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Digital Subscriptions > DIVA Magazine > March 2016 > Bfi Flare Film Festival

Bfi Flare Film Festival

Luscious: Femme Brutal

Cinema Paradiso

In 1986, the BFI Flare festival started life as a series of nine films called Gay’s Own Pictures, at London’s National Film Theatre on the south bank of the Thames. Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, Madonna was topping the charts, Jeanette Winterson had just published Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and, the year before, the US’s Samuel Goldwyn Company had released Desert Hearts, often cited as the first lesbian film where both romantic leads get a happy ending.

Thirty years on, our love affair with BFI Flare has only got better: it’s become London’s biggest showcase of queer filmmaking from around the world, attracting thousands of movie goers to see the brightest and best of the year’s LGBT films. Despite Todd Haynes’ lesbian drama Carol scooping up audiences and awards in 2015, it’s still the case that most movies released by major studios barely pass the Bechdel test, let alone feature lesbians or bisexual women. (In 2014, a survey by queer media organisation GLAAD found nine lesbian or bisexual characters in 114 new releases.)

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Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story, Carol, 12 Years A Slave) talks with refreshing openness about her work, her relationships and inadvertently coming out in our in depth interview with her. Also in this issue: BFI Flare - Our pick of this years festival. Kaitlyn Alexander. Will "the lesbian Netflix" change the face of lez and bi culture? Transgender parenting. Interactive artist and activist Maya Choudhury. What is life like for those who are queer and autistic? LGBT history in museums. DIVA's history quiz. Jacky Fleming. Why has bi-activist Charlotte Dingle befriended her school bully? Meet the couple behind lesbian card company, Slamsister designs. Travel with us to Spanish lesbian resort, Bambu or find romance in New York. Plus all the very best in life, scene, books, film, music and TV.