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The Obituary of Tunde Johnson
Photograph: BFI FlareThe Obituary of Tunde Johnson

BFI Flare: Five films to stream

The UK’s biggest LGBTIQ+ film fest has gone digital again and here’s what to look out for

Written by
Time Out Film
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This time nearly a year ago BFI Flare became the world’s first film festival to go digital-only. It happened – somehow – at about 20 minutes notice, with the physical festival falling immediate victim to the first UK lockdown.

BFI Flare is back from March 17-28, still in the same cyber-savvy format but with a few more bells and whistles this time, as well as all the same LGBTIQ+ film goodness. 

On the slate are 26 features and 38 free short films representing 23 countries. You probably can’t watch all of them, unless you forego all other activities, and sleep, so we’ve picked a few worthy candidates to zero in on over BFI Flare’s 12 days.

Jump Darling
Photograph: BFI Flare

Jump Darling

The late and very great Cloris Leachman (‘Young Frankenstein’, ‘The Last Picture Show’) appears in her last starring role – which nudges all other reasons for seeing it gently into the shade. But if convincing is still needed, ‘Jump Darling’ offers a winning combo of heart and snark as a sarky granny helps drag her aspiring drag queen grandson (Thomas Duplessie) out of the doldrums.

Aids Diva: The Legend of Connie Norman
Photograph: BFI Flare

Aids Diva: The Legend of Connie Norman

For anyone who had their heart broken by ‘It’s a Sin’, this doc presents another challenging, emotionally involving perspective on the AIDS crisis. This time the setting is Los Angeles rather than London, and the central figure is local activist Connie Norman whose impassioned mission to take down haters, deniers and the complacent burned her into the political consciousness of her time.

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My First Summer
Photograph: BFI Flare

My First Summer

This coming-of-age drama offers a sunkissed story of first love set in South Australia. Claudia (Markella Kavenagh) is a young woman raised in the boondocks who is hit by sudden tragedy, and Grace (Maiah Stewardson) is the breezy stranger who appears one day and helps her reconnect. First-time filmmaker Katie Found brings that bond to life in empathetic style in a showcase for young Aussie acting talent. 

Mama Gloria
Photograph: BFI Flare

Mama Gloria

Trans pioneer Gloria Allen emerged from Chicago’s South Side drag scene in the ‘60s and overcame violence to become a leader of the LGBTIQ+ community. As Luchina Fisher’s doc charts, she set up charm school for the city’s homeless transgender youth and generally a bit of a hero for a lot of people. Catch this loving tribute and join the fan club. 

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The Obituary of Tunde Johnson
Photograph: BFI Flare

The Obituary of Tunde Johnson

This high-concept drama employs a ‘Groundhog Day’-like device to show a young gay Black man repeating reliving a moment in time when he falls victim to a racially-motivated shooting. Steven Silver plays the title character as he spins through a time-loop in what should be a gripping and high-concept exploration of prejudice and intersectionality. 

BFI Flare runs Mar 17-28 on BFI Player.  

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