The BFI has announced via their website that the Flare LGBTQ+ Film Festival is canceled just days before the festival was scheduled to begin. The two-week event held in London celebrates both old and new LGBTQ+ films from all around the world, but the decision to cancel has been made amid the growing concerns over the COVID-19 virus.
The following statement was published on the BFI’s website to announce the cancellation of the long-running festival:
“It’s with heavy hearts that we announce that, because of the scale and complexity of running a large international film festival with filmmakers due to travel from across the world, the BFI has taken the very difficult decision to cancel the 2020 edition of BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves.
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.”
Anyone that had planned to go to the festival has been urged not to contact the BFI, as they have assured attendees that they will “be in touch with everyone affected as soon possible with further information.”
The festival had a slate of special events and screenings on offer, including quizzes and lectures on classic LGBTQ+ films. Films that were expected to have their galas at the event include “Cicada,” “Summerland,” and “Disclosure.”
It’s a disappointment for those who were excited about attending the event this week, however, the decision is hugely understandable given the current world events. The festival has been going since 1986 and began running under the BFI banner in 2014. It marks one of many festivals that have been canceled around the world, including the Tribeca Film Festival, and the SXSW Festival.