes things for Randy, but nothing runs that smoothly in this ripely melodramatic, emotionally engaging coming-of-age story, replete with plenty of sharp one-liners.” BFI
- Mar 21, 2015 8:45 PM
- Mar 23, 2015 1:50 PM
Girlhood Bande de filles
Céline Sciamma’s triumphant film explores of a young girl’s search for identity in the underprivileged suburbs of Paris.
“Céline Sciamma (Waterlilies and Tomboy) returns with this glorious coming of age drama about a quartet of young black girls growing up in the working class outskirts of Paris. Marieme is the eldest daughter of a single mother who works nights, leaving her with full responsibility for her younger sisters and an older brother so authoritarian that his behaviour borders on the abusive. At first a lonely, solitary figure among the young girls on her estate, Marieme is soon adopted by a sassy group, and the quartet find strength and power together in a community where rough boys dominate. Less overtly ‘L, B, or T’ than her previous work, Sciamma’s Girlhood is a nuanced examination of female friendship, gender dynamics and identity. Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ provides the backdrop to one of the year’s most electrifying, joyful scenes: ‘eye to eye, so alive, we’re like diamonds in the sky…’.” BFI
- Mar 23, 2015 8:40 PM
- Mar 24, 2015 3:50 PM
The diversification of an all-black residence hall forces a group of African-American university students to take a stand.
“Sam White is frustrated. Everywhere she looks, she finds racial inequality and coded aggression at her elite university. Her radio show is rubbing people up the wrong way and her ex-boyfriend, the tormented son of the school’s dean, is her opponent in a student election campaign she thinks she will never win. When she does, Sam is forced to face the true complexity of the racial politics she espouses; a complexity that Lionel Higgins, a gay writer casually ridiculed by the black student union Sam runs, is already facing.” BFI
- Mar 24, 2015 8:40 PM
- Mar 25, 2015 3:50 PM
- Mar 28, 2015 1:30 PM
Over 50 years of gay, black American heritage is at stake when this pre-Stonewall Brooklyn bar is threatened by redevelopment.
“When a Brooklyn landmark, the black-owned and operated Starlite, is threatened with eviction by new landlords, its 50-year history as a pre-Stonewall gay bar and dance club is in peril. This film is a history of the club, its patrons and its staff, many of whom are also deserving of national treasure status. It’s not just in London that gentrification and rising property prices tempt landlords to sell to developers in the hope of making a fast buck. The community rallies around in protest, but is it enough? The history of the Starlite and its importance to the black gay community as a privileged space is underlined by the rich testimony from elders and family members for whom the venue is simply a part of their life. With a rich soundtrack of great music, reflecting the club’s influence on the creation of disco, the film is a warning to anyone who thinks their favourite gay bar is a permanent fixture.” BFI
- Mar 24, 2015 8:50 PM
- Mar 26, 2015 6:10 PM
- Mar 27, 2015 6:10 PM
A visually stunning and tenderly wrought collection of stories about LGBTI lives in Kenya.
“Two young women are in trouble for their ‘peculiar’ relationship; a farm hand is tormented when his crush begins courting a woman; a young DVD seller is intoxicated by the smoke and sounds of a clandestine gay bar. These are among the tales featured in this beautifully rendered collection of narratives from LGBTI Kenyans. Stories of Our Lives started out as an archival project by the multi-disciplinary Nest Collective, and the testimonies given have been tenderly wrought into funny, endearing – and at times heartbreaking – sketches. The quality and imagination achieved transcends the predictable but nevertheless disappointing response from the Kenyan government; after its Toronto premiere Stories of Our Lives was banned in the country for promoting homosexuality. That many of the actors are not themselves LGBT but were willing to participate at great personal risk is testament to the socially incisive and life-affirming vision of the project.” BFI
- Mar 26, 2015 8:40 PM
- Mar 28, 2015 11:45 AM
- Mar 29, 2015 4:10 PM
Inspirational documentary charting the history of homosexuality in competitive sport, with interviewees including Martina Navratilova and Jason Collins.
“In the competitive world of professional sports, homosexuality continues to be a big issue. So big that it seems no-one wants to talk about it. With so many athletes afraid that coming out will mark the end of their careers, there is a dearth of proud LGBT sportspeople representing the community and empowering future generations. Thankfully, some brave individuals have spoken out about their sexuality and paved the way for change. Told through the words of these pioneers, Malcolm Ingram’s inspirational documentary charts the history of homosexuality in sport, highlighting the triumphs, and indeed the tragedies, of those fearless forerunners, and profiling the victories of present day stars” BFI
- Mar 29, 2015 6:00 PM
- Mar 29, 2015 8:45 PM
The View from Here | Mar 20, 2015 4:00 PM | Mar 21, 2015 11:50 AM
Whether you’re in your teens or well into adulthood, coming out can be one of the most terrifying (and perhaps most thrilling) things you’ll ever have to do, as demonstrated in this poignant collection of short films.
The Return La Retour – A teenage boy must make sense of the world around him after he learns the truth about his older brother.
Director Yohann Kouam | France 2013 | 22 mins
Pleasures and Perils of Desire | Mar 23, 2015 4:00 PM
A rich haul of shorts about yearning for, finding, and remembering encounters of a sexual nature.
Caged Uitgesproken – A group of friends hanging out at a sports ground discover one of their number is gay, but it seems he might not be the only one.
Director Lazlo Tonk, Dylan Tonk | The Netherlands 2013 | 13 mins
T/Here I Am | Mar 22, 2015 1:50 PM | Mar 25, 2015 8:45 PM
Take up space, stand your ground, have no fear of not fitting in – these shorts explore what it means to be a queer body in a strange world.
Black Is Blue – A young homeless transman works as a security guard and is called to shut down a party his ex was rather enjoying.
Director Cheryl Dunye | USA 2014 | 16 mins
Dark Rivers of the Heart | Mar 27, 2015 3:50 PM | Mar 28, 2015 1:20 PM
Sinister desires become violent actions in this often disturbing programme of shorts.
Beyond Plain Sight – A seemingly charming young man hides a very dark and disturbing secret in his South London flat.
Director Joseph a. Adesunloye | UK 2014 | 13 mins
Fragile Things | Mar 29, 2015 12:45 PM
A collection of UK short films – From first encounters to break-ups, via autograph hunters, hand-jobs and a vision of Christ, this selection of homegrown narrative shorts explores infatuation and desire.
When Fragile Things Break – An explosive drama about dreams and hearts breaking.
Director Shanika Warren-Markland | UK 2013 | 7 mins
Mingmong – Annalise and Jude collect autographs together but Annalise’s mind is on other things.
Director Richard Turley | UK 2013 | 12 mins
Followers – Lynn has a vision of the face of Christ on a pair of swimming trunks.
Director Tim Marshall | UK 2014 | 12 mins