The football themed film will open the 30th anniversary of the BFI’s annual LGBT film festival.

The Pass will have its world premiere as the opening film of the 2016 edition of BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival (March 16-27).

Ben A. Williams’ feature debut stars Russell Tovey as a premier league footballer who, on the night of his first big international match, rooms with a team mate – played by Arinze Kene.

The two share an unexpected intimate moment after Tovey’s character kisses his friend.

The emotional repercussions of this pass, and the decisions that follow on and off the pitch, have a major impact on every aspect of the public and private lives of both men across the next decade.

Adapted for the screen by John Donnelly from his hit play first presented at the Royal Court Theatre – in which Tovey starred – The Pass is produced by renowned British film producer Duncan Kenworthy.

Kenworthy said although the piece is not “issue” based, it does tell an important story, by putting “very handsome flesh on the bones of this modern anomaly”.

Claire Stewart – Head of BFI Festivals – added: “The Pass boldly tackles a forbidden topic, outlining one man’s struggle to embrace his sexuality within the hyper masculine and very public world of professional football.

“We are excited to be launching the 30th edition of BFI Flare – a Festival that prides itself on a programme which captivates hearts, bodies and minds – with an impressive and very topical British directorial debut.”

The premiere will take place at London’s Odeon Leicester Square on March 16, kicking off the BFI Flare festival which runs until March 27 and is celebrating its 30th edition in 2016.

The festival’s full programme will include screenings of 50 feature films, as well as an industry programme and a series of events and archive screenings.