CHRISTOPHER MANNING'S 'JAMIE' taking part in #FiveFilms4Freedom

This year marks 50 years since homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK. Coinciding with this milestone the British Council and the BFI are reprising #FiveFilms4Freedom, the world’s widest-reaching LGBT online short film programme. Jamie, written and directed by London Film School student Christopher Manning, is among the five shorts selected to be released online for audiences across the globe.

Jamie is a snapshot of a shy young man who, after chatting to a guy on an app, makes the bold step to meet up with him. The 9 minute short captures the thrill and trepidation of getting to know a stranger while also exploring anxieties about accepting who you are. On the film Christopher said: “it is about the first tentative steps in the search for love, and is a portrait of a character who is on the cusp of his emotional and sexual awakening - his coming of age. We can all relate to his emotional journey."

Along with the four other selected films, Jamie will be promoted through the British Council’s global network. The line-up, which has been made available online and free of charge for audiences across the world from 16th March, builds up to a single campaign day – Tuesday 21 March – which seeks to highlight solidarity with LGBT communities in countries where freedom and equal rights are limited.

The campaign, which runs in conjunction with the BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival, has in previous years reached 140 million people in 179 countries, with the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands and Germany being among the top viewing countries.

Christopher said: "I am beyond thrilled that Jamie has been selected for this important initiative. When you make a film, you set out to tell a story, in this case the story of Jamie's quest for love, and you hope that it will resonate with audiences. To think that Jamie's story will be told around the world, particularly to people in countries who do not have the same freedoms as we enjoy in the U.K., is a great honour and far exceeds my expectations for the film. I hope that this event will send a strong, positive message of love to the broadest possible audience."

Briony Hanson, the British Council’s Director of Film, said: The #FiveFilms4Freedom initiative provides a great opportunity for directors to get a worldwide audience, and for a new audience to appreciate the stories and lives of the LGBT community. This event is about generating openness, empathy and showing solidarity with people in countries who do not have the same freedoms.”

Jane Roscoe, Director of London Film School, said: “We’re delighted that Christopher’s film is being given such a prominent platform. Jamie is a film that is so poignantly relatable, and it is wonderful that it will be given a wide and global audience. This is a great launch pad for an exciting new voice.”

The five films are available to watch online until 26th March on the British Council Arts YouTube channel and BFI Player.