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.
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
- 2 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 3 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors: 'I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK'
Pixie Geldof signs recording deal with Stranger Records
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners