Organisers of the international film festival take the “very difficult decision” to cancel the “very special and long standing” event

BY DANIELLE MUSTARDE

The BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival, with which DIVA magazine work closely with each year, has been cancelled.

Amid recent developments relating to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, organisers have made the “very difficult” but understandable decision to cancel the yearly film festival, a trend which is affecting events – large and small – internationally, as the pandemic continues to evolve.

“It’s with heavy hearts that the BFI announces that due to the scale and complexity of running a large international film festival with filmmakers set to travel to it from across the world, it has taken the very difficult decision to cancel the 2020 edition of BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival (18-29 March 2020) as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves,” the official statement reads.

“BFI Flare is a very special and long standing festival with a loyal and dedicated following and we realise that this is a very disappointing situation for audiences, our staff and Festival teams and all of the incredibly talented and passionate filmmakers involved.

“We know this decision affects individuals in different ways and we respectfully ask people to please bear with us over the next days as we work through the impacts of cancellation and also look at ways of sharing some elements of BFI Flare digitally.

“This announcement is regarding BFI Flare programmes and events only. BFI Southbank remains open and operational, unless advice from the Government and Public Health England changes.”

FAQS: The BFI Flare team answer your questions

Why has BFI Flare been cancelled?
The decision to cancel BFI Flare has been a very difficult one. The rapidly evolving situation regarding the COVID 19 pandemic, both in the UK and world-wide, has made operating an international festival of this scale, with a number of international guests and filmmakers and a series of major events and screenings, very difficult. We are all very disappointed but believe this is the right decision for audiences, staff, guests and filmmakers.

Why so late?
We were hoping that we could continue with Flare as planned but the situation in regard to COVID19 has escalated rapidly and we have been reviewing this on a daily basis. We now feel that, despite this being short notice, this is the right decision in such an unprecedented situation.

Will you hold BFI Flare at a later date?
BFI Flare is held exclusively at BFI Southbank and as we have a scheduled public programme for many months beyond BFI Flare this will make rescheduling impossible. The festival is also programmed around individual film’s releases and schedules factored in which would mean that the programme may have to change to accommodate this (ie some films are due for theatrical release soon after the festival). We will continue to work hard to ensure Flare customers have access to the best LGBTIQ+ content in our year round programme.

For more information, please click here. DIVA send their love to the Flare team.

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