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New Alan Cumming Film, Others to Premiere at London LGBT Film Festival

BFI Flare, the U.K.’s leading LGBT film festival, has announced the full lineup for its 31st edition, which includes world premieres for the BBC’s “Against the Law” and U.S. drama “After Louie,” starring Alan Cumming.

“Against the Law” (pictured) will open the festival, one of several screenings and events marking the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1967 Sexual Offenses Act, which decriminalized gay sex in England and Wales. The film, produced for BBC Two, is based on the true story of journalist and gay-rights campaigner Peter Wildeblood, who was jailed in 1954 for homosexual offenses and whose case ultimately led to the creation of the Wolfenden Committee on sexual-law reform that eventually resulted in the passing of the 1967 statute.

As part of the anniversary, the festival will host an afternoon of talks, screenings and storytelling with historians, archivists and others, under the banner “Fifty Years of Queer History Through the Moving Image and Beyond.”

Also receiving its world premiere at BFI Flare will be U.K. filmmaker Ashley Joiner’s documentary “Pride,” detailing the history of Britain’s gay-pride celebrations.

The festival will close with the international premiere of American filmmaker Jennifer Reeder’s “Signature Move.” The comedy drama tells the story of the cross-cultural romance between a Pakistani Muslim lesbian, who lives in Chicago with her recently widowed mother, and the Mexican woman she falls for.

Exploring LGBT cinema across all formats, the festival also sees its first screening of a complete web series, “Different for Girls,” and has programmed a stop-motion animation for its Centrepiece Screening, “Torrey Pines.” Lesbian drama “Different for Girls” is a 12-part British web series receiving its world premiere as a special presentation at the festival. Clyde Petersen’s “Torrey Pines” centers on a child grappling with gender identity and a schizophrenic mother; the screening will mark its European premiere following its debut at the Seattle Queer Film Festival last October, and will be accompanied by a live score from Petersen’s band, Your Heart Breaks.

Also receiving its world premiere as a special presentation is Vincent Gagliostro’s “After Louie,” starring Cumming as a troubled survivor of the AIDS epidemic whose life is turned upside down by an encounter with a much younger man.

Events will include director Jamie Babbit discussing her cult breakthrough movie “But I’m a Cheerleader” and subsequent career in film and television focusing on strong female-led stories. Sridhar Rangayan, director of Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, will also attend the festival to take part in an event exploring LGBT film and television culture in India.

“If last year’s 30th anniversary of the festival was time for reflection on just how far we’ve come, many world events in the 12 months since have reminded us just how vital this event still is,” said Tricia Tuttle, the BFI’s deputy head of festivals, calling this year’s program “vibrant, politically engaged, playful and stirring.”

BFI Flare will screen more than 50 features and over 100 short films as well as feature numerous special events, including guest appearances, discussions, workshops and club nights. The program is divided into three themed strands, titled Hearts, Bodies and Minds.

The festival runs March 16-26 at London’s BFI Southbank. The full program is available at: http://www.bfi.org.uk/flare

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