The British Film Institute’s annual Lesbian and Gay Film Festival opened last night in central London.

The event, which is celebrating its 24th year, opened with a screening of new British film The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister at the Odeon West End.

The BBC2 drama was based on the true story of a Yorkshire landowner and industrialist who was described as Britain’s first modern lesbian.

The festival is to run until March 31st at the BFI Southbank, with more than 75 films and documentaries being screened. It is now the third biggest film festival in the UK.

Other films to be shown include I Killed My Mother, written, produced, directed by and starring 20-year-old Xavier Dolan, and Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, Leanne Pooley’s award-winning documentary about Jools and Lynda Topp, the folk-singing lesbian twins and national celebrities in New Zealand.

The closing night gala screening on March 31st will be Children of God by Kareem J Mortimer. The film is a love story between an artist and a local boy and unfolds against a backdrop of violent homophobia and social unease in the Bahamas.

There will also be short films, club nights, events and networking opportunities and collaborations with Tate Modern and the V&A.