Five Films For Freedom is an online celebration of global LGBTQIA+ stories, in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual rights, in partnership with BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival.
Back for its ninth year, the programme will showcase five LGBTQIA+ themed short films making them available for the world to watch online for free, over the 12 days of BFI Flare.
Since its inception in 2015, this much-loved programme has reached over 20 million people worldwide. The films have been watched in more than 200 countries and principalities, including many parts of the world where homosexuality is still criminalised, and in some cases, punishable by the death penalty.
Through the support of our incredible global network of over 100 countries, we encourage people to watch the films in solidarity with LGBTQIA+ communities, particularly in places where freedom and equal rights are limited, in recognition of the fact that Love is a Human Right.
This year’s filmmakers are from Cyprus/ UK, Guyana, Nigeria, Northern Ireland and South Korea.
Five Films For Freedom 2023 runs from 15-26 March 2023. Watch the films and find out more about 2023's and previous campaigns by visiting http://www.britishcouncil.org/five-films.
Engage with our social media channels, celebrate the stories and share the love using the hashtag #FiveFilmsForFreedom
Our 2023 programme
Find out more about this year’s Five Films below.
1. Buffer Zone
(Stavvas Stavrou, 16 mins, 2022, Cyprus/ UK)
Two young gay Cypriot soldiers, one Greek, the other Turkish, serve on opposite sides of enemy lines. As they fall in love they find they can escape from their oppressive environments through music.
About the director: Savvas was born in Cyprus and studied Film at the University of Westminster, London. He is a Sundance Lab alumnus, works as a director across advertising, music video and short film, and is currently developing his first feature film.
2. Eating Papaw on the Seashore
(Rae Wiltshire and Nickose Layne, 18 mins, 2022, Guyana)
A coming-of-age film about Asim and Hasani, two queer Guyanese boys, navigating their feelings in a homophobic society. This short film was developed through the Commonwealth Foundation workshop, ‘Commonwealth Shorts, Caribbean Voices’.
About the directors: Rae studied literature and linguistics at the University of Guyana. As a playwright, he won Best New Guyanese play at Guyana’s National Drama Festival in 2015, and recently won the Guyana Prize for Literature in Drama, 2022, for his play Don’t Ask Me Why. Nickose is a playwright, poet and actor, he studied Theatre Arts at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago.
3. All I Know
(Obinna Robert Onyeri, 16 mins, 2022, Nigeria)
Two friends meet for dinner, one goes to meet a stranger for a hook-up date while the other goes home. This story follows a man’s search for his friend that puts him at risk of revealing life-altering secrets they both share.
About the director: Obinna is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, born in Lagos, Nigeria. He studied Film at the University of California, Los Angeles, receiving the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Directing Fellowship award and the George Burns and Gracie Allen Scholarship.
4. Just Johnny
(Terry Loane, 19 mins, 2021, Northern Ireland)
Maria and Dermot’s straightforward family life takes a sudden turn when their son Johnny announces that he wants to wear a dress for his Holy Communion. Both parents are keen to do what is best for Johnny, but their different opinions almost pull the happy family apart.
This film is supported by BFI Network and Northern Ireland Screen.
About the Director: Terry was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and studied photography at Ulster University. He began designing for film in 1996 on the Oscar-nominated short Dance Lexie Dance, and in 1998 he wrote and directed his first short film comedy, CLUCK. His latest feature as director, The Last Rifleman, starring Pierce Brosnan and John Amos, is to be released this year.
5. Butch Up!
(Yu-Jin Lee, 12 mins, 2022, South Korea)
“Stop being miserable.” After hearing her ex’s last words to her, Mi-hae, a lead singer of an independent band, cannot bring herself to sing the band’s most popular song, ‘Oppa’s Girl’.
About the director: Yu-Jin Lee majored in film directing at Korea National University of Arts. Her first short film, A Good Mother, was invited to several LGBTQIA+ film festivals abroad. She has been working on various genres of projects with the theme of LGBTQIA+. Butch Up! is her third short film.
Make sure you are following our channels to be the first to watch the films when they go live from 15 - 26 March 2023. Please share the love using #FiveFilmsForFreedom - we cannot wait to find out what you think of the films in this year’s programme.