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7th edition of British Council's Five Films For Freedom campaign launched


Five LGBTQ+ short films, including one from India, have been uploaded on the British Council Arts YouTube channel.

Roushni Sarkar

The seventh edition of the British Council’s LGBTIQ+ digital campaign Five Films for Freedom commenced on 17 March and will continue till 28 March. Five LGBTQ+ short films from different countries, including one from India, are currently available for viewing on the British Council Arts YouTube channel.

The films are Bodies of Desire by Varsha Panikar and Saad Nawab, the Swedish film Land of the Free by Dawid Ullgren, Pure by USA filmmaker Natalie Jasmine Harris, True Happiness is Real by UK director Quinton Baker and Victoria by Spanish director Daniel Toledo.

Ever since the launch of the campaign in 2015, 15 million people from more than 200 countries have viewed the films. Along with joining forces with the BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival, the British Council has also partnered with The Queer Muslim Project, South Asia’s largest virtual network of queer, Muslim, and allied individuals, to celebrate and amplify LGBTIQ+ stories, voices and people. This year’s programme will also feature a community video from one of India’s largest youth multimedia platforms, Yuvaa, and a podcast on the Five Films For Freedom by Bi Collective Delhi.

There will also be a series of COVID-sensitive community film screenings, and curated online and offline engagements will be hosted by 10 LGBTIQ+ and allied communities, collectives and organisations across India. Also, the organizers will host an Online Digital Storytelling Workshop for LGBTIQ+ artists and creators based in India and Nepal to help them tell their stories through digital platforms. The workshop will cover a wide range of themes from online security and safety to creating shared community spaces, and learning the basic elements of a script, writing practices and narration. The participants will also be provided with technical support to produce their own digital story either during or after the workshop.

Jonathan Kennedy, Director Arts India, British Council, said at the launch of the campaign that Five Films For Freedom was gathering a wider audience. "We are glad that we have partners with whom we share our purpose of achieving greater inclusion and solidarity for the LGBTIQ+ community,” he said.

Excited about an Indian film being part of the line-up this year, Kennedy added, “It will take the perspective of the Indian LGBTIQ+ individuals to global audiences and connect them with people across borders. The range of emotions across this year’s line-up underlines the need for more love and togetherness in the world.” 

Rafiul Alom Rahman, founder and director of The Queer Muslim Project, said, “The Five Films For Freedom programme of the British Council has been a catalyst in promoting nuanced and intersectional representations of LGBTIQ+ stories and people from diverse cultures around the world. We are truly honoured to be collaborating with the British Council to create a space that celebrates community, creativity, self-expression and love.”

The films are also available on the Jio Cinema platform with local language subtitles.

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