BFI Flare: LGBTQIA+ Film Festival announces opening and closing night films

The 36th edition of the festival runs from 16-27 March 2022


Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: A still from Alli Haapasalo’s GIRL PICTURE

The BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival team have revealed the event's opening and closing night gala films.

The world premiere of GIRL PICTURE, a coming-of-age drama from Finnish director Alli Haapasalo, will kick of the LGBTQ film extravaganza on 16 March 2022 at BFI Southbank.

Closing the festival on 26 March 2022 will be the world premiere of TRAMPS! [pictured below], directed by documentary filmmaker Kevin Hegge.

Hegge's previous film She Said Boom: The Story of Fifth Column screened at BFI Flare in 2013.

GIRL PICTURE won the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at last month’s Sundance Film Festival. It screens in the Berlinale next week.

According to Flare organisers, the plot focuses on "Mimmi, Emma and Rönkkö, three girls at the cusp of womanhood, trying to draw their own contours. Over three consecutive Fridays, two of them experience the earth-moving effects of falling in love, while the third goes on a quest to find something she’s never experienced: pleasure."

TRAMPS!, meanwhile looks at London in the 1980s - when, say Flare reps: "an onslaught of art students arriving in the city resulted in a unique cross-fertilization of British art, fashion, music and film culminating in a group known as 'The New Romantics'.

"Hegge’s film shifts the focus onto the diversity of work being made by the lesser-celebrated, yet equally influential contributors to the scene. A direct message of hope to artists at a time when it's needed most, TRAMPS! illustrates how creative resilience laid the foundations for the creative subcultures that followed."

"Unique queer magic"

Michael Blyth, BFI Flare’s Senior Programmer said: "It's hard to believe it has been three years since Flare last took over BFI Southbank, filling its screens with its unique queer magic. This year we return with a full live programme and a selection of online highlights for audiences around the UK, and we're thrilled to be announcing the dazzling duo that will open and close this year's BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Fest. Both are set to delight our audiences and steal their hearts!"

Haapasalo commented: “I am ecstatic to show GIRL PICTURE at the renowned BFI Flare, and it is a very special honour to open this year’s festival. I really look forward to having an inspiring and meaningful exchange about the film with the Flare audience.”

Hegge said: “TRAMPS! is a film many years in the making, and wouldn't have existed if it weren’t for BFI Flare programming my debut feature documentary in 2013."

The full programme for BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival will be revealed on Tuesday 15 February at 6pm.

The 36th edition of the festival runs from 16-27 March 2022. For more information, visit the official website.