On Wednesday, November 1, the British Council presents #FiveFilms4Freedom at New York University in Washington DC, starting at 6:00 P.M. A panel discussion and reception for public discourse on LGBTQ human rights will follow the screening, with a digital platform for creative response participation. Together with two of the filmmakers, Rosie Westhoff and Jonny Ruff, the British Council is thrilled to share these thought-provoking films with the public. You can reserve your free ticket here.
#FiveFilms4Freedom is the world’s first global digital LGBT short-film program, created in collaboration between the British Council and the British Film Institute (BFI).
The short films selected for #FiveFilms4Freedom 2017 include both drama and documentaries and tell stories of LGBTQ experiences. They range from the tentative steps of first love, through an intimate portrait of an extraordinary family, to an exuberant picture of underground cultural expression.
Throughout the month of November, #FiveFilms4Freedom will be screened in four major cities throughout the US – Los Angeles, Orlando, Washington DC and New York.
In Washington DC, the panel discussion promises to be particularly interesting. Maurice Eckstein, Communities and Volunteer Relations Senior Manager at Human Rights Campaign will moderate the post-screening discussion, featuring Lynn Sicade, Director for Multilateral and Global Affairs, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at U.S. Department of State and Amazin LeThi, Founder of the Amazin LeThi Foundation and Global Ambassador for Athlete Ally and Vietnam Relief Services. They will be joined by Rosie Westhoff, Director of Crush and Jonny Ruff, Director of Heavy Weight. The event is free to the public. You can participate by registering here.
In March 2017, audiences in London enjoyed #FiveFilms4Freedom as part of BFI Flare, the BFI’s LGBT film festival. At the same time, people from all over the world watched five films from the festival for free online. The program built to a single campaign day – Tuesday, 21 March 2017 – when people everywhere were encouraged to watch and share the films in solidarity with LGBT communities in countries where freedom and equal rights are limited.
In 2016, people in 179 countries worldwide watched the films, with 1.57 million views on websites and social media.
Filmmaker Jonny Ruff, Director of Heavy Weight, states “It's all thanks to the work the British Council does, supporting LGBTQ communities. I'm extremely proud to continue sharing this story (along with the others). Most importantly, it will continue to open up conversations that need to be had. I was inundated with messages when the campaign was online, many of which were people wanting US screenings and now they have them. I hope they get to see it!”
Rosie Westhoff, Director of Crush, shares “I got the news that Crush was selected for BFI Flare while I was in the States in February 2016, so it feels quite special and full circle to be back in the States promoting the campaign. I’m really proud to be working with the British Council, who is doing great work supporting LGBTQ stories. They, like me, believe that love is a human right.”
In previous years, the selection of the #FiveFilms4Freedom came from various countries around the world. This year, for one year only, all five films are UK productions. This is the British Council’s way of marking the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in the UK – a landmark moment for human rights.