#fiveFilms4freedom brings global LGBTQ images to NYC and West Hollywood


This Thursday evening October 20, at West Hollywood’s London Hotel, British LGBTQ advocate and actor-comedian Stephen Fry will be joined on a panel by director Bryan Singer, GLAAD’s Ray Bradford, Director of Programs, Entertainment Media, and Siri Rødnes, director of Take Your Partners, one of the FiveFilms4Freedom being screened in celebration of LGBTQ History Month.

This will follow the previous evening’s NYC screening featuring a panel that includes GLAAD's Ross Murray, Director of Programs, Global and US South, Jessica Stern, the Executive Director of OutRight Action International, Jon Hurst, the Director of LGBTQ Student Center, NYU, and director Siri Rødnes .

FiveFilms4Freedom is the screen debut of a highly successful digital LGBTQ film festival pioneered by the British Council and the British Film Institute, showcasing real, lived experiences of LGBTQ persons from Brazil, Ireland, Spain, Philippines, and the UK through art and social media.

Stephen FryStephen Fry shares:

“The films have contributed to a growing global conversation about LGBT rights at a critical time. I am proud to lend my voice to the millions of LGBT people around the globe who have been bullied into silence.”


The digital aspect of this film festival makes it possible for people all over the world to view them in safety, and helps to expand the message of acceptance for LGBTQ people all over the world.

Filmmaker Siri Rødnes notes:

“Positive LGBT visibility in the arts and media is immensely important as it contributes so heavily to everyday culture. Working with BFI Flare and the British Council on FiveFilms4Freedom has put our film in the spotlight and continues to extend our reach and message across the globe and beyond our wildest expectations. Love is a human right and we are proud to be a part of this ongoing campaign.”

Chris O’Connor, the British Consul General for Los Angeles, will open the panel discussion and outline how the UK continues to champion LGBTQ rights here in the US and abroad. For example, the British government was the first foreign government to march in Pride parades across the US.


FiveFilms4Freedom works to bring LGBTQ representation to countries in which LGBTQ rights are limited or completely nonexistent.  In many countries like Russia or Uganda, LGBTQ human rights are under attack, and presenting a gay or trans-themed film festival, for example, would be nearly impossible.  In Russia, same-sex couples are not granted any of the legal protections that opposite sex couples are.  In Iraq, being LGBTQ has been decriminalized; but with the rise of ISIS, these individuals are being attacked.  In Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, being LGBTQ is punishable by death.  However, these countries whose governments are anti-LGBTQ were among the countries with the most views of the films!

GLAAD Global VoicesGLAAD's Global Voices initiative aims to build LGBTQ acceptance across the globe by sharing stories of LGBTQ people and their families around the world, and helping advocates build capacity for change in their own cities and countries.  GLAAD’s support of FiveFilms4Freedom amplifies LGBTQ voices around the world and takes another step in accelerating acceptance of all people for who they are and who they love.

This year, the festival includes the films Breathe, directed by James Doherty of the UK and Ireland, Swirl, directed by Peterson Varga of the Philippines, The Orchid, directed by Ferran Navarro-Beltran of Spain, Take Your Partners, directed by Siri Rodnes of Scotland, and Xavier, directed by Ricky Mastro of Brazil. Since the films were released on Facebook and YouTube in March, there have been 1.57 million views of the films in 179 countries on Facebook and YouTube.

Using the hash tag #FiveFilms4Freedom, the digital festival has spurred a growing global conversation, with an online reach of 85.6 million and total web impressions of 54.9 million worldwide.  You can join the 1.5 million who have seen the #FiveFilms4Freedom by watching online at:  www.britishcouncil.us/programmes/arts/fivefilms4freedom2016-US-tour 

The film festival takes place the day before Spirit Day, the largest and most visible campaign in the world working to advance acceptance of LGBTQ youth.

About Spirit Day

Spirit Day BannerEach year, this year landing on Thursday October 20, millions of people "go purple" for Spirit Day in a united stand against bullying and to show support for LGBTQ youth. According to a 2015 GLSEN survey, more than half of LGBTQ students report being victimized based on sexual orientation, with a further three quarters of students who report hearing anti-LGBTQ remarks in school. Started in 2010 by high school student Brittany McMillan, Spirit Day now draws the participation of celebrities, corporations, media outlets, sports leagues, schools, faith institutions, national landmarks, and individuals around the world, who join together in a united stand against bullying. 

Check out glaad.org/spiritday for more about how to stand against bullying and show support for LGBTQ youth. Also follow @GLAAD on Twitter to keep up to date with #spiritday news.