The digital-only programme, supported by UNISON North West LGBT+ Group, will launch at 5pm on Friday 22nd May.
Film with Pride, part of LCR Pride Foundation’s year-round programme of social and cultural events, will launch a season of free online screenings this Friday 22nd May, starting with two short films, The Love Letter written by Jade Winters and directed by Nathan Hannawin, and Hey Google directed by Leon Lopez.
Films in the online programme will be curated under the organisation’s 2020/21 theme ‘Young at Heart’, which focuses on health and wellbeing and promotes the right for LGBT+ people to enjoy a happy, healthy and carefree life, regardless of age, ability or how they identify.
Film with Pride’s screenings of the very best local, national and international LGBT+ films, which are shown monthly at Picturehouse at FACT, were cancelled in March following the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent UK-wide lockdown.
Since then its team has been working closely with partners and LGBT+ directors, filmmakers and creators to compile a season of films and shorts to be screened for free online, with the support of UNISON North West LGBT+. The first two films have been selected from entries submitted for the Film With Pride ‘Best of British LGBT+ Short Film’ competition.
Set in 2018, The Love Letter is a short film focused on an unopened love letter from 1945 that ends up in the hands of a young couple, Phoebe (Natalie Gayle) and Faith (Ella McCready). They make it their mission to deliver it to its originally intended recipient, Belle (Olivette Cole-Wilson).
Director, Nathan Hannawin, said: “The Love Letter is a fantastic journey between two couples young and old, and the cornerstone between them both is love. Faith, Phoebe and Isaiah’s story reunites a wavering relationship as they put together the pieces of the puzzle when tracking down the correct recipient of the letter.
“It’s difficult to imagine quite how the characters of Belle and Hannah would be feeling after all their years apart, and the life they would have led whilst separated from each other. We all know the term ‘the one who got away’ but given the moment, given the opportunity to reunify this, I think anyone would take the chance with open arms.”
Hey Google is a short film dealing with issues surrounding isolation, lockdown and loneliness, written, filmed and edited while under the current UK shutdown. Actor and Director, Leon Lopez, also known for his TV roles in Brookside and Eastenders, recently moved to Leeds to become a director for TV soap Emmerdale. He was just about to start recording his second block of episodes when the Covid-19 lockdown started and filming was shut down.
After ‘virtually’ directing and editing two films as part of a collaborative project, Leon was inspired to write his own story, based on personal events and things that he had heard and read relating to COVID-19. In the film Leon’s friend Saeed Farhat plays the lead role of Nader, Terry George cameos as a News Reporter, while Leon returns to his acting roots, taking a voice role in the film.
The entire project was written, filmed and edited in less than seven days. Leon said: “COVID-19 has been a testing experience, but it has inspired and pushed me as a filmmaker to demonstrate just what you can achieve with little resources in a short space of time during unexpected circumstances. The film brought out so many emotions and resonates with so many people who have seen it.”
Film with Pride programmer and lead volunteer, Joan Burnett, said: “The Love Letter and Hey Google are two fantastic examples of the brilliant British made LGBT+ short films that are out there. Short films are like an intense distillation of the action that a feature might include, like a shot instead of a drink served ‘long’. They will go out on Friday 22nd May and start our online season with style, with films from the world over to follow in the weeks to come.
“We have always sought to provide a platform for LGBT+ directors, actors and creators and to showcase the very best of both established and upcoming LGBT+ cinema. It was important for us to find a way to continue to do this despite the challenging climate and we are sure that this programme will not disappoint.”
Information on upcoming films and how to watch them will be shared on the Film with Pride website and across LCR Pride Foundation’s social channels.