The 37th edition of BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival (15th – 26th March at BFI Southbank and on BFI Player) today announces its Opening Night Gala is THE STROLL, Kristen Lovell and Zackary Drucker’s resonant Sundance award-winning documentary and its Closing Night Gala is Hannes Hirsch’s debut feature DRIFTER. In addition, Tünde Skovrán’s intimate documentary WHO I AM NOT will have its UK Premiere as the Centrepiece Presentation Screening. All filmmakers are expected to be in attendance.
The International Premiere of Kristen Lovell and Zackary Drucker’s THE STROLL, which won the U.S Documentary Special Jury Award: Clarity of Vision at last month’s Sundance Film Festival, opens the Festival on Wednesday 15th March. This stirring and deeply personal film tells the history of New York City’s Meatpacking District from the point of view of the trans women of colour who lived and worked there. Comprised of intimate narration from Lovell, who worked “The Stroll” for a decade, she reunites with her sisters to recount the violence, policing, homelessness, and gentrification they overcame to build a movement for transgender rights.
The Closing Night gala on Saturday 25th March is the UK Premiere of Hannes Hirsch’s debut feature DRIFTER, a coming-of-age story with a difference. Arriving fresh from its World Premiere at Berlin, the film tells the story of 22-year-old Moritz, who is excited to be moving to Berlin with his boyfriend. But when the relationship quickly falls apart, he begins an odyssey of new relationships in a city full of possibilities, discovering the joys of sexual abandon and with each new encounter – straight, gay and a flirtation with S&M – he understands more of himself and how to fulfil people’s desires. It’s a revelatory portrait of an individual becoming sexually and emotionally confident, who learns valuable lessons about friendship, sex and the thrill of living in the moment. DRIFTER is a refreshing and authentic look at queer lives, imbued with the excitement of this generation’s ways of being.
Tünde Skovrán’s documentary WHO I AM NOT will receive its UK Premiere as the Flare Centrepiece Presentation Screening on Tuesday 21st March. The film is an intimate portrait of the lives of two intersex South Africans and the challenges they face navigating binary sex and gender systems. The documentary focuses on beauty queen Sharon-Rose Khumalo and intersex rights activist Dimakatso Sebidi as we witness the various medical, societal and personal challenges they face. Deeply moving and candid, we see the two struggle to accept themselves in a world that views them as anomalies. The film raises questions about sex and gender identity, and who gets to define it.
Michael Blyth, BFI Flare’s Senior Programmer said:
“Taking us from New York’s Meatpacking District in Kristen Lovell and Zackary Drucker’s vital record of trans history The Stroll, to present day Berlin with Hannes Hirsch’s scintillating queer odyssey Drifter, via South Africa for Who I Am Not, an intimate documentary portrait of two intersex people navigating the binary system, the Opening, Closing and Centrepiece presentations at this year’s BFI Flare offer a fascinating cross section of queer identities, each radically different in both style and content. But more than just three distinct entities, together these remarkable, urgent films explore what it takes to find your voice, to claim your space, and to choose your family.”
Co-directed by Kristen Lovell, her feature debut, and Zackary Drucker (Framing Agnes (Actor) BFI Flare 2022, Transparent (producer), The Lady and the Dale (director)). THE STROLL is produced by Matt Wolf (Spaceship Earth, Teenage (producer/director). The film will screen on Sky Documentaries later in 2023.
Zackary Drucker, THE STROLL director said:
“In the words of one of our legendary film subjects Ceyenne Doroshow, “I’m a Black, trans, international WHORE baby” — The Stroll is going international! We are thrilled and honored to premiere The Stroll to UK audiences at the beloved BFI Flare festival.”
Directed and co-written by Hannes Hirsch. DRIFTER is also co-written by River Matzke and produced by Diemo Kemmesies and Hannes Hirsch The film will receive its World Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Hannes Hirsch, DRIFTER director said:
“I’m thrilled and proud that my debut film DRIFTER will be shown as the closing film at BFI Flare. The film is my personal love-letter to Berlin’s queer scene, but it was also only possible with the broad support from the community. After its world premiere at Berlinale, I am honoured to present DRIFTER at the prestigious BFI Flare to the community.”
WHO I AM NOT is directed by Tünde Skovrán and the produced by Andrei Zinca.
Tünde Skovrán, WHO I AM NOT director said:
“We are thrilled to have our UK premiere at BFI Flare! What better home for a film that breaks the intersex taboo? Through a personal and intimate exploration of truth, faith, and belonging, Who I Am Not takes a close look at the struggle of living in a male-female world, when you are born in-between, and gives a voice to the long ignored and mostly silent two percent of the world’s population: the intersex community”
The full programme for BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival will be revealed on Wednesday 15th February at 11am.