Four must-see LGBTIQ + film festivals in Europe

Much of Europe is very welcoming to LGBTIQ + tourists, with vibrant nightlife scenes and a plethora of cultural events geared towards the LGBTIQ + community. These not only include pride celebrations, but also tours, exhibitions and film festivals. So if you are an LGBTIQ + movie fan, here are four of the best festivals on the continent to plan your trip.

FIRE !!, Barcelona, ​​Spain

Proudly declaring that they have spent “25 years burning the cupboards”, Barcelona FIRE !! was the very first LGBTIQ + film festival in Spain.

It takes place over a two-week period each summer, playing a mix of feature films, short films and documentaries that address diversity and freedom. The event also awards festival and audience awards which are voted on by viewers in each of these three categories.

FIRE!! is dedicated to supporting local LGBTIQ + film production, organizing a number of activities and services for industry professionals. It’s no surprise that Barcelona hosts such a proactive festival, given its vibrant LGBTIQ + scene.

After the screenings, visitors can head to the Eixample district affectionately known as “Gaixample” to find a fantastic variety of gay and lesbian bars, restaurants and clubs. You can also go there during the summer to take part in the lively Barcelona Pride festivities, which last for a whole week.

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BFI Flare, London, United Kingdom

The BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ + Film Festival began in 1986 and is the oldest queer film event in the UK.

Managed by the British Film Institute, it is also now the largest event of its kind in the country and showcases a wide range of contemporary queer films from around the world. In addition to feature films, the festival also includes a wide variety of short films, as well as special events such as in-depth interviews and conversations about LGBTIQ + cinema with key industry figures, not to mention quizzes in the films. pubs and party nights.

Besides the festival, London is also one of the best LGBTIQ + destinations in the world. While Soho remains the city’s premier neighborhood for queer venues, these days there are clubs and pubs all over the capital that regularly host LGBTIQ + parties.

Meanwhile, June’s Pride in London features an entire month of events, parades, protests and parties. If you have the time, it’s also worth taking a day trip to Brighton, a seaside town considered by many to be the LGBTIQ + capital of the UK.

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Queer Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal

The only LGBTIQ + film festival in Portugal and the oldest film festival in Lisbon, Queer Lisboa shows a wide range of films which organizers say encompass a broader concept of ‘queer’.

The intention is to understand the foundations of a queer aesthetic, and the festival showcases works that see the world through a queer perspective. Held in September, it features productions from around the world, often focusing on showing lesser-known films to a wider audience. The screenings are organized around a series of competitions, in addition to special programs that focus on a particular theme or sub-genre of queer cinema.

Various performances, exhibitions and conferences are also organized throughout the event. Meanwhile, the city itself is full of gay and lesbian bars and clubs to explore, especially around the Príncipe Real and Bairro Alto neighborhoods. The Arraial Lisboa Pride in June is the other major LGBTIQ + event in the city. Come if you come earlier in the year.

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Hamburg International Queer Film Festival, Hamburg, Germany

Germany’s oldest and largest queer film festival, the Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage is held every October in Hamburg.

It started in 1989 and now attracts over 15,000 visitors to its screenings and associated events across the city. The festival aims to show films that tell compelling stories while tackling a range of relevant topics, all with the aim of promoting discussion and diversity. In addition to the films shown, there are a number of workshops, presentations and of course, parties to attend.

Outside of the festival itself, Hamburg has a lot to offer queer travelers. The St. Georg neighborhood is home to the city’s LGBTIQ + scene, with many gay bars and other venues proudly displaying the rainbow flag. St Pauli is another great area to visit during your trip.


COVID-19 Tips

Please note that there are currently travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19. There are plenty of film festivals and other events going on virtually this year, so check out the websites for more. Depending on the country you are visiting, hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions may be closed. Always check government advice before making reservations.

About Victoria Rothstein

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