BFI Flare 2023 London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival

Apart from the beginning of Spring, with the promise of longer warmer days to come, one of the most joyous things at this time of year is the return of the BFI Flare London LGBTQIA+ film festival. 

Formerly known as the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Flare has been going since 1986, and is now the biggest LGBTQ+ film festival in Europe. It starts on March 15th and over the following 11 days will be celebrating and showcasing the best in LGBTQ+ film, shorts and documentaries.

And this year it features not just an exciting array of amazing cinema but also a programme of events and, for the first time, a selection of immersive art and virtual reality installations.

All the films will be showing at the BFI’s National Film Theatre complex on the South Bank close to Waterloo in London. With The Royal Festival Hall next door the area has a real creative buzz to it anyway, but that’s even greater during the festival. I’ve been going to Flare for many years and I love that feeling of an immense queer energy that starts to build as I near the BFI. 

For 2023 there's a spectacular programme, with 36 films in multiple languages, 25 documentaries, 89 short films and a handful of events. 

Opening and Closing Galas

The Stroll 

Still image from the film The Stroll

The Opening Night Gala is a stirring and deeply personal documentary that follows Kirsten Lovell and several other trans women of colour, as they try to survive in the Meatpacking District of New York between the mid ‘90s to the mid ‘00s. It made a splash at the recent Sundance Film Festival and serves as a history lesson around the brutality and community that existed on 14th street.

Director: Jason Karman  |  Language: English

Find out more and buy tickets


The Closing Night Gala film is Drifter. A wonderful flowing film portrait of Moritz a young man who arrives in Berlin full of hope and excitement, only to be dumped by his pleasure-seeking boyfriend, who wants the freedom to explore without a partner. Moritz then has to come to terms with life, love, sex and relationships in Berlin as he begins an amazing journey through the wonders the city has to offer. 

Director: Hannes Hirsch  |  Language: English and German with English subtitles

Find out more and buy tickets

LGBT Movies In The Main Festival

There are so many films in the main festival that we couldn’t tell you about all of them. But here are a few of the ones we’d like to see. The festival films are split into three sections, Hearts, Bodied and Minds. We’ve also split them here into LGBTQ+ identities. To find the full programme with times and reviews go to the festival website.

Gay Movies & Documentaries

Chrissy Judy

Chrissy and Judy are not only inseparable friends, they also work as a New York drag duo. Until Chrissy suddenly decides to move to Philadelphia to follow his heart and a boy he’s fallen for. Judy finds himself alone confronting not only life, but also work, without the person who’s been by his side forever. Judy finds himself on a journey of self discovery, to find new people, new love and new hope in the queer communities of New York.

Director: Todd Flaherty  |  Language: English

Find out more and buy tickets

Golden Delicious

Jake is a high-school senior battling pressure from his overbearing father who demands that he makes the basketball team, and his girlfriend, who wants to take their relationship to the next level. But when out and proud new neighbour Aleks arrives Jake finds that everything else takes a backseat, as he becomes a teen with a mission. Just not the mission anyone else expected. 

Director: Jason Karman  |  Language: English

Find out more and buy tickets 

Lesbian Films & Documentaries

Egghead & Twinkie

When mixed-Asian lesbian Twinkie comes out to her adoptive parents it doesn’t go as she’d hoped. So she steals their car and together with her best friend Egghead, sets off on a road trip to meet up with the cool DJ she’s been chatting to online. But Egghead has a huge crush on her and what seemed like a straightforward trip to him quickly starts to unravel.

Director: Sarah Kambe Holland  |  Language: English

Find out more and buy tickets


Lisa is employed by Dalia’s family, who run a vertical farm in a small community after they’d left Palestine to start a new life. When Lisa and Dalia argue Lisa shows some stereotypical racist views. But after she fired the two women start to build a connection that runs deeper than either expected between two people from such different worlds. 

Director: Shamim Sarif  |  Language: English, Arabic with English subtitles

Find out more and buy tickets

Bisexual Films & Documentaries

Jess Plus None

This romcom with a difference sees recently heartbroken Jess at the wedding of her best friend from college. Surrounded by her friends, who are either embarking on or living their seemingly perfect lives, Jess has to find a way to deal with her ex-girlfriend, her friends and herself. As the wedding unfolds over several days Jess finds herself in one awkward situation after another.

Director: Mandy Fabian  |  Language: English

Find out more and buy tickets

Transgender Films & Documentaries


Amazing dancer and trans club queen Shin has made it to the final of the dance competition that, if she wins, could finance her gender affirming surgery. But following the death of her father who she hasn’t spoken to in years, it’s left to her as the only child, to perform the ritual dance at his memorial. As Shin returns to the village of her youth to find the prejudice she had run away from, she is joined by a spirit guide who helps her to confront her demons and find a path to enlightenment. 

Director: BYUN Sung-bin  |  Language: Korean with English subtitles

Find out more and buy tickets

Something You Said Last Night

A tale of trans woman Renata and her sister as they embark on a holiday to celebrate her father’s birthday. It’s a fly on the wall trip exploring family dynamics and avoids any of the usual trans stereotype issues as it was written and directed by trans woman Luis De Filippis.

Director: Luis De Filippis  |  Language: English, Italian with English subtitles

Find out more and buy tickets

Non-Binary Films & Documentaries

Maybe Someday

Non-binary photographer Jay is juggling a broken marriage and a new exhibition when they find themselves at childhood friend Jess’ house. Unexpectedly Jay may have stumbled on the perfect place to rebuild and heal. 

Director: Michelle Ehlen  |  Language: English

Find out more and buy tickets 

Intersex Films & Documentaries


A wonderfully positive spin on the usual high-school comedy, as Jay attempts to overcome more than just the usual set of teen challenges. They not only have to work out how to navigate their world as a teenager, But also themselves as an intersex person. They’re helped by their friend Sera, but as Jay explores their feelings for the cool boy Wooram things take an interesting turn as the three of them become entangled in a three-way relationship.    

Director: Soh-Yoon Lee  |  Language: Korean with English subtitles

Find out more and buy tickets 

Drag Films & Documentaries

Three Nights A Week

Straight photographer Baptiste sets off on an unexpected journey of self discovery when he meets drag queen Cookie Kunty, and is instantly mesmerised. He embarks on a photography project with Cookie and throws himself into her world, and is soon forced to reevaluate his sexuality.  

Director: Florent Gouëlou  |  Language: French with English subtitles

Find out more and buy tickets

BFI Flare Expanded

This is a new direction for BFI Flare, as they experiment with immersive projects around the festival, and best of all they’re free. The projects include Virtual Reality, screen-based installations and 3D scanning and explore  themes of identity, belonging, self expression and vulnerability. All the projects will be available to interact with between March 16th and 19th at the BFI Southbank complex.

How To Buy Tickets

Booking can be done in any of three ways

Online      -   on the BFI Flare Website

Phone      -   0207928 3232 from 11:30 to 20:30 daily

In Person -   at BFI Southbank from 11:00am daily

Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday 24th February at 11:30am

But if you’d like to get in early you can become a BFI Patron, Champion or Member. 

BFI Patrons can buy tickets from 09:30am on Feb 21st

BFI Champions can buy from 12:30pm on Feb 21st

BFI Members can buy 11:30am on Feb 22nd

The Rainbow Stores

Radiate Positivity T-shirt from The Rainbow Stores

If you want something to wear to the BFI Flare London Film Festival you’re in the right place. We have loads of clothes to make you feel great on a night out.

We include 14 different LGBTQ+ identities in the shop and things with Super subtle references or larger pride flags on to let you express yourself however you want to, whether that's out and proud or in a much quieter way. 

You can find our range by clicking into our clothing section or just find everything for your identity in the By Identity section