The 22nd BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival starts on March 22nd 2008

The annual event showcases a wide selection of LGBT-themed films and has grown in popularity in recent years.

This year the opening Night Gala Screening film is Love and Other Disasters and will be shown at the Odeon West End.

Described as a sharper, gayer version of Love Actually, the romantic comedy features performances from Brittany Murphy, Matthew Rhys and Catherine Tate.

The Closing Night Gala Screening on 10th April will be Vivere a new film from Angelina Maccarone.

The London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival is famous for its side projects, mini-seasons of films that highlight regions or issues that the organisers believe are important.

Two areas are looked at this year, films of East Asian origin and films that display an overt political message.

In the East Asian section of the festival, Spider Lilies, a film that looks at the world of family obligations in Taiwan, and The Chinese Botanist’s Daughter a look at lesbian life in rural China in the 1990′s, stand out as films of importance.

There are three films that the festival organisers have chosen to include in the politics section.

EAST/WEST – Sex Politics offers an insight into the attempts to mount a Gay Pride march in Moscow, which takes us into the lives of the organisers and uncovers a surprising range of gay life.

The Marching Season looks at Pride 2007 in London and Riga, asking questions about the purpose and future of Pride.

This local documentary is a timely reminder of the reasons why LGBT people march.

Jerusalem Is Proud to Present follows the organisers of a week-long World Pride event in Jerusalem, and the campaign of personal intimidation and institutional non-co-operation they face as a result of opposition to the event.

A statement from the organisers of the festival said:

“The LLGFF was established in 1986 and has grown to become the UK’s third largest film festival.

“For 22 years it has been bringing the best in queer cinema to audiences in London and across the UK and offering unparalleled access to the best in European and World cinema, with hundreds of visiting filmmakers and cast.

“The Festival continues to celebrate the diversity of lesbian and gay culture with outstanding contributions this year from Taiwan, China, Israel, Singapore, Canada and the USA.”

More detailed information of the festival, including film times and booking information, can be found here.