The BFI have unveiled the 38th edition of BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival Opening and Closing Gala Films.

The 2024 festival will take place between 13th24th March at BFI Southbank (and on BFI Player). The Opening Night Gala is the European Premiere of LAYLA, Amrou Al-Kadhi’s confident debut feature and its Closing Night Gala is the World Premiere of docu-fiction LADY LIKE by director/producer Luke Willis. Filmmakers are expected to be in attendance.

Amrou Al-Kadhi’s LAYLA European Premiere will take place on Wednesday 13th March. The film recently had its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, an deeply personal and engaging, starring  Bilal Hasna in the titular role. LAYLA tells the story of a struggling Arab drag queen whose confident façade hides their desperate desire for love. When their performance at a belittling corporate Pride event turns into a transgressive takedown, they are surprised to catch the eye of marketing executive Max, whose attentions sweep Layla off their feet. The two start an intoxicating romance, but as Layla starts altering who they are to keep Max’s interest, they both face uncomfortable truths.

Amrou Al-Kadhi said: “It’s such a profound honour and joy to be opening BFI Flare this year. BFI Flare has been utterly instrumental to my career. The fantastic BFI Flare x BAFTA mentorship programme was where I met Savannah James-Bayly, my now forever producer and best-friend, with whom I went on to make 4 shorts, almost all of which screened at the festival. So, we are deeply proud to be bringing our first feature, Layla, home to BFI Flare. LAYLA is a film dedicated to the creative resilience of the queer community, and a love-letter to queer joy – to be opening the festival where I first felt the impact of joyful representation on screen, found my people and laid the foundations of my career, is a cosmic gift, and I simply cannot wait to celebrate LAYLA with my community.”

The Closing Night gala on Saturday 23rd March is the World Premiere of LADY LIKE that follows the story of London-born, San Francisco-based drag queen Lady Camden, aka Rex Wheeler, as she is catapulted into the spotlight on RuPaul’s Drag Race season 14. In this rags to riches origin story, Lady Camden struggles to manage the demands of her freshly minted international fame, while Rex is forced to come to terms with the troubling childhood he left behind in Camden which drove him to so desperately seek joy, fantasy and escape through the performing arts.

Luke Willis, said: “I cannot think of a better place to premiere LADY LIKE than BFI Flare! This story builds to Lady Camden‘s long-awaited return home to London to perform for the first time at the very nightclub that he ever went to as a young gay boy – Heaven. It will be such a blast to share this inspiring story that starts in Camden, finds itself in San Francisco, traverses the globe, and ends in London with BFI Flare audiences!

The full programme for BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival will be revealed on Tuesday 13th February at 11am.


Author Website

The founder of The People’s Movies, started the site 20th November 2008.The site has excelled past all expectations with many only giving the site months and it’s still going strong. A lover of French Thrillers, Post Apocalyptic films, Asian cinema. 2009 started Cinehouse to start his ‘cinema education’ learning their is life outside mainstream cinema. Outside of film, love to travel with Sorrento, Guangzhou and Manchester all favourite destinations.Musically loves David Bowie, Fishbone, Radiohead.

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