03 Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT)
20 years ago, programming LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender) cinema might have been considered too niche unless a venue or cinema had a dedicated LGBT metro-audience (i.e. London, Manchester, Glasgow). Jump to the new millennium and a range of LGBT films have been made and box office successfully released at the cinema. Brokeback Mountain, The Kids Are Alright, Weekend, Blue is the Warmest Colour, Carol and God’s Own Country signify that queer cinema has the possibility to crossover to a mainstream art house audience and even beyond. In 2016 Carol was nominated for a record breaking six Oscars.
In terms of finding out about what’s new in LGBT cinema the best way is to initially check the mainstream film festivals. Cannes now has a Queer Palm D’Or, Sundance have a Queer Lounge and actively engage with inviting new queer cinema. Berlinale has the long-standing Teddy Jury and Award for best LGBT film and usually the London Film Festival and most definitely BFI Flare (formerly London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, LLGFF) show the current crop of mainstream and experimental LGBT cinema. BFI Flare is a great resource because it screens titles that have premiered at the dominant US queer film festivals – Frameline, San Francisco and Outfest in LA as well as the mainstream festivals Berlin, Cannes and Toronto. For the more dedicated queer film programmer, it might also be worth investigating into getting a delegate’s badge at Flare which gives you access to viewing facilities, priority booking on some films and informal networking events and talks.
For more adventurous alternative/indie queer film programming, Fringe! Queer Film and Arts Festival in east London is an interesting festival that’s increasing its audience every year.
Other UK festivals to check that only show LGBT cinema are Glasgay!, Homotopia and Leeds Queer Film Festival. Festivals who platform LGBT cinema are Sheffield Doc/Fest, Edinburgh Film Festival, Cambridge Film Festival, East End Film Festival, Open City Docs Fest, London Short Film Festival and Encounters Film Festival.
In terms of UK film distribution and exhibition, Peccadillo Pictures and TLA Releasing are specifically dedicated to releasing contemporary and classic LGBT cinema, and from time to time other indie distributors release LGBT titles as well. BFI also has a brilliant range of queer films available to book, as well as offering a free resource at BFI Mediatheques where members of the public can walk in and log on to watch a range of films from BFI National Archive collections, free of charge. 2017 sees a new collection on the BFI Player dedicated to films marking the anniversary of the 1967 Sexual offences Act which saw the decriminalisation of homosexuality.