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British Council celebrates 10 years of sharing LGBTQIA+ stories 

British Council Five Films for Freedom. Screengrab via British Arts YouTube channel | Compton's 22, Halfway, Cursive, The First Kiss, Little One | : Charen Alegres, USJ-R Intern

Screengrab via British Arts YouTube channel | Compton’s 22, Halfway, Cursive, The First Kiss, Little One | : Charen Alegres, USJ-R Intern

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The British Council kicks off the first in-person screening of the Five Films For Freedom programme to live audiences in Cebu on Wednesday, March 13, in partnership with BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival

The Five Films For Freedom, launched by the British Council and the British Film Institute in 2014, is an annual celebration of sharing LGBTQIA+ stories in the digital space and the widest-reaching LGBTQIA+ digital campaign. 

READ: Embassy of France brings French Film Festival in SM City Cebu

This year’s Five Films For Freedom features creative filmmakers from countries: the United States of America, the United Kingdom, India, Spain, and the Philippines. For the programme’s tenth anniversary, they showcase LGBTQIA+ stories that ‘resonate with strength and spirit’.

This is the programme’s first in-person screening of the Film Festival as they have been held online for the past 9 years. They will also hold their in-person screenings in Manila and Baguio next week. 

British Council Communications Manager said that it was always their goal to reach more people by doing activities outside of Manila and they’re happy to have done the kick-off for the programme here in Cebu. 

“We have strong ties in Cebu and we would love to foster that through bringing some of our key activities here,” she added.

READ: Telling Stories that Matter from the Lens of a Young Cebuana Filmmaker

Dr. Shane Carreon, University of the Philippines’ College of Communication Arts and Design dean, also shares that they are excited to link with partners in enriching their experiences of worlds through cross-cultural, gender-sensitive, and gender-expansive understandings. 

“As films take us into worlds and cultures and various experiences, past, ongoing present and perceivable futures, we get to immerse ourselves in dissimilar and similar ways of seeing, living, and being in a world which in turn can inspire us to love and live better where we are now,” Carreon said.

Here are the five films: 

1. “Little One”

Directed by Clister Santos (Philippines) — The story of a pregnant mother, unsure of how to raise a child, arranges an interview with her two gay dads but fate intervenes when his dad suffers a heart attack. Her dad reflects on their family’s history, captured on an old camcorder.

2. “Halfway”

Directed by Kumar Chheda (India) — A turbulent couple ends up at different entrances of Juhu Beach, forcing them to walk towards each other and meet halfway.

3. “Cursive”

Directed by Isabel Steubel Johnson (UK) — When a woman on the verge of a breakup gets help from a mysterious stranger to improve her handwriting, she finds the inner voice she longed for all along.

4. “The First Kiss”

Directed by Miguel Lafuente (Spain) — Today is a special day for Andi, he is going to Madrid to have his first date with a boy he’s met online.

5. “Compton’s 22”

Directed by Drew de Pinto (USA) — Three years prior to Stonewall, transgender sex workers and drag queens revolted against police violence at Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.

The short films are available to view online for 12 days starting March 13 until March 24, through their YouTube channel, British Arts. 

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TAGS: British Council, Five Films for Freedom
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