Back to 2018


#FiveFilms4Freedom breaks records again

  • #FiveFilms4Freedom at the Tower of London

#FiveFilms4Freedom projected on the side of the Tower of London

5th July 2018

We made Five short films with LGBTQ+ themes available to watch online for free across the globe earlier this year – and more than 6 million people took the time to watch.

From 21 March-1 April 2018, #FiveFilms4Freedom – a global, digital short film celebration in support of LGBTQ+ rights – returned for a fourth edition, coinciding with BFI Flare: London LGBTQ+ Film Festival. Working in partnership with BFI Flare, British Council made five LGBTQ+ themed short films available for the world to watch online for free for a 12-day period.

Campaign day
On Monday 26 March, a coordinated effort from British Council’s global network of over 100 countries encouraged people to watch at least one of the films in solidarity with LGBTQ+ communities in places where freedom and equal rights are limited. The campaign asked audiences to share the films using the hashtag #FiveFilms4Freedom in recognition of the fact that Love is a Human Right.

Westminster reception
Campaign day was marked with a high profile reception at the Houses of Parliament, hosted by Chris Bryant MP, with an audience of 80 industry, press and parliamentary members, including selected international guests in London to attend BFI Flare.

Chris Bryant MP at the #FiveFilms4Freedom Westminster reception

Tower of London projection
On Sunday 20 March, British Council teamed up with BFI Flare and the UK Government’s GREAT campaign to launch #FiveFilms4Freedom with a spectacular projection on the Tower of London with filmmakers from four of the films in attendance - the first time LGBTQ+ themed content has been projected on to the Tower.

Schools Online Resource Pack
As part of the campaign we created an education pack around LGBTQ+ rights aimed at 14-18 year olds. We identified two ‘school-friendly’ films that teachers and students could use as part of their discussions and lesson plans.

People got involved!
Audiences engaged with #FiveFilms4Freedom in a variety of ways – through online reviews of the films, tweets and live screenings around the world (including event screenings in all nine British Council India centres, outdoor screenings of all five films in public spaces from Romania to Lebanon, and a range of FCO missions - Embassies and Consulates which represent the UK abroad - joining forces with British Council colleagues to invite partners to celebrate the screenings).

In its most successful edition yet, #FiveFilms4Freedom achieved:

  • 6.3 million individual views
  • Views in 152 countries
  • Profile on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and BFI Player, as well as selected international platforms including WeChat and Tencent in China and JioCinema across India.
  • A hashtag reach of 46.1 million:
    26.8 million across Twitter
    17.8 million across Facebook
    1.5 million across Instagram, blogs and online news outlets

The films
The line-up of films, which showcased work by emerging filmmakers from across the world, was selected from BFI Flare’s programme.

Six translations were prepared of each film, into simplified Chinese, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Latin American Spanish and Russian, in order to reach and connect with as wide an audience as possible. These were made available via our social media platforms.

Four filmmakers were able to travel to London to meet UK audiences and take part in #FiveFilms4Freedom activities and we filmed interviews with all five filmmakers to provide insight into the making of their films. These interviews alone garnered over 20,000 views on British Council Arts’ YouTube channel.

The films were:

Goddess (India)
Dir. Karishma Dev Dube
Feisty teenager Tara goes against family and tradition by pursuing her attraction to housemaid Devi. When they are caught together at a dinner party, Tara must suddenly define who she really is.
Watch an interview with director Karishma Dev Dube

Goldfish (Greece)
Dir. Yorgos Angelopoulos
Stratis’s seventh birthday turns sour when he reveals to his father that he has named his new goldfish after Tom Daley.
Watch an interview with director Yorgos Angelopoulos

Handsome & Majestic (Canada)
Dir. Jeff Lee Petry and Nathan Drillot
In the face of discrimination from his peers and teachers at school, a young trans boy from the rural city of Prince George in British Columbia becomes a role model and advocate for trans people in his small community and beyond.
Watch an interview with directors Jeff Lee Petry and Nathan Drillot

Landline (UK)
Dir. Matt Houghton 
A short documentary about the only helpline in the UK for gay farmers. Through recorded telephone conversations and reconstructed visuals, the film uses the helpline as a lens through which to view the often isolated experiences of LGBTQ+ people in the British farming community.
Watch an interview with director Matt Houghton

Uninvited (South Korea)
Dir. Seung Yeob Lee 
When Jungho’s mother visits his new place unannounced, he must hurriedly hide all traces of his live-in boyfriend.
Watch an interview with director Seung Yeob Lee

We'll be back with #FiveFilms4Freedom in Spring 2019.

Find out more about #FiveFilms4Freedom