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BFI marks 50th anniversary of landmark in LGBT rights

LGBT: Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins

THE BFI today announces its full programme marking the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967 from June onwards.

This includes a major two month film and TV season GROSS INDECENCY and a one month JOE ORTON season at BFI Southbank, a new online BFI Player collection LGBT BRITAIN ON FILM, a UK-wide touring programme of archive film kicking off at Pride in London, an international touring programme of classic LGBT shorts from directors including Derek Jarman, Isaac Julien and Terence Davies and a new BFI release of Stephen Frears’ and Hanif Kureishi’s groundbreaking Oscar nominated My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) on Blu-ray for the first time.

Though the ’67 Act, which saw the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England and Wales, didn’t put a stop to persecution, it was a step forward in a climate of fear and ignorance. The films and television programmes presented reveal Britain’s pioneering yet problematic relationship with on-screen homosexuality.

BFI Southbank will host a major two month film and television season from 1 July – 31 August; GROSS INDECENCY will span two decades from the late 50s, around the time of the Wolfenden Report, to the late 70s. Sheffield Doc/Fest will offer a sneak preview of the season with a Drag Double-bill capturing the UK drag scene of the late 60s, from the northern drag circuit to London’s legendary Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

Also taking place at BFI Southbank in August will be a season dedicated to the masterful JOE ORTON, a playwright and author whose work was imbued with themes of sex, death and homoeroticism, and whose life was cut brutally short when he was murdered in 1967. As part of the BFI’s ongoing Britain on Film project, there will be a new online collection of films available to view on BFI Player from 1 June; LGBT BRITAIN ON FILM will comprise more than 50 films, shorts and features, fiction and documentary, looking at LGBT life in the UK.

The BFI will also partner with the Independent Cinema Office (ICO) to present a feature length compilation of material drawn from the BFI National Archive in partnership with the Media Archive for Central England (MACE). The curated programme will launch on Tuesday 27 June as part of the Pride in London Festival before touring cinemas and community groups nationally.

The BFI will also take part in the PRIDE parade on the Saturday 8 July with a BFI Pride Bus. Hanif Kureishi and Stephen Frears’ groundbreaking Oscar®-nominated drama My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) will be presented on Blu-ray in the UK for the first time, released by the BFI on 21 August. Internationally, the BFI will partner with the British Council to present a touring programme of classic British LGBT features and shorts including films by Derek Jarman, Terrence Davies, Isaac Julien, Bill Douglas, Ron Peck and John Maybury.

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