The 63rd BFI London Film Festival runs from the 2-13 October 2019, with a loads of short films to see from around the world, we’ve picked a selection of 25 short films to choose from. You can also see our selection of 42 feature films and 4 events to see. Check the available films on the BFI London Film Festival 2019 website.
Friday 11 October 2019 | 20:45 | ODEON Tottenham Court Road, Screen 3 Sunday 13 October 2019 | 18:10 | BFI Southbank, NFT2
Online culture is now all-consuming, and constantly changing through fast-moving technology, both welcome yet terrifying in terms of what comes next. The films here illustrate those cultures brilliantly, whether on a personal level of daily life or the bigger political picture. Total running time 100 min
Film 2: Algo-Rhythm
A hip hop musical, shot in Dakar, using Senegalese musicians and artists, which deconstructs comprehensive threats to human rights posed by the rise of the algorithmic management of daily life via social media and online platforms. Dir Manu Luksch. Austria-UK-Senegal 2019. 14min
Film 5: Pompeii
Tam gets on the first tube home, plugs himself into his phone and begins reliving his night out via social media stories. Dir Harry Lighton, Marco Alessi, Matthew Jacobs Morgan. UK 2019. 9min
Film 8: Zombies
Tribal motifs and digital culture collide exploring the stupefying effects of mobile technology. Dir Baloji. Belgium-Democratic Republic of the Congo 2019. 15min
What Remains Sunday 06 October 2019 | 15:20 | BFI Southbank, NFT3
A series of artists’ short films that explore the effects of human and capitalist destruction of the natural world. Total running time 92 min
Film 2: That Which is to Come is Just a Promise
A single long shot explores the possibility of Tuvalu’s submergence under water, a transformation that scientists have predicted will happen in the next 30 years. Dir Flatform. Italy-Netherlands-New Zealand 2019. 22min
Close and Far Friday 04 October 2019 | 18:15 | Prince Charles Cinema, Downstairs Screen Saturday 05 October 2019 | 12:40 | Vue West End, Screen 6
The parent-child relationship is one of the most complex, evoking a whole spectrum of emotions. This collection of shorts explores life situations that can shape these relationships permanently, difficult choices that parents can be sometimes faced with and journeys in the search for connection and understanding. Total running time 108 min.
Film 2: Blackwood
A look at the challenges of living in a small Australian town, portrayed through the lens of a novelist and her teenage son. Dir Kalu Oji. Australia 2018. 12min
Film 7: Dawn in the Dark
When a young girl’s father is taken to hospital, a familial bond between her and her uncle is tested. Dir Runyararo Mapfumo. UK 2019. 16min
Film 9: Mahalia Melts in the Rain
In preparation for a ballet photoshoot, Mahalia and her mother visit a hairdresser. Dir Emilie Mannering, Carmine Pierre-Dufour. Canada 2018. 11min
My Life, Whose Rules?
Sunday 06 October 2019 | 15:15 | ODEON Tottenham Court Road, Screen 3
Monday 07 October 2019 | 12:50 | Vue West End, Screen 4
Whether it’s about remaining steadfast and true or redefining oneself in a shifting world, these short films tell of personal journeys of survival, identity and agency. Total running time 111 min
Film 1: Appreciation
After a personal tragedy, a Pentecostal preacher is lifted by her congregation in this vivid treat for the eyes and ears. Dir Tomisin Adepeju. UK 2019. 15min
Meet the doppelgängers, the outcasts and the weirdos. From encounters in the unlikeliest of places in the city you sleep in, to the brightest of days in places you’ll never visit in a supernatural world. Total running time 106 min
Film 5: White Girl
Beth is seemingly lost. As she wanders around seeking help from strangers, things take a darker turn. Dir Nadia Latif. UK 2019. 13min
Film 6: Suicide By Sunlight
Valentina, a day-walking black vampire protected from the sun by her melanin, is forced to restrain her bloodlust to regain custody of her estranged daughters. Dir Nikyatu. USA 2018. 17min
Joy to the World… Wednesday 02 October 2019 | 20:40 | Vue West End, Screen 7 Friday 04 October 2019 | 15:30 | Vue West End, Screen 5
Joyful films! Triumphant films! Funny films! Total running time 96min
Film 3: Love the Sinner
11-year-old Joanna tries to understand grief through her mother’s reaction to Princess Diana’s death.
Dir Jennifer Sheridan. UK 2018. 10min
Film 10: Serious Tingz
The face of masculinity as portrayed by young men who grow up in the inner city, where the iconic ‘screwface’ is more than just an expression, it’s a matter of life and death. Dir Abdou Cissé. UK 2018. 3min
This eclectic, exciting and colourful selection of animated short films include themes of friendship and home. This year, alongside films from the UK we present new work from Disney, Dreamworks and Studio Ponoc. Total running time 61 min
Film 2: Exchange Student
A girl from Earth attends alien school. This is “Exchange Student” by Natalie Nourigat – a tale about an Earthling girl who feels like an outsider at a school for aliens. More Short Circuit shorts are coming exclusively to #DisneyPlus in Spring 2020. Dir Natalie Nourigat. USA 2019. 2min
This programme brings together works that represent the breadth and complexity of resistance across the African Diaspora, considering spirituality, music and arts alongside protest as key interventions for freedom. Total running time 94 min.
Film 1: Sojourner
Honouring the Black feminist activists of the past and present, Cauleen Smith re-imagines Noah Purifoy’s Desert Museum in California as a utopian community. Dir Cauleen Smith. USA 2018. 23min
Film 2: Fi Dem II
An investigation of Blackness, labour, diaspora and family heritage through archive, glitch, strobe and sound. A commitment to the Windrush generation. Dir Zinzi Minott. UK 2019. 9min
Film 3: Primeiro Ato
Theatre students André and Gabriel drum up support for resistance against the dismantling of culture policies in Brazil. Dir Matheus Parizi. Brazil 2019. 19min
Film 4: Pattaki
Under the light of the moon, a community affected by water scarcity marvel at the power of the Orichȧ water deity Yemayȧ. Dir Everlane Moraes. Cuba 2018. 21min
Film 5: Oh My Homeland
Great soprano Leontyne Price attempts to maintain her composure on stage as she receives adoration from her audience at her 1985 farewell opera. Dir Stephanie Barber. USA 2019. 4min
Film 6: Pelourinho, They Don’t Really Care About Us
Referencing a 1927 letter from WEB Du Bois to the Brazilian Embassy, colourful footage illustrates an exploration of anti-blackness in Brazil. Dir Akosua Adoma Owusu. Ghana 2019. 9min
Film 7: Black Bus Stop
A performative reclamation of a site of resistance through dance for African American students. Dir Kevin Jerome Everson, Claudrena N. Harold. USA 2019. 9min
This programme is an international cinematic adventure roving across the boundaries that define present-day society, including geopolitics, technology, neo-colonialism and how the human future is only conceivable in relation to the past. Total running time 89 min
Film 5: Hand in Hand (Sunu Jappo)
Exploration of the Chinese-Senegalese relationship, featuring the Museum of Black Civilisations, recently built by China and conceived as a powerful symbol of decolonialisation. Dir Ming Wong. Senegal-China-Germany 2019. 15min
…In an Age of Consent Friday 04 October 2019 | 20:40 | ODEON Tottenham Court Road, Screen 3 Sunday 06 October 2019 | 12:20 |Cine Lumiere
The definition of consent is to give permission. Intimacy is defined by a consensual physicality evident in romantic love, sexual activity, a beautiful friendship and random intimate moments with passing strangers. That line of consent is interrogated in the films here, holding up a magnifying glass to every intimate moment from a misplaced hand to the power dynamics of a sexual situation to the re-contextualisation of a past narrative. Total running time 110min.
Film 2: Spring Fever
A refreshingly different and fun sex education class in the Netherlands. This is an anti-shame class. Dir Anna Snowball. UK-Netherlands 2019. 9min
Films that dispel visual certainties to present new optical perceptions.Total running time 115 min
Film 12: A Love
An engagement with love and loss, presence and absence that become ritualised in need for recognition. Dir Anne-Marie Copestake. UK 2019. 16min
London Calling Thursday 10 October 2019 | 18:00 | BFI Southbank, NFT1 Saturday 12 October 2019 | 15:00 | ODEON Tottenham Court Road, Screen 3
A selection of new shorts from some of the capital’s most exciting upcoming filmmakers, funded by BFI NETWORK and delivered by Film London. Total running time 84 min
Film 4: Losing Pace
A young black man from a working-class background is on a trajectory towards success when an encounter with the police jeopardises everything. Dir Naomi Soneye-Thomas. UK 2019. 8min
Film 6: Something in The Closet
A queer teenager struggles with her sexuality, as desires manifest their way from the depths of her eerie closet into reality. Dir Nosa Eke. UK 2019. 14min
It’s arrived! The 63rd BFI London Film Festival runs from the 2-13 October 2019, with a bumper selection of films to choose from around the world, including: Brazil, Cameroon, Congo, France, Haiti, Italy, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Portugal, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, UK, USA, Vietnam, and Zambia.
Here is our selection of 42 feature films and 4 events. Highlights include Mati Diop‘s Atlantics, Burning Cane with Wendell Pierce, Alfre Woodard in Clemency, the long awaited, Harriet, starring Cynthia Erivo. Michael Jordan will be in attendance giving a screen talk, and starring in Just Mercy, and Lupita Nyong’o stars in Little Monsters. We’re also looking forward to UK films, Rocks and White Riot.
Atlantics(Atlantique) Friday 04 October 2019 | 18:00 | Vue West End, Screen 7 Saturday 05 October 2019 | 20:40 | Cine Lumiere Monday 07 October 2019 | 12:10 | BFI Southbank, NFT1
Ada and Souleiman are in love. But Souleiman is tired of labouring without pay on the gleaming towers of Dakar. He sets out across the sea with friends, leaving Ada to face impending marriage to another man. But as the women gather in the bar where the men used to drink, it seems that something has returned after all.
Dir Mati Diop; With Mama Sané, Amadou Mbow, Ibrahima Traoré France-Senegal-Belgium, 2019
A young woman named Teresa travels home for the funeral of her grandmother, who was the matriarch of Bacurau, a village that happily embraces its misfits, mixed-heritage outsiders, whores, hippies and queers. On arrival, Teresa discovers that the dusty little town has been wiped clean off the map by the middle-class elite from the north, who are busy ingratiating themselves, selling their country and its people (quite literally, it turns out) to rich European and American interests.
Burning Cane Friday 11 October 2019 | 20:50 | BFI Southbank, NFT3 Saturday 12 October 2019 | 16:30 | Vue West End, Screen 6
Helen stalks through her farm with a cleaver in one hand, cigarette in the other, running through the various treatments she’s tried for her dog’s mange. Her recently unemployed son Daniel pushes beer and whiskey on his own child. And the local preacher (Wendell Pierce) remains in denial about the malice forming an increasingly powerful undertow to his sermons. As alcohol and melancholy suffuse this Louisiana family and their pastor, a woozy portrait emerges – one of characters living in lows they cannot transcend.
Dir-Scr Phillip Youmans; With Wendell Pierce, Karen Kaia Livers, Dominique McClellan USA 2019
Burning Night(Breve Miragem de Sol) Thursday 03 October 2019 | 18:20 | BFI Southbank, NFT3 Saturday 05 October 2019 | 20:30 | Vue West End, Screen 4
Down on his luck and recently divorced, Paulo (Boliveira) has begun driving a cab around Rio, hoping he’ll make enough to send his ex money to support their ten-year-old son. He mostly works nights, so in addition to his encounters with a colourful variety of customers, colleagues, cops and others, he must cope with loneliness, fatigue and new faces in his life.
Dir Eryk Rocha; With Fabricio Boliveira, Bárbara Colen, Cadu N Jay Brazil-France-Argentina 2019
Clemency Wednesday 02 October 2019 | 18:00 | Vue West End, Screen 7 Friday 04 October 2019 | 15:00 | ODEON Tottenham Court Road, Screen 3 Friday 11 October 2019 | 20:30 | ICA Cinema, Screen 1
Clemency opens with experienced prison warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard) overseeing a lethal injection that goes agonisingly wrong. Botching ‘the procedure’ heightens scrutiny over her next execution, of convicted cop killer Anthony Woods (Aldis Hodge) who maintains his innocence. Woodard delivers a stunning performance as methodical authority figure Bernadine, whose necessary professionalism has made her emotionally unavailable to husband Jonathan (The Wire’s Wendell Pierce). No amount of after-work drinking will make the nightmares stop.
Dir-Scr Chinonye Chukwu; With Alfre Woodard, Aldis Hodge, Richard Schiff, Wendell Pierce USA, 2018
Desrances Thursday 03 October 2019 | 18:10 | Vue West End, Screen 4 Saturday 05 October 2019 | 12:20 | Vue West End, Screen 4
After the brutal massacre of his family in Haiti, Francis Desrances resettles in the Ivory Coast. Years later Francis, his wife Aissey and 12-year-old daughter Haila await the birth of a son, who to Francis’ excitement and Haila’s irritation is immediately regarded as the worthy heir to the Desrances name. As the birth looms, civil war erupts in Abidjan and amidst the melee Aissey goes missing. Haila courageously steps forward in ways that challenge her father’s notion of what constitutes a rightful heir.
Dir-Scr Apolline Traoré; With Jimmy Jean-Louis, Naomi Nemlin, Evelyne Ily Burkina Faso, 2019
Give Me Liberty Friday 11 October 2019 | 18:00 | Vue West End, Screen 7 Sunday 13 October 2019 | 19:45 | BFI Southbank, NFT3
American-Russian Vic drives a van transporting disabled passengers around Milwaukee. He needs this job and today he’s running dangerously late. Tracy, an African-American woman with ALS, is not impressed. But there’s also Vic’s eccentric Russian grandfather’s neighbours, who all need a lift to a funeral, plus a livewire dude called Dima, who claims to be the deceased’s nephew and is coming along for the ride. From these chaotic beginnings, the film zooms through a day and a night, creating a turbulent tapestry of working-class lives that touches on issues of race, disability and poverty in America’s most segregated city.
Dir Kirill Mikhanovsky; With Chris Galust, Lauren ‘Lolo’ Spencer, Maksim Stoyanov USA, 2019
Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman nonetheless escaped the South of the US and travelled alone over 100 miles on foot to the first free state, Philadelphia. But finding it impossible to enjoy her freedom while others were enslaved, she returned as a fugitive over 13 times to dangerous Confederate states, helping more than 70 people escape in the years before the Civil War.
Dir Kasi Lemmons; With Cynthia Erivo, Janelle Monáe, Joe Alwyn, Clarke Peters, Leslie Odom Jr USA, 2019
Just Mercy Saturday 05 October 2019 | 14:45 | Vue West End, Screen 7 Wednesday 09 October 2019 | 14:15 | ODEON Luxe Leicester Square
Fresh from Harvard Law School, fledgling attorney Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) defies the wishes of his parents, who are concerned about the notoriously racist South, when he ventures to Alabama to open a law practice to support death row inmates routinely denied proper legal counsel. Meeting with a variety of prisoners, Stevenson soon encounters Walter “Johnny D” McMillan (Foxx), a black man accused of the brutal murder of a white teenage girl, an allegation he vehemently denies, with numerous factors clearly supporting innocence. Despite Johnny D’s scepticism that he will be afforded due diligence by a corrupt system, Stevenson hires local advocate Eva Ansley (Brie Larson), and mounts an urgent case for a retrial, uncovering a chain of injustices and crucial oversights as they search for the truth.
Dir Destin Daniel Cretton; With Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, Rafe Spall, O’Shea Jackson Jr USA, 2019
First Feature Competition
The Last Black Man in San Francisco Friday 04 October 2019 | 18:00 | Curzon Mayfair Cinema, Screen 1 Saturday 05 October 2019 | 15:15 | ODEON Tottenham Court Road, Screen 3 Friday 11 October 2019 | 20:30 | BFI Southbank, NFT2
Jimmie (Jimmie Fails) dreams of reclaiming the beautiful late 19th century home his grandfather built in the heart of the city, before harder times and changing demographics forced his family out. He and best friend Mont (Jonathan Majors) scheme to make this happen while Jimmie annoys the sitting tenants with guerrilla gardening on the beloved Fillmore house. A skateboarder and dreamy, suit-wearing playwright, the pair are at odds with the tough guys around the neighbourhood, and spend their time working to deliver Jimmie’s dream while living with Mont’s grandfather (Danny Glover).
Dir Joe Talbot; With Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Rob Morgan USA, 2019
Little Monsters Saturday 05 October 2019 | 18:00 | BFI Southbank, NFT1 Monday 07 October 2019 | 15:30 | Vue West End, Screen 5 Tuesday 08 October 2019 | 18:15 | ICA Cinema, Screen 1
Dave is at a crossroads in his life. Recently dumped and with his aspirations of heavy metal stardom fading away, the eternal man-child is forced to crash on his sister’s sofa. However, things look up when he meets the effervescent Miss Caroline, his 5-year-old nephew’s favourite teacher. Desperate to spend time with the object of his affection, Dave signs up to chaperone a school trip to the local petting zoo. But when the neighbouring military base accidentally unleashes a hoard of zombies upon the unsuspecting farmyard, Dave, Miss Caroline and their miniature posse must join forces to keep the flesh-eating army at bay.
Dir-Scr Abe Forsythe; With Lupita Nyong’o, Josh Gad, Alexander England Australia-USA-UK, 2019
The Lost Okoroshi Thursday 03 October 2019 | 20:40 | Vue West End, Screen 4 Saturday 05 October 2019 | 15:30 | ICA Cinema, Screen 1
Fed up with the soulless city and how its dwellers have lost touch with their ancestral traditions, Raymond Obinwa yearns for reconnection between man, spirit and traditional society. He awakens one morning to find he has transformed into a traditional Igbo masquerade Okoroshi. In his new form, Raymond/Okoroshi sets off on a quest to find a new home in the city. Along the way, he encounters brassy sex-worker Doris, street hustler Willy-Willy – who is convinced of Okoroshi’s earning potential – and witnesses the idle chit-chat of conspicuous pseudo-spiritual authority the IPSSHRR (The Igbo People’s Secret Society for Heritage, Restoration and Reclamation).
Dir-Prod Abba Makama; With Seun Ajayi, Judith Audu, Tope Tedela Nigeria, 2019
Luce Sunday 06 October 2019 | 17:30 | Vue West End, Screen 7 Sunday 06 October 2019 | 18:00 | Vue West End, Screen 5 Monday 07 October 2019 | 20:30 | ODEON Tottenham Court Road, Screen 3
Luce (Kelvin Harrison Jr) is a former refugee, a child soldier from a war-torn African country. Seemingly recovered from his childhood trauma, he now lives in his adoptive country as the son of white liberal middle-class parents (Tim Roth and Naomi Watts). His high school’s brightest hope – a fiercely intelligent debater and star athlete – Luce seems destined to achieve great things. But after he chooses Franz Fanon as an assignment to deliver a paper in the voice of a historical figure, Luce’s English teacher (Octavia Spencer) becomes suspicious that something darker may lurk beneath his highly-controlled exterior.
Dir Julius Onah; With Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Kelvin Harrison Jr USA, 2019
The Man Who Cuts Tattoos Tuesday 08 October 2019 | 18:30 | BFI Southbank, NFT2 Wednesday 09 October 2019 | 18:40 | Vue West End, Screen 6
To mark the beginning of adulthood and prepare for marriage, a young girl in an Edo village must undergo a painful rite of passage through scarification. The agony she endures for a loving union finds her questioning the process. Sometime in the future, unencumbered by the traditions that exist in present day Lagos, Michelle questions her tumultuous relationship with boyfriend America. Having recently found out she’s pregnant, with America pushing her towards an abortion and with her job on the line, Michelle also considers the sacrifices that are made for love.
Dir-Scr Michael Omonua; With Valerie Dish, Omowunmi Dada, Duke Elvis Nigeria, 2019
Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool Thursday 10 October 2019 | 20:30 | Curzon Soho Cinema, Screen 1 Saturday 12 October 2019 | 12:30 | Prince Charles Cinema, Downstairs Screen
This detailed, textured chronology offers something for all, from jazz newbies to viewers who’ve long been drowning in the ocean of genre-expanding music that poured from the musician’s magically muted trumpet. Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool swings through five decades of sonic innovation: from hard bop to heavenly orchestrations, the ambient acoustics of Kind of Blue to the funky fusion of Bitches Brew. It’s a treasure trove of electrifying archive and authoritative interviewees (including several collaborators and ex-lovers), which smartly deploys extracts from Miles’s searing autobiography. The film also explores his impact on black cultural identity and doesn’t flinch from discussing the violent, drug-fuelled ravages of a troubled and troubling icon.
Dir Stanley Nelson USA-UK, 2019
Muna Moto Saturday 12 October 2019 | 15:10 | BFI Southbank, NFT3 Sunday 13 October 2019 | 20:30 | BFI Southbank, Studio
Ngando (David Endéné) and Ndomé (Arlette Din Belle) are deeply in love. Ngando wishes to marry Ndomé. But he is poor and cannot afford a dowry, making him unable to fulfil the tradition. And according to the village tradition, she must take a husband. After a meeting, the villagers decide that Ndomé should marry Ngando’s childless uncle, Mbongo (Philippe Abia), who already has three wives. In despair, Ngando decides to something unthinkable on the day of the wedding.
Dir-Scr Jean-Pierre Dikongué-Pipa; With Philippe Abia, Arlette Din Bell, David Endéné Cameroon, 1975
My Friend Fela Friday 04 October 2019 | 20:45 | BFI Southbank, NFT2 Saturday 05 October 2019 | 12:45 | BFI Southbank, NFT2 Sunday 06 October 2019 | 14:45 | Vue West End, Screen 4
Fela Kuti inspired a generation of Africans and African Americans with his own unique style of music, known as Afrobeat. A combination of Afropop, jazz, highlife, juju and funk, it was infused with social and political criticism of the military dictatorship in Nigeria. With an expertly assembled mix of interviews and archive footage, director Joel Zito Araújo presents a complex portrait of an enigmatic and often troubled man.
The Living and the Dead Ensemble, an artist collective from Haiti, France and the UK, bring an embodied and contemporary perspective to the history of the only uprising of enslaved peoples that led to the creation of a state. Shot in Haiti and France, through complex conversations and performances, Ouvertures considers ideas around language and translation as well as major themes of colonialism, power, cultural memory, generational trauma, knowledge and resistance.
Dir Louis Henderson, Olivier Marboeuf with The Living and The Dead Ensemble France-Haiti-UK, 2019
Premature Saturday 05 October 2019 | 21:00 | Vue West End, Screen 6 Monday 07 October 2019 | 15:45 | Vue West End, Screen 4
Temperatures are rising in Harlem as Ayanna (Zora Howard) prepares to depart for a college writing programme. Then Isaiah appears on the scene. Echoing John Singleton’s Poetic Justice, Ayanna’s arresting poetry charts the rocky terrain of first love. If the couple find themselves tethered to the reality of urban life, at incisive moments they manage to soar within the love-scape of their own making.
Dir Rashaad Ernesto Green; With Zora Howard, Joshua Boone USA, 2019
Real Sunday 06 October 2019 | 18:15 | Vue West End, Screen 6 Tuesday 08 October 2019 | 15:45 | ODEON Tottenham Court Road, Screen 3
Young couple Jamie (Pippa Bennett-Warner) and Kyle (Omoshaybi) struggle to manage personal hardship at the start of their blossoming relationship. Jamie leads the charge with quiet tenacity as a mother determined to create a stable environment for her young son. In tandem, Kyle puts the need to battle his own demons on hold and is willing to beg, steal or borrow to impress his new love.
Dir-Prod-Scr Aki Omoshaybi; With Aki Omoshaybi, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Karen Bryson UK, 2019
Everyone’s an amateur archivist these days, but few match the pre-internet dedication of public access TV producer Marion Stokes. Philadelphia’s visionary hoarder recorded 70,000 VHS tapes filled with news broadcasts, from 1979’s Iranian hostage crisis to the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012. Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project shows how this librarian, computer collector and Star Trek-loving civil rights activist quickly perceived the ways 24-hour cable television was rewiring viewers’ minds.
Olushola Joy Omotoso, ‘Rocks’ to her mates, is a London teenager with ordinary teenage cares; hanging with her crew and helping to look after her little brother keeps her grounded. But on returning from an ordinary day at secondary school, she discovers her mother isn’t home. There’s just a little cash and an apology note. Fearing that she and her brother will be separated if the authorities find out, Rocks decides not to tell anyone and instead copes with her brother alone.
Dir Sarah Gavron; With Bukky Bakray, Kosar Ali, D’angelou Osei Kissiedu, Shaneigha-Monik Greyson, Ruby Stokes UK, 2019
Say Amen, Somebody Monday 07 October 2019 | 18:15 | BFI Southbank, NFT2 Wednesday 09 October 2019 | 20:30 | BFI Southbank, Studio
In this masterful and beautifully restored observational music documentary, George T Nierenberg captures show-stopping musical performances interwoven with fascinating intimate, behind-the-scenes personal moments. With unrivalled access, the film pays tribute to the lives and careers of the movement’s luminaries. These include ‘Mother’ Willie Mae Ford Smith, gospel’s diva and earth mother – a skilful singer and preacher who championed equality for women – and ‘Professor’ Thomas A Dorsey, a blues player who turned to the church and also became a prolific composer, songbook publisher and concert organiser. Spotlighting the work of other artists such as Sallie Martin, the Barrett Sisters and the O’Neal Twins, this extraordinarily infectious and deeply emotional concert film is a truly uplifting experience.
Dir George T Nierenberg USA, 1982
Staff Only(El viatge de la Marta) Friday 04 October 2019 | 18:10 | Cine Lumiere Sunday 06 October 2019 | 17:45 | Vue West End, Screen 4
Is it possible to avoid being problematic when you’re a middle-class white tourist prone to sunburn and entitlement? It’s what Spanish teenager Marta (a quietly intense Elena Andrada) wonders as she eye-rolls her way through a painful Christmas holiday in Senegal, staying with her estranged dad and annoying little brother in a resort full of white sunburnt pensioners. Turning her nose up at her dad’s timetable of culturally-appropriative tourism, she rejects family bonding time, choosing instead to make some local alliances, first with the hotel maid Aissatou and then a romance with aspiring filmmaker Khouma.
Dir Neus Ballús; With Elena Andrada, Sergi López, Diomaye A.Ngom Spain-France, 2019
Synchronic Sunday 06 October 2019 | 20:50 | Empire Haymarket, Screen 1 Monday 07 October 2019 | 15:30 | Prince Charles Cinema, Downstairs Screen Tuesday 08 October 2019 | 12:50 | Vue West End, Screen 4
Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan star as a pair of paramedics traversing the nocturnal streets of New Orleans. More than just colleagues, the duo enjoy a long-standing friendship, supporting each other through the difficulties they face in their increasingly complicated personal lives. But when they encounter a series of bizarre deaths which all appear to lead back to a new designer drug called Synchronic, the two men find their bond put to the test as their worlds are unexpectedly thrown into chaos.
Dir Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson; With Anthony Mackie, Jamie Dornan, Katie Aselton USA, 2019
Talking About Trees Tuesday 08 October 2019 | 20:45 | ICA Cinema, Screen 1 Wednesday 09 October 2019 | 15:40 | BFI Southbank, NFT2
Suliman and three further members of the ‘Sudanese Film Club’ have decided to revive an old cinema. They are united not only by their love of cinema and their passionate desire to restore old film stock and draw attention to Sudanese film history once more, but also by the fact that they have all enjoyed a film education in exile. Tirelessly, they try to get the cinema’s owners on their side and make the place operational again, but repeatedly find themselves up against considerable resistance. In the meantime, they sit together and talk about the past – including their experiences of persecution and even torture as oppositional artists. They also read out old letters written while in exile and dream of a Sudan in which art and intellectual thought can be free. ‘We are smarter than them, but not as strong,’ is how they unanimously summarise their situation.
The Valley Sunday 06 October 2019 | 20:45 | Vue West End, Screen 6 Monday 07 October 2019 | 13:15 | BFI Southbank, NFT2
Sometimes help comes from the most unexpected places. The valleys of the French Alps experienced enforced displacement during Second World War, so perhaps it’s no surprise that many residents feel moved to help refugees whose homes have also become battlefields. In a climate of mistrust and rising prejudice, it’s refreshing to witness everyday people get savvy about the laws of these lands, especially when political engagement is fickle. As one man quips, ‘Increase the retirement age by six months and you’ll have three million people protesting, but nothing for this’.
In Pedro Costa’s 2014 drama Horse Money, Vitalina Varela made a memorable appearance, effectively playing herself. In this follow-up – less a sequel than a deeper pursuit of its themes and motifs – Varela steps into the foreground as a woman who, after years waiting for a plane ticket, arrives in Portugal three days after her husband’s funeral. A mesmerising contemplation of race, grief and exile…
Dir Pedro Costa; With Vitalina Varela, Manuel Tavares Almeida, Francisco Brito Portugal 2019
Walking with Shadows Wednesday 09 October 2019 | 20:45 | Curzon Soho Cinema, Screen 1 Thursday 10 October 2019 | 20:40 | Vue West End, Screen 4
Ebele Njoko (Ozzy Agu) has been running all his life. A search for acceptance and love from his family has led him to recreate himself as Adrian – respected father, husband and brother. In coming to terms with his sexuality, Adrian is forced to choose between a compromised existence and the life that he would like to lead. When his mask is cruelly stripped away, Adrian’s world rapidly unravels.
Waves Saturday 12 October 2019 | 21:15 | ODEON Luxe Leicester Square Sunday 13 October 2019 | 20:30 | Vue West End, Screen 6
Popular high-school athlete Tyler (an astonishing Kelvin Harrison Jr. who also shines in Luce) lives a seemingly privileged life. An all-star wrestler with a loving girlfriend and a supportive, affluent family, he spends his days training, and his nights partying. But beneath the fragile veneer of perfection, cracks are beginning to show. Under constant scrutiny from his overbearing father, ignoring the reality of a potentially serious shoulder injury and reeling from an unexpected development in his romantic relationship, Tyler’s world looks set to implode. As the pressures around him steadily mount, a series of events are put in motion which threaten not only Tyler’s happiness, but also the lives of the people he loves the most.
Dir-Scr Trey Edward Shults; With Kelvin Harrison Jr, Lucas Hedges, Taylor Russell USA 2019
White Riot Saturday 05 October 2019 | 20:50 | Curzon Soho Cinema, Screen 1 Sunday 06 October 2019 | 18:15 | Prince Charles Cinema, Downstairs Screen
Rock Against Racism (RAR) was formed in 1976, prompted by ‘music’s biggest colonialist’ Eric Clapton and his support of racist MP Enoch Powell. White Riot blends fresh interviews with queasy archive footage to recreate a hostile environment of anti-immigrant hysteria and National Front marches. As neo-Nazis recruited the nation’s youth, RAR’s multicultural punk and reggae gigs provided rallying points for resistance. As founder Red Saunders explains: ‘We peeled away the Union Jack to reveal the swastika’. The campaign grew from Hoxton fanzine roots to 1978’s huge antifascist carnival in Victoria Park, featuring X-Ray Spex, Steel Pulse and of course The Clash, whose rock star charisma and gale-force conviction took RAR’s message to the masses.
Dir Rubika Shah; With Red Saunders, Roger Huddle, Kate Webb UK 2019
Zombi Child Sunday 06 October 2019 | 18:20 | Empire Haymarket, Screen 1 Monday 07 October 2019 | 20:40 | Cine Lumiere Friday 11 October 2019 | 15:30 | Prince Charles Cinema, Downstairs Screen
Haiti, 1962. A man is resurrected from the dead. Forced to work on a sugar cane plantation, Clairvius Narcisse is trapped in perpetual night. Fast forward to contemporary Paris. Haitian teen Mélissa is the new girl at a prestigious school, where cerebral lectures on liberalism are de rigeur. Mélissa makes her first friend in dreamer Fanny when they discover a shared passion for Stephen King. Fanny invites Mélissa to join a secret ‘literary sorority’. But while presentations on Rihanna keep their story firmly 21st-century, something more ancient is at play, with Mélissa harbouring an incendiary family secret.
Dir-Scr Bertrand Bonello; With Louise Labèque, Wislanda Louimat, Katiana Milfort France 2019
Other films and events of interest:
Cold Case Hammarskjöld Friday 04 October 2019 | 18:00 | Curzon Soho Cinema, Screen 1 Saturday 05 October 2019 | 17:50 | BFI Southbank, NFT2
Mads Brügger’s investigation, attempts to solve the mysterious death of Dag Hammarskjöld, who served as the second Secretary General of the United Nations. In 1961, while attempting to negotiate a ceasefire in the Congo, his plane crashed in Zambia, killing all on board. The reason for the crash is a mystery. A number of conspiracy theories exist, particularly as Hammarskjöld was outspoken in his opposition to colonialism and appeared on the black list of many powerful mining companies.
Dir-Scr Mads Brügger; With Göran Björkdahl, Mads Brügger Denmark-Norway-Sweden-Belgium, 2019
County Lines Tuesday 08 October 2019 | 18:30 | Vue West End, Screen 7 Wednesday 09 October 2019 | 20:45 | BFI Southbank, NFT2 Sunday 13 October 2019 | 20:30 | Vue West End, Screen 7
The term ‘county lines’ describes the practice of using children to traffic drugs from cities to coastal towns and rural areas, an underreported fact of modern British life. Inspired by the stories he heard while mentoring kids at an East London pupil referral unit, writer-director Henry Blake’s powerful feature debut boasts a compelling central performance by Conrad Khan as 14-year-old Tyler, whose mum Toni (Ashley Madekwe) is struggling to provide for him and his sister. Excluded from school, Tyler becomes a train-bound narcotics courier for local criminal Simon.
Dir-Scr Henry Blake; With Conrad Khan, Ashley Madekwe, Harris Dickinson UK, 2019
Divine Love(Divino amor) Wednesday 09 October 2019 | 20:45 | Empire Haymarket, Screen 1 Thursday 10 October 2019 | 18:10 | Vue West End, Screen 4 Friday 11 October 2019 | 15:30 | BFI Southbank, NFT2
Brazil, 2027. Joana is a civil servant working with clients seeking a divorce. A devout believer in the institution of marriage, she does what she can to persuade quarrelling couples to give it another go, turning to the unorthodox methods of her religious group Divino Amor. But things are not plain sailing at home. Try as they may, Joana and her husband Danilo remain childless, despite their staunch efforts to conceive. Becoming increasingly reliant on her local 24-hour drive-through priest service, Joana is fast giving up hope, until one day a miracle happens.
Dir Gabriel Mascaro; With Dia Praes, Julio Machado Brazil-Uruguay-Chile-Denmark-Norway-Sweden, 2019
Knives Out Tuesday 08 October 2019 | 19:30 | ODEON Luxe Leicester Square Tuesday 08 October 2019 | 20:30 | Embankment Garden Cinema Wednesday 09 October 2019 | 11:30 | Embankment Garden Cinema Friday 11 October 2019 | 11:00 | ODEON Luxe Leicester Square Sunday 13 October 2019 | 14:45 | Empire Haymarket, Screen 1
Murder mystery novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is a veritable one-man crime-fiction industry and his adult children – and their children – have been living off him for years. When he turns up dead, the apparent victim of a murder, it seems that no-one has a motive for killing the golden goose. At least, that’s what the detectives assigned to the case think. But Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) – the debonair ‘Kentucky-fried’ private investigator mysteriously hired by an anonymous source – has other ideas. With a superb cast at their arch best (Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Katherine Langford, Ana de Armas and Don Johnson, to name a few), this is impeccably written and designed, full of unexpected twists and turns from start to finish.
Dir-Scr Rian Johnson; With Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Plummer, Lakeith Stanfield USA, 2019
Moffie Thursday 10 October 2019 | 20:40 | Vue West End, Screen 7 Thursday 10 October 2019 | 21:10 | Vue West End, Screen 5 Friday 11 October 2019 | 12:30 | Vue West End, Screen 7 Friday 11 October 2019 | 13:00 | Vue West End, Screen 5
1981, South Africa. Nicholas (Kai Luke Brummer) has long known he is different, that there is something shameful and unacceptable in him that must stay hidden, denied even. But South Africa’s minority government are embroiled in conflict at the Angolian border and all white young men over 16 must serve two years of compulsory military service to defend the Apartheid regime and its culture of toxic racist machismo. The ‘black danger’ is the real and present threat; what is wrong with Nicholas and others like him can be rooted out, treated and cured like a cancer. But just when fear pushes Nicholas to accept unspeakable horrors in the hopes of staying invisible, a tender relationship with another recruit becomes as dangerous for them both as any enemy fire.
Dir Oliver Hermanus; With Kai Luke Brummer, Ryan de Villiers, Matthew Vey South Africa-UK, 2019
Monsoon Saturday 05 October 2019 | 18:15 | Empire Haymarket, Screen 1 Sunday 06 October 2019 | 15:45 | Prince Charles Cinema, Downstairs Screen Monday 07 October 2019 | 15:00 | Vue West End, Screen 7
Londoner Kit (Henry Golding, Crazy Rich Asians) has come to Vietnam to scatter his mother’s ashes and to connect with the place he departed from as a child. But everything has changed and he finds little to anchor him. That is, until he meets Lewis, a black American living in Saigon whose father served in the war that still underscores many of Kit’s interactions. Monsoon builds an atmosphere that will likely resonate with anyone who has felt that unique sense of loneliness at being somewhere they once belonged.
Dir-Scr Hong Khaou; With Henry Golding, Parker Sawyers UK, 2018
On a Magical Night(Chambre 212) Wednesday 09 October 2019 | 21:00 | Cine Lumiere Friday 11 October 2019 | 16:00 | Vue West End Cinema, Screen 9 Saturday 12 October 2019 | 15:45 | Vue West End, Screen 7
After yet another bitter row, Maria (Chiara Mastroianni) finds herself staying in a hotel overlooking the apartment she shares with husband Richard (Benjamin Biolay). As she debates what to do next, the ghosts of past lovers begin to fill the room, forcing Maria to confront her romantic triumphs and failures. Shot through with the director’s customary eroticism and wit, this gorgeous and often funny film returns to similar territory as break out films Dans Paris (LFF 2006) and Les Chansons D’Amour. The same vivid evocation of Paris is found here, along with a healthy preoccupation with beautiful people and their love affairs. But a refreshing romantic pessimism feels new, lending this apparently small-scale drama an unsentimental and perceptive insight and wisdom.
Dir-Scr Christophe Honoré; With Chiara Mastroianni, Vincent Lacoste, Camille Cottin, Anthony Fulrad France-Luxembourg-Belgium, 2019
Returning to the US as Europe’s ‘It’ girl after her breakout success – including Godard’s Breathless – Seberg (Stewart) finds herself a target of J Edgar Hoover’s FBI when she becomes romantically involved with Black Panther Hakim Jamal (Anthony Mackie) and flaunts her disregard for America’s misogynistic and racist institutions. Stewart dazzles as the starlet who was all-but-destroyed by an archly conservative FBI – then a nefarious organisation with virtually unchecked power – and dismayed as she unwittingly took others down with her.
Dir Benedict Andrews; With Kristen Stewart, Jack O’Connell, Anthony Mackie, Colm Meaney, Zazie Beetz USA, 2019
The Street Friday 11 October 2019 | 18:15 | Prince Charles Cinema, Downstairs Screen Saturday 12 October 2019 | 12:30 | ODEON Tottenham Court Road, Screen 3
Some of the businesses on Hoxton Street have been around for over a hundred years. But recent times have witnessed an explosion of coffee shops, art spaces and property development. Sound familiar? The locals feel the exclusion of being priced out, and wonder who’s to blame, while Cameron’s EU referendum looms in the background. Xenophobia is tangible; and with a new working space offering colourful ball-pit baths, the disconnect between the new creatives and the local community seems irreconcilable. From 82-year-old Colleen, to the couple who met as teens working in the pie shop they now run, everyone is feeling a storm coming.
Heralding the start of BFI Musicals!, a major UK-wide celebration of the genre, this 50th anniversary screening of Bob Fosse’s directorial debut is a high-energy paean to love, the 1960s and a showcase of his remarkable talent. Fosse’s distinctive choreography, appetite for irony and bold editing ensure that his films are among the most vital in the musical canon, with ‘Big Spender’ and ‘Rich Man’s Frug’ – the inspiration for Beyoncé’s ‘Get Me Bodied’ video – among the stand-out numbers. MacLaine replaced Broadway star Gwen Verdon, but she lights up the screen with Charity’s boundless joie de vivre. She’s brilliantly matched by Chita Rivera and the underrated Paula Kelly as her co-workers at the Fandango Ballroom. When they perform the breathless ‘There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This’ it’s hard not to think, no, there really isn’t. We will also be showing the rarely seen ten-minute alternative ending after the film.
Dir Bob Fosse; With Shirley MacLaine, John McMartin, Ricardo Montalban, Paula Kelly USA, 1969
With a career trajectory that parallels frequent creative collaborator Ryan Coogler, Michael B. Jordan’s rise has been meteoric. From a stunning, acclaimed performance in Coogler’s Sundance-winning Fruitvale Station in 2013, he went on to global megastar status with an intense, soulful turn as titular pugilist Adonis Creed in the Creed series of films and, as Erik Killmonger in Black Panther, he became the ‘baddie’ that everyone loathed to hate. Pre-Fruitvale, Jordan impressed in television with roles in acclaimed shows The Wire when he was still in his teens and, just a few years later, Friday Night Lights. Moving into producing, he started his own company Outlier Society, which has a first look deal with Warner Brothers. A powerful advocate for inclusion in the industry, Outlier was one of the first in 2018 to publicly adopt the Inclusion Rider – a contractual stipulation which requires the hiring of a diverse cast and crew on projects. Just Mercy, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, is one of the first projects the company have produced with the Rider in place. The film stars Jordan in a lead role which garnered rave reviews on its recent World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival.
A late addition to the festival, Kasi Lemmons will be talking about her trailblazing career and the making of Harriet, portrayed by Cynthia Erivo.
Starting out as a child actor, the St Louis, Missouri-born Lemmons subsequently appeared in such US television staples as Murder, She Wrote and ER, while also scoring big screen supporting roles in Spike Lee’s collegiate musical School Daze (1988), the cult Nicolas Cage black comedy Vampire’s Kiss (1988), multiple Academy Award winner The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and horror classic Candyman (1992). Having enrolled in the film program at New York’s renowned New School for Social Research, she made an unforgettable directorial debut with the hugely acclaimed Eve’s Bayou: a lyrical, multi-layered and avowedly feminist family saga set in early ’60s Louisiana. Hailed as the best film of 1997 by Roger Ebert, Lemmons’ landmark first outing behind the camera was recently selected by America’s Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry. She reunited with Eve’s Bayou star/producer Samuel L. Jackson for twisted mystery The Caveman’s Valentine (2001); won both the African-American Film Critics and NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Director prizes for second feature Talk to Me (2007, starring the equally garlanded Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor); and most recently directed Angela Bassett to an NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress prize with 2013’s Langston Hughes adaptation Black Nativity.
Inspired by the ‘Strategies of Refusal’ Experimenta 2019 programme, this year’s Experimenta Debate invites artists working with the moving image to explore the resistive strategies they employ in their engagement with visual culture. This year’s presenters include Judah Attille, Tanoa Sasraku-Ansah, Adam Farah (free.yard), and Experimenta artists Zinzi Minott and Louis Henderson with a contribution from The Living and the Dead Ensemble. With the lineage of artists moving image still largely stemming from a singular history of avant-garde and experimental cinema, this debate offers an alternative perspective on what innovation and radicality means for artists whose work foregrounds Black experience. What alternative lineages of experimental film practice are artists drawing from? To what extent are artists of marginalised identities able to privilege form over content in their engagement with the audio-visual? Beyond representation, what strategies are artists employing in their practices to address socio-political issues in their work? These provocations follow up on last year’s Debate in which Rabz Lansiquot, Taylor Le Melle & Experimenta 2018 artists Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, Ayo Akingbade and Morgan Quaintance discussed their positions on representation in visual culture, considering the extent to which the visibility of subjects on screen correlates to those same subjects’ agency and sovereignty in praxis.
LFF for Free
Little White Lies Movie Quiz
Prizes to be won, glory to be claimed…
Tickets for this event are FREE but should be booked in advance Tickets available from Tue 24 Sep. Max team size 4. Max 4 tickets per person.
Wednesday 09 October 2019 | 19:00 | Blue Room BFI Southbank
From heroic heroines, famous final lines and award-winning directors, to Hollywood’s golden age, memorable movie flops and the film world’s biggest franchises – come and test your film knowledge. Prizes to be won, glory to be claimed…
Find out more about all of the films on the BFI London Film Festival Website, and remember, there are often standby tickets available for the Sold Out films – if you really want to see it, take a chance and head to the cinema early.
The BFI is the place to be this weekend! Four black British feature films, short films, and a symposium!
The inaugural SOUL Fest is a two-day celebration of black British talent in film, allowing audiences the opportunity to see a diverse representation of black Britain.
Full details of the festival can be found online: SOUL Fest .
Friday 30 August 2019
18:10 Farming + Q&A with director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Six-week-old Enitan is left in the care of a white working-class family in Tilbury, Essex, but his surrogate mother (Kate Beckinsale) makes for a complex foster parent. Unsure of his place in the world, teenage Enitan (Damson Idris) falls in with a skinhead gang. Based on his own life story, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Farming charts the extraordinary journey of a young fostered Nigerian boy in 1980s England.
UK 2018. Dir Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Damson Idris, Jaime Winstone. 107min
The unique SOUL Fest Symposium brings together a group of leading thinkers from Britain’s diverse communities to consider the role and responsibility of filmmakers with regards to the representation of diversity on screen. The symposium will also feature a presentation of some of the best short films by emerging BAME talent, exploring an eclectic range of tales touching on the Black British experience.
15:30 Nine Nights + Q&A with director Veronica McKenzie and actors Malcolm Atobrah and Mary Nyambura
Marcie and Mickey Haines are 16-year-old athletic twins. They’re inseparable, leaving their mother, Leonore, feeling excluded. On the day of an important race for Marcie, Michael is hit by a car and killed. The next morning she wakes to find the house full of mourners, talking about Michael in the past tense.
UK 2018. Dir Veronica McKenzie. Cast: Mary Nyambura, Malcolm Atobrah, Jo Martin, Elizabeth Brace. 99min
Directed by Shola Amoo, The Last Tree is the semi-autobiographical story of Femi (played by young newcomer Tai Golding), a British boy of Nigerian heritage who, after being fostered in rural Lincolnshire, moves to inner-city London to live with his birth mother. In his teens, Femi (Sam Adewunmi) struggles with the culture and values of his new environment. He must decide which path to adulthood he wants to take and find out what it means to be a young black man in London during the early 00s.
UK 2019. Dir Shola Amoo. Cast: Sam Adewunmi, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Denise Black, Tai Golding, Nicholas Pinnock. 99min
Award-winning writer-director Julius Amedume’s neo-noir psychological thriller is based on a play by Graham Farrow. Robert McQueen’s typical day takes a turn for the worse when he’s ambushed by three masked men who accuse him of sleeping with their wives. Robert pleads his innocence, but reveals something that will change his captors’ lives forever – is it enough to save his own life, though?
UK-USA 2019. Dir Julius Amedume. Cast: Jimmy Jean-Louis, Jack Coleman, Kathleen McClellan. 85min
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.
20:40 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’.
16:00 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.
18:10 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.
20:50 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.
18:15 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.
20:30 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.
20:40 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.
18:15 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.
18:20 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.
18:40 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.
18:10 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’.
20:45 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.
14:15 Tongues Untied 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.
15:00 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.
15:50 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.
“225 features. 77 countries.
14 cinemas. 12 days.
The 62nd London Film Festival runs from the 10th to the 21st October 2018, with a bumper selection of films to choose from, here is our selection of 40 feature films and 32 short films for you – films from the UK, USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, Norway, Austria, Finland, Luxembourg, Sweden, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Libya, Lebanon, Qatar, Kenya, Brazil, Jamaica, Namibia, Congo, Dominican Republic, Martinique, Sudan, and South Africa.
See what the festival has to say about these films by clicking the links below or heading to the website.
The Salem witch trials are given a digital overhaul in this ferocious femme exploitationer.
Friday 19 October 2018 | 21:30 | Cineworld Leicester Square Saturday 20 October 2018 | 14:30 | Embankment Garden Cinema Sunday 21 October 2018 | 20:30 |Prince Charles Cinema, Downstairs Screen
The powerful story of Angelo Soliman, a forced Europeanised African who makes his way through Viennese society in the early 18th century without ever belonging.
Wednesday 17 October 2018 | 18:00 | Cine Lumiere Thursday 18 October 2018 | 15:00 | Vue Leicester Sq, Screen 7
Philippe Faucon’s understated drama is a subtle and tender evocation of a friendship that develops between a lonely Senegalese immigrant and a French divorcée.
Sunday 14 October 2018 | 18:20 | Cine Lumiere Monday 15 October 2018 | 14:45 | Vue Leicester Sq, Screen 6
With his striking, gently comedic debut, set amidst an endless war in his beloved country, hajooj kuka announces himself as one of Sudan’s most unique cinematic voices.
This is a heartfelt and politically engaged profile of Ellis Haizlip, the openly gay host of the ground breaking PBS all-black variety show SOUL!
Saturday 20 October 2018 | 18:00 | Prince Charles Cinema, Downstairs Screen Sunday 21 October 2018 | 21:00 | Vue Leicester Sq, Screen 5
Pixote (Pixote: A Lei do Mais Fraco)
Like a bullet to the heart, Hector Babenco’s visceral portrait of the brutalisation of children and teenagers has lost none of its power.
Saturday 20 October 2018 | 20:30 | BFI Southbank, NFT1
Romantic sparks fly between the daughters of two opposing politicians in Wanuri Kahiu’s neon-bright story of forbidden love in Kenya.
Saturday 13 October 2018 | 18:15 | BFI Southbank, NFT1 Sunday 14 October 2018 | 15:00 | BFI Southbank, NFT2
The Raft (Flotten)
Imagine Big Brother at sea, but with no evictions. Director Marcus Lindeen innovatively uncovers the human stories behind a 1970s social experiment, salaciously dubbed ‘The Sex Raft’.
Friday 12 October 2018 | 18:15 | Curzon Soho Cinema, Screen 1 Saturday 13 October 2018 | 12:30 | Cine Lumiere Wednesday 17 October 2018 | 12:15 | Vue Leicester Sq, Screen 6
Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records
This stylish documentary about the iconic ska, reggae and rock-steady label is a timely and wide-ranging celebration of British Jamaican working-class youth culture.
Sew the Winter to My Skin
Confirming the promise he showed with his powerful Of Good Report (LFF 2013), Jahmil XT Qubeka delivers a superb thriller based on a true story.
Friday 19 October 2018 | 17:45 | Cine Lumiere Saturday 20 October 2018 | 15:45 | Vue Leicester Sq, Screen 7
Sorry to Bother You
A mild-mannered call centre operator whizzes up the corporate ladder after he discovers a unique ability to adopt a “white voice” in writer-director Boots Riley’s breathlessly inventive satire.
Sugar Cane Alley (Rue cases-nègres)
Based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Joseph Zobel and directed by Euzhan Palcy, Sugar Cane Alley is a critically acclaimed and award-winning coming-of-age story.
Friday 19 October 2018 | 20:30 | BFI Southbank, NFT2
Support the Girls
Andrew Bujalski serves up a big-hearted comedy with his day-in-the-life look at Double Whammies – a Hooters-style bar and its tight-knit, all-female staff.
Twin Flower (Fiore Gemello)
This beguiling drama, unfolding amidst the beauty of Sardinia’s sun-dappled landscape, charts the unlikely friendship between a traumatised woman and an illegal immigrant.
Thursday 11 October 2018 | 18:15 | Cine Lumiere Friday 12 October 2018 | 15:45 | Prince Charles Cinema, Downstairs Screen
Bouchra Khalili’s meditation on revolutionary histories considers the poet Jean Genet’s secret 1970 visit to the United States at the invitation of the Black Panther Party. Plus the following short films: + Another Decade + Namibia Today + Promised Lands
Academy Award® winner and BFI Fellow Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave, Hunger, Shame) opens the Festival in pulsating style with this female-fuelled heist thriller that features a cast to die for.
Wednesday 10 October 2018 | 19:45 | Embankment Garden Cinema Thursday 11 October 2018 | 14:00 | Embankment Garden Cinema Friday 12 October 2018 | 20:40 | Odeon Tottenham Court Road, Screen 3
Young and Alive (L’ Époque)
A young and politicised generation share their beliefs and worries in this galvanizing fresco set on the streets of Paris at night.
As well as the short films being shown with the feature film Twenty-Two Hours, there are a selection of short films within the short film programmes – here are our picks:
A Female Body
A is for Artist
Picking Up The Pieces
Rebirth Is Necessary
The Startled Faction
Still Water Runs Deep
This Is Bata Bola
Lust to Love and In Between – 12, 14 Oct
The pursuit of love is a road well travelled. This series of short films shows the universality of desire and breadth of love. Including:
Nevada – The prospect of an unplanned pregnancy exposes minor tensions but, ultimately, strength and certainty in a loving relationship.
Dir Emily Ann Hoffman. USA 2017. 12min
A Female Body (Um corpo feminino) – This dynamic documentary is an open and honest journey that explores what it means to be a woman.
Dir Thais Fernandes. Brazil 2018. 20min
We Would be Lost Without You – 13 Oct
A sense-expanding programme of short artists’ films that investigate the limits of perception and new sensual relationships with technologies and things, and how these might be re-negotiated into new affective orders. Including:
Mic Drop – Investigating the performative gesture of the mic drop and expanding out to consider the interface and anxiety of the voice in relation to processing and technology.
Dir Keith Piper. UK 2017. 12min
Keep it in the Family – 14, 18 Oct
Family life is never easy. A multitude of evils and secrets can lurk behind closed doors. These shorts draw some of those secrets out into the open in order to explore what is acceptable behaviour within the domestic space. Including:
Still Water Runs Deep – A son goes missing. A father must preserve his pride.
Dir Abbesi Akhamie. Nigeria-USA 2017. 15min
Third Sorrow – Yejide is a single mother preparing for her daughter’s first cutting ceremony.
Dir Myriam Raja. UK 2018. 9min
Tween – Being the only girl of African-American descent at the slumber party can lead to both prejudices and jealousy.
Dir Raven Johnson. USA 2016. 8min
Stop Making Sense – 11, 12 Oct
Laughter at its most bizarre, taking both surreal and all-too-real forms. A programme of laugh-out-loud shorts for these nonsensical times. Including:
Hair Wolf – In this Brooklyn beauty shop, there are definitely some things more terrifying than a white girl who thinks it’s okay to have dreads.
Dir Mariama Diallo. USA 2018. 12min
This is the Sound, This is the Picture – 16, 17 Oct –
It takes the power of recorded images, sounds and dance to capture and transform the world around us. Jump in, sit back and explore. Including:
Four Quartets – Dance along with this teen as he learns to stop forcing the narrative and just lets himself go with the music in queer UK.
Dir Marco Alessi. UK 2018. 11min
Juck [Thrust] – Strutting and unapologetic, this female dance troupe will express themselves.
Dir Olivia Kastebring, Julia Gumpert, Ulrika Bandeira. Sweden 2018. 17min
Rebirth Is Necessary – A personal and powerful exploration of blackness, piecing together dreamlike portraits, including Afrofuturism pioneer Sun Ra and the revolutionary Black Panther Party.
Dir Jenn Nkiru. UK 2017. 10min
Entitled – Take a ride from Peckham to Nigeria and back again.
Dir Adeyemi Michael. UK 2018. 4min
This is Bate Bola – An explosive contest between neighbourhoods, this is the Rio Carnival that you have never seen before. This is Bate Bola.
Dir Ben Holman, Neirin Jones. Brazil-UK-USA 2018. 16min
London Calling – 18, 20 Oct
A selection of new shorts from some of the capital’s most exciting upcoming filmmakers, supported by Film London. Including:
Jerk – A Jamaican man of the community battles depression and disillusionment.
Dir Raine Allen-Miller. UK 2018. 10min
Holy Beef – Due to a bad case of the mumps, Slicker and his crew risk defeat in an escalating college beef. Only divine intervention will help them now.
Dir Dwayne Gumbs, Iain Simpson. UK 2018. 11min
Fly – When you are a female rapper from Bermondsey, you only have one chance to fly. Make it count.
Dir Nadira Amrani. UK 2018. 9min
HairCut – A middle-aged barber has to calm the situation when a desperate teenage drug dealer holds up the barbershop at gunpoint.
Dir Koby Adom. UK 2018. 15min
Night Out – Being a teenager is hard. Figuring out who you want to be is harder. Sometimes a night out can change everything.
Dir Amelia Hashemi. UK 2018. 10min
Today is a Thing of the Past – 13 Oct
The unknown behind the familiar and the history behind the present combine to invite us on expeditions into new cinematic territories. Including:
Richland Blue – A corrupt Police Dept produced several films. This is what they could have been like.
Dir Kevin Jerome Everson. USA 2018. 4min
Goddess – Inspired by a stag film by American photographer Garry Winogrand and corrupt police.
Dir Kevin Jerome Everson. USA 2018. 2min
Is It Me or Is It the World? – 14 Oct
Stories of creative resistance to dominant personal, cultural or political forces that seek to control the self; these films treasure artistic beauty, philosophical discourse, diverse sexuality and personal integrity. Including:
Mahogany Too – Nigerian actress Esosa E beautifully re-enacts Diana Ross’s role in Mahogany as nostalgic Afro-Futurism.
Dir Akosua Adoma Owusu. USA-Ghana 2018. 3min
A is for Artist – A young woman discovers her future by looking into her family’s past.
Dir Ayo Akingbade. UK 2018. 4min
Animated Shorts for Younger Audiences – 20 Oct
This eclectic, exciting and colourful selection of short animated films comes from all corners of the globe. Included are the first two theatrical short films from Dreamworks Animation Studios. English language and subtitles. Including:
Colourbirds (Coucouleurs) – What does a two-coloured bird do amongst birds of just one colour?
Dir Oana Lacroix. Switzerland 2018. 6min
A World of Conflict – 17, 19 Oct
Conflicts are all around us – in our families, communities and in the world. Local and international stories reveal the effect of how interconnected our lives have become. Including:
Black Sheep – An 11-year-old boy struggles to navigate his way through a new and hostile environment.
Dir Ed Perkins. UK 2018. 27min
Picking Up the Pieces – John and Quiandre try to come to terms with the reality of their new life following the devastation left by Hurricane Irma.
Dir Sebastian Feehan, Josh Bamford. UK 2018. 7min
What’s My Age Again? – 13, 17 Oct
Growing up is hard to do and there’s no denying we all undertake an important journey during our teenage years. In fact, those growing pangs are what connects us across continents and cultures.
Skip Day – School’s almost out. For seniors in Pahokee, the Monday after prom is Skip Day.
Dir Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan. USA-UK 2018. 17min
Besida – In a small tribal village, certain men are on the look-out to drive young girls to the big city. Besida’s older brother steps in to make sure that it doesn’t happen to her.
Dir Chuko Esiri. 2017. 11min
Girl – A young migrant. Her period.
Dir Lowri Roberts. UK 2018. 6min
Performance Anxiety – 15 Oct
A series of distinctive short artists’ films exploring the ways sexuality, gender, masculinity and labour are expressed through performance and dance. They offer a diverse range of approaches, from the highly stylised dance/movement work of Catherine Sullivan to the painfully sadomasochistic interactions of Stephen Sutcliffe’s vignettes and the fragile masculinity of Benjamin Crotty’s eponymous chauvinist. Including:
The Startled Faction – An extraordinary stylised exploration of self-possession and ambiguous labour explored though dance idioms, movement, mise-en-scène and drama, in collaboration with Chicago Dancemakers Forum.
Dir Catherine Sullivan. USA 2018. 35min
Amazing and Astounding – 18, 21 Oct
Surreal landscapes, created by animators and filmmakers, can take the imagination to a thrilling place. Be prepared to be amazed by strange worlds and fantastical scenarios. Including:
Hello, Rain – A scientist-witch who, through an alchemical combination of juju and technology, creates wigs that grant both her and her friends supernatural powers.
Dir C J ‘Fiery’ Obasi. Nigeria 2018. 30min
Find out more about all of the films on the BFI London Film Festival Website, and remember, there are often standby tickets available for the Sold Out films – if you really want to see it, take a chance and head to the cinema early.
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.
20:30 The Wound “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)
SHORTS: Revelate 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.
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) Southern Pride 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) Hard Paint 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.
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.
12:00-17:00 Rise: QTIPOC Representation and Visibility in Film “Elevating the narratives of QTIPOC (queer, transgender and intersex people of colour) characters, this one-day series of free events will provide a platform to examine the importance of inclusion, both on and off screen, whilst inspiring a generation of directors, screenwriters, filmmakers and producers to develop work which best reflects their stories. Featuring a programme of intimate workshops and panel discussions with established industry professionals, this symposium seeks to affirm to the power of film as a disruptive medium that can broaden the lens and draw attention to the nuanced experiences of QTIPOC people.“
20:30(Also Saturday 24 March, 15:55)
As part of the feature film, “Paternal Rites” you can catch the short film Happy Birthday, Marsha! “Rare archive footage is used to imagine the night Marsha P Johnson instigated the Stonewall riots.”
20:45 (Also, Sunday 25 March, 16:10; Saturday 31 March, 18:30; Sunday 01 April, 20:20) Alaska is a Drag
Leo and his sister Tristan work menial jobs in a fish cannery, but have big dreams of ditching the fish, becoming stars and finding their mother. Also, as part of this screening, you can see Wood. “A young man is confronted by his own feelings when the gay man he attacked appears at his boxing gym.”
20:50(also, Saturday 24 March, 20:30) The Carmilla Movie “Everyone’s favourite lesbian vampire is back, in a feature length sequel to the hit web series. And this time around the stakes are much higher.”
Saturday 24 March
11:15(also Sunday 25 March, 18:20)
SHORTS: Relationship Lessons Whether you’re hooking up online or in a long-term relationship, things don’t always develop the way we would like. There’s tragedy and high comedy here. You’ve been warned!
As part of this stream of short films, look out for:
FILM 1 – Boyfriend
It all seems too easy. You’ve met the perfect guy and he seems wonderful. There’s just one small problem…
FILM 2 – Skai Blue
Simon, a gay refugee fleeing from homophobic abuse in Cameroon, meets Tom on a dating website in a small town in Belgium. Love can’t solve everything, but it’s a start.
20:20; (also, Sunday 25 March, 15:20) Sidney & Friends
“Scottish filmmaker Tristan Aitchison visited Kenya in 2013. A chance meeting with an activist revealed an underground network of intersex and trans people that wanted their voices heard. Kenya has various discriminatory laws affecting LGBTQ+ people, although the situation has gradually improved over the last five years. Welcomed into their community, Aitchison recorded six young people who bravely shared their candid stories over a long period, revealing the realities of life as a targeted minority.”
Also, as part of this screening: Half a Life
Short documentary animates a startling episode in the life of a gay rights activist in Egypt.
A critique on the lack of BAME representation in UK television and film, highlighting inequality and the absence of media engagement with Britain’s colonial past.
Sunday 25 March
SHORTS: Fighters of Demons, Makers of Cakes: D/deaf and Disabled Queer and Trans Shorts
+ Q&A with Michael Achtman, Sandra Alland, David Ellington, Matthew Hellett, Lynn Stewart-Taylor and Bea Webster.
An unconventional and often fantastical examination of LGBTQ+ disabled, neurodiverse, chronically ill and/or D/deaf lives. Packed with experimental docs, dance, animation, poetry, drama and comedy. Plus zombies.
FILM 6 – The Deaf Vs the Dead
When the zombie apocalypse breaks out in Los Angeles, an out deaf man must find a way to survive.
FILM 7 – Awake
Chronically ill Anna is visited by Doreen, a door-to-door proselytiser who invites herself in. Two blind actors. An existential comedy.
FILM 10 – Atlantic is a Sea of Bones
Through everyday acts of refusal, performer Egyptt LaBeija confronts legacies of violence, intimately shaped by HIV/AIDS, against Black queer and trans bodies in this otherworldy film.
18:30(also, Monday 26 March; 20:30) The Wound “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.
The festival runs until 1st April 2018, and there’s a lot more to see,
I’ll share a few more over the next few days.
If you haven’t managed to get down to the BFIs 61st London Film Festival yet, there are still plenty of films to see.
The festival runs from the 4th to the 15th October 2017.
Available feature films include those set in:
Congo (Félicité, Makala), Egypt (The Nile Hilton Incident, Sheikh Jackson), South Africa (The Forgiven, Five Fingers for Marseilles / Menoana e Mehlano ea Marseilles, Liyana, The Wound), Guinea-Bissau (Spell Reel), Mauritania (Oh, Sun! /Soleil Ô), and Zambia (I Am Not a Witch), plus (Untitled),
Brazil (Araby /Arábia, Good Manners /As Boas Maneiras),
France (Chateau /La Vie de château),
Italy (A Ciambra),
UK (Dead the Ends, The L-Shaped Room), and
USA (The Final Year, Last Flag Flying, Mutafukaz, Gemini, The Shape of Water, Small Town Crime, Saturday Church, G Funk).
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 Festivalwebsite.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Black Is Blue
When Fragile Things Break
Short Films at BFI Flare
The Return La retour
Beyond Plain Sight
The Return La retour
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.
CagedUitgesproken – 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.