During October, which is LGBT History Month in the US, the British Council and partners across the US organized screenings, panel discussions and stakeholder receptions showcasing the #fiveFilms4Freedom digital campaign. #fiveFilms4Freedom is the world's first and largest digital LGBT film festival, running now for 2 years across the world. #fiveFilms4freedom is a social media campaign and partnership between the British Film Institute and the British Council to promote equality and diversity, by encouraging people around the world to watch five short films from BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival.
On October 27, 2016 #fiveFilms4Freedom came to Washington, DC. The British Council, the Scottish Government and NYU Washington, DC hosted a screening of all five films and a panel discussion with distinguished speakers on LGBTQ issues.
Leigh Gibson, Director British Council USA
Film screening: #fiveFilms4Freedom 2016 short films
Panel Discussion: Supporting young people to make sense of gender expression and sexual orientation
Moderator: Tim Naftali, Clinical Associate Professor of Public Service NYU Wagner and CNN Presidential Historian
Patrick Davies currently serves as the Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Washington, DC. A career diplomat, Davies has worked in various environments around the world, often in times of crisis or transition. He has played a pivotal role in British policy-making around the Arab Spring, Iran and its nuclear program and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, serving as Private Secretary to two Foreign Secretaries as well as Head of the Political-Military Section of the Foreign Office’s Iraq Emergency Unit in 2003. In recognition of his outstanding record of service, in 2012 Her Majesty The Queen awarded him the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Davies is a graduate of the University of Bath and enjoys tennis, singing, and hiking in his spare time.
Deena Fidas is the director of the Workplace Equality Program and leads the Corporate Equality Index survey and annual report to over 1,200 major employers, corporate public policy outreach and research on emerging workplace inclusion topics. Fidas has consulted directly with hundreds of Fortune 500 and other major businesses on the implementation of equitable policies and benefits for diverse employee populations. She works closely with company representatives to help them identify areas of potential improvement and works with their key stakeholders to effect change within their organizations, from domestic partner benefits to innovative trainings. Most recently Fidas expanded the work of the Corporate Equality programs to include global LGBT workforce best practices. In this capacity, she has conducted trainings in the US and abroad on workforce diversity and best practices for inclusion before corporate and public sector audiences.
She also leads the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s published research on the experiences of LGBT workers nationwide, including the seminal 2009 Degrees of Equality study that found over half of LGBT workers remain closeted on the job. The follow-up 2013 study, The Cost of the Closet and the Rewards of Inclusion showed that most LGBT employees (53 percent) nationwide are closeted on the job and that the reduction in employee engagement can be measured (averaging 30 percent) and improved through investments in training and leadership development.
Fidas has been featured in The Washington Post, Mexico’s Reforma, The Huffington Post and Pacifica Radio. She is a regularly quoted expert for the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune and other news outlets. Prior to joining the Human Rights Campaign in 2007, she worked in fundraising for the American Civil Liberties Union and Hillary Clinton for President, among other clients. Fidas holds a master’s degree in sociology from American University in Washington, D.C., where she also worked as a researcher for the university’s Women & Politics Institute.
With a joint appointment in History and at Wagner, Timothy Naftali is a Clinical Associate Professor of History and Public Service and co-director of NYU’s Center for the United States and the Cold War. A native of Montreal and a graduate of Yale with a doctorate in history from Harvard, Naftali writes on national security and intelligence policy, international history and presidential history. Using Soviet-era documents, he and Russian academic Aleksandr Fursenko wrote the prize-winning One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958-1964 and Khrushchev’s Cold War, the latter winning the Duke of Westminster’s Medal for Military Literature in 2007 and inclusion on Foreign Affairs’ 2014 list of the ten best books on the Cold War. As a consultant to the 9/11 Commission, Naftali wrote a history of US counterterrorism policy, published as Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism.
Naftali came to NYU Wagner after serving as the founding director of the federal Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California, where he authored the Library's nationally acclaimed exhibit on Watergate and oversaw the release of 1.3 million pages of presidential documents and nearly 700 hours of the infamous Nixon tapes. Naftali, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Slate and Foreign Affairs, is also seen regularly on television as a commentator on contemporary history. Most recently, he was featured in CNN’s The Sixties and The Seventies and in the PBS documentaries Dick Cavett’s Watergate, Dick Cavett’s Vietnam, and The Bomb.
Matt Nosanchuk is a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of State – where his work includes advancing LGBT human rights and an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center. A graduate of Stanford University and Stanford Law School, he previously served as the White House’s liaison to the American Jewish Community and as Senior Counselor at the Justice Department. He was the Civil Rights Division’s point person on LGBT issues, including the challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act and implementation of the 2009federal hate crimes law. He worked on the Obama campaign in 2008 and helped lead the campaign’s national LGBT Policy Committee. In 2013, he received the American Bar Association’s inaugural Stonewall Award in recognition for his professional contributions to advancing LGBT civil rights.
Siri Rødnes (b. Edinburgh, 1983) is a director and writer with proclivities towards genre. From apocalyptic drama in a retro future to the vivid imagination of a child’s mind, Siri’s work tends towards the fantastical, yet always endeavours to maintain and conveys thoughtful contemporary relevance.
A fusion of kitchen-sink drama, sci-fi and personal politics, her films thrive on stylised metaphor, both presenting and critiquing the world from alternative perspectives.
She is currently developing her debut feature Nine Lives with Gavin Humphries at Quark Films, co-written by Tom Basden and adapted from the science fiction short story by Ursula K. Le Guin.
Based on her short film Take Your Partners (Berlinale, TIFF Kids, BFI Flare, Seattle), Siri is also currently writing a second feature screenplay with Arpeggio Pictures, commissioned by the Scottish Film Talent Network part of the BFI’s NET.WORK.
Her recent short films also include the Creative Scotland commissioned Grimm Street (Edinburgh), for which lead actor Sarah Miele won Best Female Performance at the 2016 BAFTA Scotland New Talent Awards. Lily Graham was also nominated for her role in Take Your Partners. Also completed in 2015 was Asking For It, released online in coordination with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Siri was recently selected for BFI Flare’s 2016 LGBT Mentorship Programme where her mentor is producer Andrew MacDonald (Trainspotting, Ex-Machina, The Beach). She has a MA in Directing Fiction from the National Film & Television School, and has participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus, Edinburgh International Film Festival and Reykjavik International Film Festival Talent Labs.
She currently works between London and Scotland, and is represented by Casarotto Ramsay & Associates.
UK and Ireland
Take your Partners
In partnership with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the British Film Institute and the British Council, in 2016, five directors created five short films about contemporary LGBT life. From travelling communities to Easter bonnets to the wonderment of growing up, the five films tell a range of affecting stories about contemporary LGBT life in countries as diverse as Brazil, Ireland, Spain, the Philippines and the UK. During the month of March 2016 we made these five original LGBT films available everywhere, demonstrating and celebrating the values of human rights, promoting freedom and equality, provoking debate and promoting the rights of LGBT people around the world.
The 2016 digital campaign was highly successful. There were 1.57 million views of the films on Facebook and YouTube, with the films being viewed across 179 countries. Among the top countries in that list were countries in which LGBT rights are entirely lacking or seriously curtailed, including Russia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. The #fiveFilms4Freedom hashtag reach was 85.6 million and total web impressions were 54.9 million worldwide. The films have contributed to a growing global conversation that extends discussion about LGBT rights.