The BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, now in its 21st year, opens this evening.
The LLGFF runs until 4th April, showing over a hundred films and shorts as well as hosting a range of discussions and club nights.
The opening gala tonight will screen Itty Bitty Titty Committee, the latest offering from But I’m A Cheerleader director Jamie Babbit.
A modern gay Manhattan reworking of The Picture of Dorian Gray from director Duncan Roy will close the festival. Other highlights include a re-showing of the 1971 cult classic Pink Narcissus and black British gay film Rag Tag.
In celebration of the creation of the Mediatech, a new space at BFI Southbank where users can view its national archive material for free, the festival will include The Mediatech Presents, a selection of unusual and unseen film and TV from the archive.
Highlights include Peter Gill’s play Girl starring Alison Steadman, and Claude Whatham’s Bermondsey.
The event will also host the culmination of its year-long project Generations of Love, a reaction against what organisers see as a “culture obsessed with youth.”
The project is designed to allow older members of the lesbian and gay community to share their experiences through film and discussion.
The project will centre around the films Look Us in the Eye and Only Connect, followed by a social in the Delegate Centre at 6pm on 23rd March.
Generations of Love has been supported by both Mediatech and the Mayor of London, who said: “I am delighted to support the Festival’s Youth and Inter-generational Programmes.
“These exciting projects offer LGBT young people the change to develop filmmaking skills and to work with older members of the LGBT community to explore representations of their lives and communities.”
The Pansy Project, brainchild of artist Paul Harfleet, will feature at the LLGFF this year.
3,000 pansies will be planted along the Southbank, from Waterloo Bridge to Hungerford Bridge.
The project, described by its creator as an “elegiac memorial” of “unexpected poignancy”, was originally inspired by the death David Morley, who was killed in a homophobic attack in 2004.
The pansies, which will also be handed out to passers-by, are to be seen as symbols of enduring homophobia.
An image of a pansy created by photographer Nadege Meriau will feature as the symbol for the festival as a whole.
The LLGFF will host a range of club nights, including Lower the Tone on 24th March (“a club for people who hate clubs”) and Club Wotever on 31st March, both at the BFI Southbank Film Cafe (free entry).
Elsewhere, club nights will take place in Central Station on 27th March, Heaven on 28th March, and The Chocolate Lounge on 29th March, all with free entry for screening ticket holders.
Tickets to the screenings are free but must be booked in advance. For more information, go to www.llgff.org.uk. Box office: 020 7957 4729/4833.