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BFI Flare 2024: 10 Films to Watch

BFI Flare 2024 poster

BFI Flare 2024 is coming up, and we recommend 10 films to watch at London’s LGBTQIA+ film festival, from anticipated queer movies to hidden gems!

The wait is over! BFI Flare 2024 is happening this month, and it’s time to decide which films to watch at London’s LGBTQIA+ film festival! This year, this celebration of queer cinema will take place on 13-24 March 2024 at BFI Southbank and on the BFI Player. The lineup is out, and there are some great queer gems and anticipated movies that you should definitely add to your watchlist. If you haven’t booked your tickets yet, we are here to help! Our writers Bethany Lola and Daniel Allen, who will be at the festival this year, made a list of 10 films to watch at BFI Flare! Read our recommendations and come back soon with our reviews!



Director: D. W. Waterson
Starring: Devery Jacobs, Evan Rachel Wood, Shannyn Sossamon, Kudakwashe Rutendo
Country: Canada

Backspot: Trailer (BFI Flare)

The pressure is on for Riley (Devery Jacobs) to join the All Star cheerleading team the Thunderhawks. Riley has so much drive for cheerleading, constantly pushing her own boundaries to be the best at the sport. When her coach Eileen (Evan Rachel Wood) pushes her too far, her anxiety sets in, straining not only her mental health and relationship with girlfriend Amanda (Kudakwashe Rutendo), but her physical health too. Backspot encapsulates what it’s like to love what you do so much that you’re willing to put everything at risk for it. In the age of films like Nyad, I, Tonya and The Iron Claw, Backspot slides in perfectly. (B.L.)



Director: Dominic Savage
Starring: Elliot Page, Hillary Baack, Wendy Crewson, Peter Outerbridge
Country: Canada-UK

Elliott Page looks out of a window in the movie Close to You, one of the 10 films to watch at BFI Flare 2024 according to Loud and Clear Reviews
Close to You (Me + You Productions, BFI Flare)

BAFTA award-winning director Dominic Savage brings us another character driven drama starring Elliot Page as Sam, who we follow as he travels back to see his family, the first time he’s visited after transitioning. Sam revisits memories that haven’t been unearthed in a long time, leading to conversations with himself and with family. With Page writing and producing Close to You, he’s been able to channel his own experience of transitioning whilst in the limelight and delve into a story which is a first-hand encounter. Close to You is a deeply necessary story, showcasing a narrative which we rarely see on screen. (B.L.)



Director: Clare Cooney
Starring: Ignacio Diaz Silverio, Yani Gellman, Ireon Roach, Lorena Diaz
Country: USA

Departing Seniors Trailer (BFI Flare 2024)

Departing Seniors is director Clare Cooney’s first feature film after a run of shorts in the past couple of years. A high school senior, Javier (Ignacio Diaz Silverio), starts seeing brutal murders in advance of them happening. Javier, along with his best friend Bianca (Ireon Roach), begin the hunt for the masked killer who is eliminating their classmates one by one before their time is up. Departing Seniors has the cliché horror comedy concept that seems to play out like if Most Likely to Die, Freaky and Spontaneous had a baby. If there’s one thing to be sure of, it’s that Departing Seniors promises us a good bloody time! (B.L.)



Director: Yun Su-ik
Cast: Han So-hee, Han Hae-in
Country: South Korea

Heavy Snow Trailer (BFI Flare 2024)

From writer-director Yun Suik comes his sophomore romance drama set in Gangneung on the east coast of South Korea. Teenager Suan (Han Hae-in) is attending a performing arts high school when previous child actress Seol (Han So-hee in her first film role) arrives. The pair immediately hit it off – and then years later, they find themselves returning to the beaches of Gangneung as adults. If you either love your Korean cinema/K-dramas or are looking for something visually striking, Heavy Snow might be up your avenue. (D.A.)



Director: M. H. Murray
Starring: Mark Clennon, Anthony Diaz, Nat Manuel, Deragh Campbell
Country: Canada

I Don’t Know Who You Are: Film Review – Loud and Clear
M.H. Murray’s astonishing debut I Don’t Know Who You Are showcases the importance of resilience, resonance and emotional storytelling.

Canadian writer-director M. H. Murray bursts onto our screens with his pivotal and personal debut feature film centering around protagonist Benjamin (Mark Clennon) who is in dire need of vital medication after a sexual assault. Benjamin has 72 hours to come up with $1000 in order to receive a course of HIV preventative drugs, leaving him frantic yet extremely driven to raise the money in time. I Don’t Know Who You Are is a tremendously intimate insight into relationships, loneliness and the emotional toll the queer community endure, backdropped by the landscape of an uncontrived Toronto.

I Don’t Know Who You Are is Murray’s follow up feature to the 2020 short film Ghost also starring Clennon as Benjamin. (B.L.)



Director: Amrou Al-Kadhi
Cast: Bilal Hasna, Louis Greatorex, Safiyya Ingar, Terique Jarrett, Rebecca Lucy Taylor
Country: South Korea

a girl looks from behind a shiny curtain in the queer movie Layla, one of the 10 films to watch at BFI Flare 2024 according to Loud and Clear Reviews
Layla (Independent Entertainment, BFI Flare)

Opening this year’s BFI Flare is this film fresh from Sundance, directed by drag queen and debuting filmmaker Amrou Al-Kadhi. Layla (Bilal Hasna) is a struggling British-Palestinian drag performer at a queer space called Feathers. One night, they meet marketing executive Max (Louis Greatorex) during a corporate event and the two fall in love. But Layla and Max come from two very different worlds. And as Feathers is threatened by gentrification, Layla learns to embrace their conflicting identities whilst wondering if their romance with Max is meant to last. (D.A.)



Director: Rose Glass
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Katy O’Brian, Ed Harris, Jena Malone, Anna Baryshnikov, Dave Franco
Countries: United Kingdom, United States

Love Lies Bleeding Review: Intoxicating Thriller – Loud And Clear
Love Lies Bleeding, Rose Glass’ gloriously bizarre follow up to Saint Maud, is a marvellous feat of muscular filmmaking.

One of the most anticipated indie releases of the year (and one of my most anticipated films of the year), Rose Glass’ follow-up to Saint Maud is an unpredictable crime thriller/lesbian romance/gory body horror set in the 1980s. When reclusive gym manager Lou (Kristen Stewart) meets aspiring bodybuilder Jackie (Katy O’Brian), she can’t help falling in love with her. But Lou also can’t stop Jackie from getting entangled in the web of violence from her criminal family, led by her slimy father Lou Sr. (Ed Harris) and abusive brother-in-law JJ (Dave Franco). Early reactions promise a gripping watch with some scintillating chemistry between Stewart and O’Brian. (D.A.)



Director: Marija Kavtaradzė
Cast: Greta Grinevičiūtė, Kęstutis Cicėnas, Pijus Ganusauskas, Laima Akstinaitė
Countries: Lithuania, Spain, Sweden

Slow: Sundance Film Review – Loud And Clear Reviews
Marija Kavtaradze’s film Slow is an asexual romantic drama showing the creation of a relationship – and a different way to love.

After appearing at Sundance and LFF last year (and being selected as the Lithuanian candidate for the Best International Feature Oscar), Marija Kavtaradzė’s admirable romance drama with a twist makes its way to BFI Flare ahead of a UK release this May. The film follows Dovydas (Kęstutis Cicėnas), a sign language interpreter who meets dancer and teacher Elena (Greta Grinevičiūtė). When Dovydas reveals he is asexual, a unique and intimate relationship begins to form. Slow-moving but tender with an effortlessly earnest relationship at its centre, Slow is certainly a hidden gem to check out at this year’s Flare. (D.A.)



Director: Iris Brey
Starring: Alma Jodorowsky, Jehnny Beth, Ralph Amoussou, Pauline Chalamet
Country: France

Split trailer (BFI Flare 2024)

Split, a new five part queer drama series, merged into one film to screen at BFI Flare, is sure to get hearts racing as we follow a stuntwoman who begins falling for the actress she’s working with. Anna (Alma Jodorowsky) is already in a relationship with a loving boyfriend but her life is changed when she starts working with Eve (Jehnny Beth). The intimacy Anna experiences feels more real than ever, leading her to wonder if she’s as happy as she thinks in a relationship with a man. Split pairs with the documentary Sex is Comedy which allows us to see the intimacy co-ordinator of Split, Paloma Garcia Martens, during the actual filming of the series. (B.L.)



Director: I-Hsuan Su
Cast: Lily Lee, Hsiao-Fei Yeh, Roy Chang
Country: Taiwan

Two girls sit next to each other with beer cans in Who'll Stop the Rain, one of the 10 films to watch at BFI Flare 2024 according to Loud and Clear Reviews
Who’ll Stop the Rain (Hope Content Marketing Co. Ltd, BFI Flare)

Described as a “beautiful slow-burn romance”, this film from I-Hsuan Su is based on a true story and has the political backdrop of Taiwan’s post-martial law 1990s. Female art student Chi-wei (Ling-Wei Lee) has joined the collective protests against her university, which is punishing independent thought and neglecting Taiwanese art. As demonstrations turn into strike action, Chi-wei meets Ching (Hsiao-Fei Yeh), whose boyfriend (Roy Chang) is the leader of the students. But what will happen when the two women begin to fall for each other? And does their romance mirror this fight for artistic freedom in the face of conformity? (D.A.)


BFI Flare will take place on 13-24 March 2024 at BFI Southbank and on the BFI Player.

BFI Flare 2024 Trailer (British Film Institute)
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