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As the Oscars red carpet is neatly rolled up, another red walkway is beginning to be unrolled – and this time it’s a little queerer and closer to home. With 2024 looking like it’ll be another major year for queer blockbusters, London is ready to unveil a host of LGBTQIA+ cinema standouts as the 38th BFI Flare Film festival kicks off. 

February’s Sundance Film Festival  already premiered a range of stellar titles such as Amrou Al-Kadhi’s Layla and the Kristen Stewart-starring Love Lies Bleeding (both of which will be showing at BFI Flare) we’re excited to see even more films taking under-represented stories to the big screen.

From documentaries to heart-felt features, the festival has shaped three distinct thematic strands for audience members to find exactly what they’re looking for: Hearts, Bodies and Minds. It’s a feast for film fans so, to get you in the mood, GAY TIMES has rounded up the six films that aren’t to be missed.


On the surface, this coming-of-age feature from director and screenwriter Benjamin Howard seems to tick all the familiar boxes that we’d expect from an American teen feature about love, identity and sports culture. However, as Dakota Riley’s life starts to become complicated by the stresses of hiding his sexuality from his football team and girlfriend,  Riley takes audiences on an unexpected yet powerful journey of teenage-self discovery.


Starring Ben Hardy of EastEnders fame, Unicorns follows Luke, a single dad who meets and falls for Ayesha, a South Asian drag queen. Loosely inspired by the real-life experiences of Britain’s first out Muslim Drag Queen, Asifa Lahore, the film by James Krishna Floyd invites audiences to follow the pair as they learn more about each other and themselves. 


As part of this year’s festival, the British Council has made sure that even if you can’t make it to London, you can still watch some of the world’s best LGBTQ+ cinema from home for free! Halfway, a short directed by Indian filmmaker Kumar Chheda, follows a couple in crisis as they make their way across Juhu Beach. One of the five free films featured in the Five Films for Freedom programme, Halfway will be available to watch online from the 13th March here. 

Pine Cone

Spanning two decades, this ‘landmark film for India’ follows gay director Sid in reverse chronology as we learn about his identity, romantic encounters and how his country of origin has changed alongside him. Not only does the film document the real-life ups and downs for LGBTQIA+ folk in India, it also shines a light on director Onir’s lived experience as an openly gay man and how one’s quest for love evolves over time.

Departing Seniors

One for lovers of a good slasher flick, high school horror Departing Seniors is a fun tongue-in-cheek addition to  this year’s schedule. Directed by Clare Cooney and starring Ignacio Diaz Silverio as Javier and Yani Gellman as Mr. Arda, queer teen Javier finds himself with the power to see into the future and more importantly – can see when his classmates are going to be murdered. Think Final Destination with a sprinkling of Bottoms, Departing Seniors is sure to provide blood, violence and camp kills.

We Are Perfect

We Are Perfect brings transmasc stories from Poland to the big screen, showcasing the often distressing reality that LGBTQIA+ young people are facing across Europe. The documentary from director Marek Kozakiewicz allows trans and non-binary folk the freedom to share the highs and lows of life in Poland whilst focusing on the strength and support that chosen family provides.

Find out more about the 38th BFI Flare Festival here.