Ten Revelatory LGBTQ+ Films From BFI Flare Festival 2024

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Studio One Forever, 2024
Studio One Forever, 2024(Film still)

From a new drama starring Elliot Page to buzzy queer romantic thriller Love Lies Bleeding; here are ten of the best films to look out for at BFI Flare 2024

Now in its 38th year, BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival is a highlight of the queer cultural calendar. This year’s programme includes 57 features and 81 shorts from 41 countries, reminding us that the LGBTQ+ community is a non-geographical group bound together by the commonalities in our unique experiences. Screenings, panel discussions and DJ events take place at BFI Southbank from March 13 to 24, but a selection of titles will also be available to stream on BFI Player, so you can get involved online or IRL.

Here’s our guide to ten standout features that capture something raw, revelatory or affirming about being queer in 2024.

Close to You

Elliot Page stars in this semi-improvised drama from director Dominic Savage, who has previously made acclaimed TV movies with Kate Winslet and Gemma Chan. Page plays Sam, a man living in Toronto who returns home for the first time since his transition to celebrate – or perhaps endure – his father’s birthday. It’s a sensitive film that captures all the awkwardness and inauthenticity that LGBTQ+ people can feel when they step back into a heteronormative family environment. You’ll wince in places, but ultimately be moved.


Director Levan Akin’s follow-up to 2019’s And Then We Danced, a stunning queer coming-of-age story, is an equally powerful tale of family rapprochement. It follows retired teacher Lia (Mzia Arabuli) and her young companion Achi (Lucas Kankava) as they travel from Georgia to Turkey to find Lia’s missing trans niece, Evrim (Deniz Dumanli). Akin shoots Istanbul beautifully as his tender, affecting exploration of the trans experience unfolds in unexpected ways. It’s a film that will percolate in your mind long after the final credits.

I Don’t Know Who You Are

This debut feature from Canadian filmmaker MH Murray shines a stark spotlight on healthcare inequality. When Toronto musician Benjamin (Mark Clennon) is sexually assaulted, he learns that his insurance doesn’t cover the $900 bill for HIV prevention pill PEP. Because it works best in the 72 hours after exposure, Benjamin embarks on a frantic scramble to crowdsource funds from friends, exes and co-workers. It’s an intense, pressing human drama that reminds us that access to medication is more than a class-based issue.


Can love overcome vast disparities in privilege, identity and life experience? That’s the question posed in Amrou Al-Kadhi’s debut feature film, which follows a romance between Layla (Bilal Hasna), a non-binary British-Palestinian drag queen, and Max (Louis Greatorex), a white gay man with a corporate job. This smart and stylish melodrama, which has been selected to open this year’s BFI Flare, also confronts the impact of gentrification on London’s LGBTQ+ performance scene. It’s truly a love story for our times.

Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero

If any Gen Z icon is crying out for a tour doc, it’s Lil Nas X, a performer who redefines what it means to be Black, queer and disrupting the mainstream. Directors Carlos López Estrada and Zac Manuel follow Nas on his debut concert tour in 2022-23 as he blends sexy homoerotic choreography with elevated campy visuals. Live footage is interspersed with the star talking about his rise, family relationships and the gradual realisation that he has no interest in being “an acceptable gay person”. It’s exciting and inspiring in equal measure.


Directed by Marija Kavtaradze, this elegant romantic drama was selected as Lithuania’s candidate for the 2024 Academy Awards. It follows the affecting and complex relationship that develops between Elena (Greta Grineviciute), a sexually confident dancer, and Dovydas (Kestutis Cicenas), a sign language interpreter who is asexual. Kavtaradze’s film offers no preachy speeches or trite takeaways, preferring to chart the couple’s loving and uncomfortable moments with an unvarnished intimacy.

Love Lies Bleeding

This queer romantic thriller from director Rose Glass, who previously made the chilling 2020 horror film Saint Maud, is wild, stylish and ultra-violent. Love Lies Bleeding is also kind of subversive because, as star Kristen Stewart has explained, it allows “the little dykey sister [to] be the main protagonist”. Soon after gym manager Lou (Stewart) begins dating bodybuilder Jackie (Katy O’Brian), their crackling chemistry is infected by past trysts and steroid injections. The audaciously surreal climax will leave you reeling.

The Queen of My Dreams

“I used to worship my mother; I thought she was perfect,” a voiceover tells us at the start. “I tried to be like my mother, but I wasn’t.” It’s a relatable hook for Fawzia Mirza’s debut feature, a charming comedy-drama shot with bright, Bollywood-style visuals. Since coming out as queer, Pakistani-Canadian Azra (Amrit Kaur) has had a strained relationship with mum Mariam (Ninra Bucha), but the sudden death of Azra’s father forces them to reconnect. The results are soulful, surprising and sweetly uplifting without ever being saccharine.

Studio One Forever

This fascinating documentary tells the story of Studio One, West Hollywood’s era-defining LGBTQ+ club. When it opened in 1974, it provided a hedonistic focal point for the burgeoning gay rights movement, but not everyone was invited to the party. Director Marc Saltarelli doesn’t gloss over the club’s appallingly racist and sexist door policy as he tracks its highs and lows, including a rousing response to the HIV/Aids epidemic. Studio One closed in 1993, but this film keeps its flawed legacy alive.


This clever and inventive faux documentary looks at the trans-masculine experience through a unique filter: the chaotic and often offensive style of Y2K-era British TV. Adopting the role of a clueless yoof show presenter, director Amy Pennington isn’t afraid to ask the questions that really matter, such as: “What top did you wanna wear after top surgery?” At a time when the mainstream media rarely allows trans people to tell their own stories, this film’s playful but authentic approach is definitely to be cherished.

BFI Flare 2024 takes place at BFI Southbank in London, and on BFI Player, from 13 – 24 March 2024.