After its world premiere at Sundance, I Am Michael, starring James Franco and Zachary Quinto will make its jump across the pond, making its UK debut as the Opening Night film of BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival. The BFI has also announced is a new pilot mentorship programme for emerging LGBT filmmakers which will launch at the Festival in partnership with Creative Skillset.
Adapted from Benoit Denizet-Lewis’ New York Times Magazine article ‘My Ex-Gay Friend, I Am Michael tells the real-life story of Michael Glatze, formerly a leading US journalist for prominent gay magazine XY, and also an activist working for LGBT rights. After a profound and life-changing epiphany, Glatze gradually renounced his homosexuality and turned to Christian ministry, becoming outspokenly opposed to queer lifestyles.
BFI Head of Cinemas and Festivals Clare Stewart says, “We’re thrilled to be opening BFI Flare with such strong new work from Justin Kelly straight from its highly applauded and hotly discussed debut in Sundance. This is provocative, probing cinema that avoids easy assumptions and judgements and it’s sure to be a major talking point at the Festival.”
The BFI’s Deputy Head of Festivals Tricia Tuttle adds: “We can think of no better film to open the 2015 edition of the Festival than I Am Michael, Justin Kelly’s audacious and assured directorial debut. This follows the great success of last year’s Opening Night, the European Premiere of Hong Khaou’s Lilting which went on to earn Hong a BAFTA nomination. I Am Michael is an equally powerful new work, and it’s a real testament to the growing regard within the industry for BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival”.
The full programme of BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival (formerly London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival) will be announced on 18 February. The Festival’s 29th edition will run 19 – 29 March 2015 at BFI Southbank with over 50 features and 100 short films representing the best in contemporary and archive LGBT cinema from around the world. BFI Flare is the UK’s longest running and most popular LGBT film festival with over 22,000 admissions.
As mentioned BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival, in partnership with Creative Skillset, is launching a mentorship pilot that will offer five emerging LGBT filmmakers from the UK the opportunity to develop industry knowledge, professional connections, their passion for cinema and an overview of LGBT features entering the marketplace. From March to December 2015, selected filmmakers will have one-to-one support from a senior industry figure who will act as a mentor over the nine-month programme. They will also have access to a one-of-a-kind package that includes a wide range of BFI festival screenings and BFI Flare events, as well as filmmaker-focused events and talks.
The programme is open to writer/directors/producers who have previously screened a short or a feature film in any of BAFTA’s qualifying film festivals or in BFI Flare (formerly LLGFF). Filmmakers will be chosen by an invited panel of industry professionals. The first events in this programme include a series of talks and events within an expanded BFI Flare Industry programme for all of the Festival’s accredited industry professionals.
The deadline for receipt of applications for the 2015 scheme is 23rd February 2015 and applications are available here: http://www.jotformpro.com/LFF/BFI_Flare_Film_Mentorship