What to watch at BFI Flare 2023

Legacy LGBTQIA+ film event, BFI Flare, returns to London Southbank from the 15th of March. 

Flare 2023 presents a natural evolution of the boundary-pushing, global cinematic platform. Screening almost 150 works from 41 different countries (including 28 world premiers), audiences will be spoilt for choice. The festival is constructed around the themes of heart, body and mind and will be available to stream nationwide on BFI Player and internationally via Five Films for Freedom

As well as world-class, queer cinema, IRL participants can enjoy special events, live performances and for the first time ever, Flare Expanded; a free, immersive storytelling experience running from the 16th to the 19th of March. 

To help you tailor your BFI Flare experience, we bring you this handy list of our hottest picks from the festival’s programme: 




 The Stroll



The festival kicks off with the international premier of Kristen Lovell and Zackary Drucker’s Sundance award winning documentary, which follows the story of Kristen and four other trans sex workers in New York’s Meatpacking district. 





Who I Am Not



Tünde Skovrán’s intimate portrait of the lives of two intersex South Africans will have its UK Premiere as the Centrepiece Presentation.

The documentary ‘shatters taboos’ by exploring the journey of beauty queen, Sharon-Rose Khumalo who seeks the support of male-presenting intersex activist, Dimakatso Sebidi as she comes to terms with her gender identity in a world of restrictive binaries. 




Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn


Timothy Harris’ timely political documentary follows the election campaign of 31-year-old Pennsylvania State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta, as he races to become the first openly gay person of colour with a seat in the United States Senate.







This autobiographical documentary follows Aseneth Suárez Ruiz as she travels back home to Colombia to find out about her mother’s past love, encountering unexpected twists along the way.





Kokomo City


Award, D. Smith’s debut is no-bullshit storytelling at its best. An exploration into the lives of four, Black, trans sex workers, Kokomo City is a punchy, passionate, heart wrenching narrative which won Sundance’s Audience and NEXT Innovator awards.  





Jewelle: Just a Vision



Madeleine Lim’s sensitively-portrayed documentary celebrates the achievements of Jewelle Gomez, a fantasy author whose vampire stories and engagement with Black and Indigenous histories were well ahead of their time.











Gaze is a feel-good romantic short by Shaznay Martin. A london-based journalist, writer and producer for BLKQR TV, Shaznay’s work has been feautured in Refinery29, The I and GUAP magazine, amongst others.





This visual masterpiece by Shamim Sarif explores the unavoidable attraction that develops between two women as they navigate the barriers of race, religion and class that have kept them apart.







Trace Lysette (Transparent , Hustlers) and Patricia Clarkson (Easy A, Friends With Benefits) play a mother daughter duo trying to rekindle a strained relationship in this beautifully understated family drama.







Soh-Yoon Lee’s charming coming-of-age comedy follows an intersex teen and their friends navigating the complex feelings and urges that come with adolescence. A refreshing, hilarious and uniquely queer spin on the high-school comedy XX + XY is perfect for Korean cinephiles.




Egghead and Twinkie


Equally adorable is Sarah Holland’s adolescent road trip comedy, which features a young Asian American girl and her hapless best friend on a journey to meet her online crush.





The Blue Kaftan



Set in historic Moroccan médina, Salé, The Blue Kaftan is a queer romance that tells the story of a married tailor who falls for his younger apprentice. Filmmaker Maryam Touzani has outdone herself with this richly textured and sweepingly beautiful exploration of love, desire and tradition.




The Dream Songs



Unfolding over a single day in Seoul, The Dream Songs is Cho Hyun-chul’s hazy, romantic depiction of the sticky-sweet delusion that is teenage longing.




Rule 34



Golden Leopard award winner, Julia Murat brings us this sensually directed feature about a young Brazilian woman who explores her erotic desires as a camgirl by night, while working on sexual violence cases as a law student by day.








Visit the BFI Flare website for information about tickets.

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