A short film about two boxers falling in love, and blind online dating are two of the topics explored in the world’s widest-reaching LGBT online short film festival, which was held in London over the weekend.
With five of the feature short films released online to help build a global audience for LGBT short filmmaking. The line-up for #FiveFilms4Freedom, run by the British Council and the British Film Institute (BFI), this year explores topics ranging from transgender parenting to machismo and sexuality to dating apps.
Five of the short films were released online last week, free of charge for audiences across the globe.
The campaign coincided with BFI Flare, the London LGBT Film Festival, and it encouraged people everywhere to watch the films in solidarity with LGBT communities in countries where freedom and equal rights are limited.
Now in its third year, the initiative was estimated to have reached more than 140 million people in 179 countries, with the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands and Germany being amongst the countries where the films were watched the most.
Included in the five films were two films about gay love that explored very different aspects of the dating world.
Heavy Weight is about a boxer who finds his world turned upside down by the arrival of a new fighter at the club.
The other film Jamie follows the lead character as he chats to a guy online, and then shy Jamie makes the bold step to meet up with him in person which leads to his first male on male encounter.
The British Council’s Director of Film Briony Hanson said the #FiveFilms4Freedom initiative provides a great opportunity for directors to get a worldwide audience and for a new audience to appreciate the stories and lives of the LGBT community.
“This event is about generating openness, empathy and showing solidarity with people in countries who do not have the same freedoms,” Ms Hanson said.
Tricia Tuttle, Deputy Head of Festivals at the BFI said the London LGBT Film Festival programs are there to entertain but also to open hearts and minds.
“Film has a unique ability to help people understand each other and we’re excited to harness that through these wonderful films,” Ms Tuttle said.
“And in this year, as we reflect on the momentous occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, we wanted to showcase five British short films.
“That UK filmmakers have the freedom to tell such a rich variety of stories about LGBT experience, is the legacy of the pioneers and advocates who came before.”