Thursday 18 March 2021


Five Films for Freedom, the world’s largest LGBTIQ+ digital campaign, is now available to watch on British Council’s global digital networks from 17–28 March. 

This year’s five short films from India, Spain, Sweden, USA and the UK explore emerging sexuality, trans-activism, homophobia and genderless love as a timely reminder that Love is Still a Human Right. The films are free to view on British Council’s Arts YouTube channel

The British Council in the Philippines is partnering with Film Development Council of the Philippines to bring this festival to audience in the country.  

‘Film is a powerful driving force in promoting gender acceptance and equality. It's about time that we hear out the concerns, issues, and struggles of the LGBTIQ+ community and celebrate its hopes, dreams, and triumphs.’ Liza Diño, FDCP Chairperson said. ‘Indeed, love knows no gender and Five Films For Freedom is a great platform to make known to global audiences that love is still a human right.’  

Over 15 million people from more than 200 countries have viewed the Five Films For Freedom programme since its launch in 2015. This includes countries where homosexuality can be prosecuted and, in some cases, punishable by death. In the Philippines, Five Films for Freedom was viewed 7,000 times last year, premiering online a week after the country was placed under lockdown. 

This year’s campaign acknowledges that links between global LGBTIQ+ communities may have been adversely impacted by restrictions arising from Covid-19. In response, the campaign asks audiences to share the films widely using the hashtag #FiveFilmsForFreedom.  

Viewers are also invited to vote for their Five Films Favourite on the Five Films For Freedom homepage and select the film that resonates most for them via a web poll. The winning film will be announced on British Council social media channels prior to 28 March.  

‘After such a remarkable and difficult year, it feels so good to be able to send a positive message of support and solidarity to LGBTIQ+ communities the world over...The range of experiences shown and the diversity of voices reveal that wherever you are, the campaign’s message – that love is still a human right – is more relevant than ever,’ says British Council’s Director of Film, Briony Hanson. 

In a continuing partnership with BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival, Michael Blyth, Senior Programmer, adds: ‘Now in its seventh year, Five Films For Freedom remains an integral part of BFI Flare, giving audiences worldwide the chance to access a selection of extraordinary short films from our programme. It has been humbling and gratifying to see how many millions of people we have reached since launching the project in 2015, and we are so excited to continue working with the British Council to reach millions more this year.’ 

The Southeast Asia premiere is also supported by the ASEAN SOGIE Caucus through the Southeast Asian Queer Cultural Festival. 

Five Film For Freedom 2021: 

Some films may contain nudity or sexual elements. Viewer discretion is advised. 

  • Bodies of Desire (India/Dir. Varsha Panikar & Saad Nawab/3 mins), Indian poet Panikar’s work is the basis for this visual, poetic film capturing four sets of lovers in a sensual celebration of genderless love and desire. 
  • Land of the Free (Sweden/Dir. Dawid Ullgren/10 mins) follows David and friends as they celebrate his birthday with a swim at the beach. The good mood swiftly changes after two straight couples walk by and laugh – was the laughter directed at them? Who owns the truth of exactly what happened? 
  • Pure (USA/Dir. Natalie Jasmine Harris/12 mins) is about a young Black girl grappling with her queer identity and ideas of ‘purity’. The film is the fictional debut from 2020 Directors Guild of America Student Film Award winner Natalie Jasmine Harris. 
  • Trans Happiness is Real (UK/Dir. Quinton Baker/8 mins) – a moving documentary from first-time filmmaker Quinton Baker - sees transgender activists take to the streets of Oxford, England to fight anti-trans sentiments using the power of graffiti and street art. 
  • Victoria (Spain/Dir. Daniel Toledo/7 mins) follows a bittersweet reunion between a trans woman and her ex, sparking tension and long buried resentment. Victoria features acclaimed trans actress, writer and director Abril Zamora.



Notes to Editor

About Five Films For Freedom 

Five Films For Freedom is the world’s widest-reaching LGBTIQ+ online film campaign. The campaign has been run by the British Council, in partnership with BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival, since 2015.  

Share online using #FiveFilmsForFreedom via: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook 

About BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival  

BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival is the UK’s longest running queer film event. It began in 1986 as Gay’s Own Pictures. The Festival changed its name to BFI Flare in 2014 to reflect the increasing diversity of its films, filmmakers and audience.  

About the BFI 

The BFI is the UK’s lead organisation for film, television and the moving image. Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Tim Richards.  

About the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) 

FDCP is the national agency under the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines responsible for film policies and programs to ensure the economics, cultural and educational development of the Philippine Film Industry. 

About the ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (ASC) 

The ASC is a network of human rights activists from Southeast Asia. The ASC works for the inclusion of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) in the mandate of human rights duty bearers in the ASEAN region. The ASC works for the promotion and protection of the human rights of all persons regardless of SOGIESC in the Southeast Asian region. 

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government. 


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