Five Films For Freedom is a British Council global programme in partnership with BFI Flare, London’s LGBTIQ+ Film Festival. We make five short films available to watch anywhere in the world, online for free for a 11-day period. Running since 2015, the programme has been enthusiastically embraced by colleagues around the globe. Over 15 million people from more than 200 countries have viewed the Five Films For Freedom programme since its launch in 2015. This continues to include online engagement in countries where homosexuality can be prosecuted and, in some cases, punishable by death.
Through a global digital campaign, we invite audiences everywhere to watch the films online in solidarity with LGBTIQ+ communities in places where freedom and equal rights are limited, and to spread the word using the hashtag #FiveFilmsForFreedom.
Five Films For Freedom 2021 sees filmmakers exploring emerging sexuality, trans-activism, homophobia, and genderless love. This year’s programme showcases queer storytelling from India, Spain, Sweden, the USA, and the UK.
Bodies of Desire (India/Dir. Varsha Panikar & Saad Nawab/3 mins), directed by Varsha Panikar and multi-award-winner Saad Nawab, uses Indian poet Panikar’s work as the basis for a visual, poetic film capturing four sets of lovers in a sensual celebration of genderless love and desire.
Land of the Free (Sweden/Dir. Dawid Ullgren/10 mins) - Ullgren’s tense Swedish drama follows the fictional David and friends as they celebrate his birthday with a nightly swim at the beach. The good mood swiftly changes after two straight couples walk by and laugh – was the laughter directed at them, or something else? Who owns the truth of exactly what happened?
Pure (USA/Dir. Natalie Jasmine Harris/12 mins) is the fictional debut from 2020 Directors Guild of America Student Film Award winner Natalie Jasmine Harris, centring on a young Black girl grappling with her queer identity and ideas of ‘purity’. The film is written, produced and directed by Harris - a filmmaker passionate about the intersection between filmmaking and social justice.
Trans Happiness is Real (UK/Dir. Quinton Baker/8 mins) – a moving documentary from first-time filmmaker Quinton Baker - sees transgender activists take to the streets of Oxford, England to fight anti-trans sentiments using the power of graffiti and street art.
Victoria (Spain/Dir. Daniel Toledo/7 mins) follows a bittersweet reunion between a trans woman and her ex, sparking tension and long buried resentment. Directed by award-winning filmmaker, Daniel Toledo, Victoria also features acclaimed trans actress, writer and director Abril Zamora (The Life Ahead, The Mess You Leave Behind).