The BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival to be rebranded after 26 years as 'BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival'
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Wednesday 19 February 2014
One of the world’s most significant gay film festivals is getting a makeover after 26 years, changing its name to reflect the “increasing diversity of the programme and the people who identify with and embrace it”.
The BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival will now be known as BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival, after extensive consultation with its audiences.
Clare Stewart, head of cinemas and festivals, said: “It was clear there was an ongoing discussion around whether the name was truly representative and inclusive enough of all the diverse identities and sexualities represented in the programme and the audiences.”
The majority of respondents wanted a change: “It was a very robust debate,” Stewart said. “We felt we should be bold because the festival’s history was bold.”
Some respondents said use of the words lesbian and gay “was very old fashioned,” festival programmer Brian Robinson said. “It never occurred to me in my life that lesbian and gay could be considered old fashioned and conservative. I guess it shows how far we’ve come as a culture.”
He added: “It’s an interesting cultural moment to refresh what we are. We’ve always been a broad church in what we screen and under this new umbrella everyone can come in.”
The festival was first a one-off in 1977 called Images of Homosexuality, which played in the cinema for a month. Mr Robinson said: “No other cinema had done a survey of gay cinema at the time.”
The same year hippies in San Francisco projected experimental films onto a sheet in a squat, which became the first San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
The London festival became an annual event from 1986 when it had the name Gays’ Own Pictures. Two years later it was renamed the BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
“The festival used to be an oasis in the desert,” Mr Robinson said. “We couldn’t have imagined that a film like Blue is the Warmest Colour would win the Palm d’Or. However far we get into the mainstream, there’s always need for a showcase.”
The programme this year will feature films themed to those about romance; stories of sex and identity as well as reflections on art and community.
Ben Wishaw film Lilting is to open the festival on 20 March, with the closing film was tonight announced as 52 Tuesdays, directed by Sophie Hyde.
Documentaries include The Abominable Crime, which tells the story of two Jamaicans: one gay activist and a lesbian mother who survived a shooting. Another, Born This Way, looks at prejudice against the lesbian and gay community in Cameroon.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 2 How to turn off/stop 'seen by' on Facebook: Disable it to make your chats seem less passive aggressive
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
- 5 Buckingham Palace guard who attacked passers-by in 'most most violent piece of CCTV footage' police officer had seen walks free
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election