Six life-enhancing films at BFI Flare (that you can still get tickets for)

The UK’s largest queer film event, not to mention a major fixture in London’s cultural calendar, BFI Flare returns to the BFI Southbank next week for its 38th edition, showcasing the best new LGBTQ cinema from around the world over ten jam-packed days. If you’ve not yet managed to grab tickets to some of the big hitters, be sure to check out the ‘Best of the Fest’ programme on the festival’s final day. It just went on sale yesterday, and features additional screenings of all the most popular picks. But if you have missed out on the big, showy titles, don’t worry! There are still loads of great under-the-radar offerings worthy of your attention. Here are a few of our faves.

Silver Haze
Photograph: BFI Flare

1. Silver Haze

Dutch director Sacha Polak’s fourth feature film sees her reunite with actress Vicky Knight, who previously won a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit award for her role as an acid attack survivor in Polak’s 2019 film ‘Dirty God’. Drawing inspiration from Knight’s own childhood, during which she survived an arson attack on her uncle’s pub, ‘Silver Haze’ is a powerful depiction of working-class Britain, in which Knight plays a 23-year-old nurse and burns victim who starts a relationship with one of her patients. 

Don’t Ever Stop
Photograph: BFI Flare

2. Don’t Ever Stop

As a long-running resident at major gay nightclubs Heaven and Trade, Birmingham-born producer and DJ Tony De Vit was a hugely influential figure in London’s gay nightlife scene in the ’80s and ’90s, keeping a generation of young gay men dancing through the worst years of the AIDS crisis and playing a key role in popularising hard house and high-energy dance music in mainstream clubs. This moving documentary tells Tony’s story through his own words and through interviews with those closest to him.

Heavy Snow
Photograph: BFI Flare

3. Heavy Snow

A second feature film from South Korean director Yun Su-ik, this Korean-language film follows Suan, a student at a performing arts school whose life is turned upside down by the arrival of fellow student and famous actress Seol, with whom she has an instant connection. It’s a softly-lit, dreamlike exploration of queer desire in a conservative society, with tender performances from its two leads.

Photograph: BFI Flare

4. Backspot

The quest for cheer squad glory, a staple of coming-of-age classics from ‘Bring It On’ to ‘Jennifer’s Body’, is given a queer spin in this sparky, spiky drama exec-produced by Elliot Page. Perfectionist high-schooler Riley (Rachel Devery Jacobs) and her girlfriend join an elite cheerleading squad run with an iron pom-pom by Evan Rachel Wood’s hard-driving coach. The title refers to the cheerleader responsible for keeping their airborne teammates aloft. Expect a lot of painful crashing to the floor in this one. 

Hidden Master: The Legacy of George Platt Lynes
Photograph: BFI Flare

5. Hidden Master: The Legacy of George Platt Lynes

Legendary American photographer made his name in the ’40s and ’50s capturing male sexuality in stunning, black-and-white portraits. Unlike his photography, there was nothing monochrome about his life – he was mates with Dr Alfred Kinsey and Gertrude Stein, and went on to influence the likes of Robert Mapplethorpe and Herb Ritts – and this doc should be a must-see for anyone with a love of art, photography and postwar cool. 

Departing Seniors
Photograph: BFI Flare

6. Departing Seniors

When Mexican-American student Javier (Ignacio Diaz-Silverio) gets pushed down some stairs by homophobic bullies, things turn very ‘The Dead Zone’ for the kid. That knock to the head leaves him with the power of foresight in a high-school comedy-horror that centres queer, POC-led characters and should make for a fun mix of slasher thrills and buddy-movie heart.

BFI Flare runs Mar 13-24 at BFI Southbank and on BFI Player. Head to the official site for full programme info and to book tickets.