Now in its 26th year and still going strong after last year’s budgetary cut challenges, the BFI Lesbian and Gay Film Festival has programmed a plethora of exciting films and timely events for the end of March. Amongst the riches on offer, here are a few to look out for:

Opening film Cloudburst, a warm-hearted comedy directed by festival regular Thom Fitzgerald, starring Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker as long-term lesbian lovers forced into drastic action under the threat of enforced separation.

The two Centre Piece Galas: Circumstance, Maryam Keshavarz’s coming of age film about lesbian desire in Iran (shot in Lebanon), and Absent, a unnerving thriller about with the growing obsession of a 16-year old student for his sports teacher.

The Perfect Family, starring Kathleen Turner as a woman nominated for Catholic Woman of the Year, and trying to impress the Bishop while her son’s marriage is breaking up, and her daughter reveals she’s a lesbian.

Also showing are Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth, Pratibha Parmar’s documentary about the ground-breaking Pulitzer prize-winning author, Wish Me Away, country star Chely Wright’s very personal account of coming out, and Vito, Jeffrey Schwarz’s portrait of civil rights activist, critic and historian Vito Russo.

And to accompany Vito, a handful of films from his seminal Celluloid Closest: Queen Christina, Morocco, Spartacus and Suddenly, Last Summer.

The festival runs from the 23rd March to the 1st April.