Five Films for Freedom
A still from Land Of The Free

7th Five Films For Freedom, World’s Largest LGBTIQ+ Digital Campaign, Launched

Over 15 million people from more than 200 countries have viewed the Five Films For Freedom programme since its launch in 2015

March 27, 2021

British Council recently launched the seventh Five Films For Freedom- the world’s largest LGBTIQ+ digital campaign.

Audiences across the globe are invited to watch these films in solidarity with LGBTIQ+ communities in places where freedom and equal rights are limited and to spread the word using the hashtag #FiveFilmsForFreedom.

Self-expression, homophobia in rural communities, coming out as a teenager, and finding love later in life - this year's short films look at an intersection of LGBTIQ+ perspectives to explore love and acceptance.

Broadcasting five brand new LGBTIQ+ films to countries around the world, this year’s programme showcases queer storytelling from India, Spain, Sweden, the USA and the UK.

The festival’s short film selection includes an Indian film this time.

Titled, Bodies of Desire, and directed by Varsha Panikar and Saad Nawab, the movie uses Panikar’s work as the basis for a visual, poetic film capturing four sets of lovers in a sensual celebration of genderless love and desire.

In India, British Council has partnered with The Queer Muslim Project, South Asia’s largest virtual network of queer, Muslim and allied individuals, to celebrate and amplify LGBTIQ+ stories, voices and people.

In Assam, British Council has partnered with Anaajoree, a non-profit organisation based out of Guwahati, and Poetry Couture, to organise screenings in Guwahati and Tezpur.

Anaajoree had collaborated with the Department of Cultural Studies, Tezpur University, to host a screening at the university and this was followed by a discussion with faculty members on March 26.

Over 15 million people from more than 200 countries have viewed the Five Films For Freedom programme since its launch in 2015.

Especially for Indian audiences, the Five Films will also be streamed on Jio Cinema, one of India’s leading video-on-demand streaming services.

This year, the campaign further addresses the language barrier typically associated with international content, by providing subtitles in local languages such as Hindi.

Meanwhile, the British Council has roped in Pushpa Joshi, a young feminist activist from Nepal, to run a workshop for young LGBTIQ+ artists and creators based in India and Nepal.

The 2-day online Digital Storytelling workshop is designed to equip participants with the skills needed to tell their stories in a digital format.

The workshop will explore a range of themes from online security and safety to creating shared community spaces, and learning the basic elements of a script, writing practice, and narration.

Participants will be provided with technical support so that they are able to produce their own digital story (in the form of a 3-minute long film) either during or after the workshop.

Five Film For Freedom Programme 2021

Bodies of Desire (India/Dir. Varsha Panikar & Saad Nawab/3 mins), directed by Varsha Panikar and multi-award-winner Saad Nawab, uses Indian poet Panikar’s work as the basis for a 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) - Ullgren’s tense Swedish drama follows the fictionalDavid and friends as they celebrate his birthday with a nightly swim at the beach. The good mood swiftly changes after two straight couples walk by and laugh – was the laughter directed at them, or something else? Who owns the truth of exactly what happened?

Pure (USA/Dir. Natalie Jasmine Harris/12 mins) is the fictional debutfrom2020 Directors Guild of America Student Film Award winner Natalie Jasmine Harris, centring on a young Black girl grappling with her queer identity and ideas of ‘purity’. The film is written, produced and directed by Harris - a filmmaker passionate about the intersection between filmmaking and social justice.

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) followsa bittersweet reunion between a trans woman and her ex, sparking tension and long buried resentment.Directed by award-winning filmmaker, Daniel Toledo, Victoria also features acclaimed trans actress, writer and director Abril Zamora (The Life Ahead, The Mess You Leave Behind).

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