Bolton Film Festival returns in 2020 with 150+ short films, industry talks, masterclasses, networking and after parties across three days and five venues.

Consistently voted a "Top 100 reviewed" festival from over 8000+ film festivals and recently listed as a "Top 12 UK Indie Film Festival" by FilmDaily we are also a Creative England CE50 (and award for the 50 most exciting, innovative and disruptive creative companies across film, games and digital media in the UK). Our previous editions have included BAFTA and OSCAR winning short films, crowd funded films, student films, passion projects and BFI and Creative England funded films. Our most notable success coming from "The Silent Child" which later went on to win the Academy Award for Best Short Action film.

The OSCAR winning director Chris Overton from "The Silent Child" said "Out of all the festivals I have been to this one was definitely up there as one of my favourites. They had their own unique touches which really made the festival special. It was amazing to see our film in front of such a big audience and on such a big screen, it was HUGE. This festival has so much heart and the festival organisers are super professional and really care about the filmmakers. There passion shines through. Oh and the awards are SO nice."

We're currently seeking innovative and groundbreaking short films from independent film-makers for our next edition. Whether it’s fiction, documentary, animation, comedy, 360 or experimental/artist moving image our aim is to showcase emerging and established talent to an audience of like-minded individuals, the general public and industry experts.

VOTED A "TOP 100" FESTIVAL IN 2017, 2018 and 2019

Our juror panel is :

Producer Colin Pons (33 Features and 2 x BAFTA winner)
Maggie Ellis (Producer / Film London (FLAMIN) / Jarman Award)
David Thacker, Olivier award winning Theatre / TV / Film director
Alice Ramsey (Development Producer @ BBC Writers Room)
Stephanie Clark (Creative England)
Isabelle Croissant (Talent Developer @ HOME Manchester)
Mike Todd (Producer / Northern Docs / Riverhorse Films)
Rob Speranza (Producer/ SYFN / Programmer@Aesthetica Film Fest)
D J Clark Multi Media Journalist (National Geographic, Asian News)
Chris Lunt 2 x BAFTA nominated writer ("PREY", BBC, ITV, Canal +)
Loran Dunn (Producer at Delaval Films)
Animator Bridget Appleby BAFTA winner (& RTS Juror)
Animator Steve Boot
Animator Jon Turner (Kilogramme)
Animator Sarah Anne Kennedy (UCLAN Course Leader in Animation)
Actor/Producer Julie Foy (OSCAR Winner)
Actor Gerard Kearns (Shameless, Last Kingdom, Looking for Eric)
Actor Ian McKee ("Kingsman - The Golden Circle", "Car Share")
Music video director Ben Thornley of Sitcom Soldiers
Danilo Godoy - Brazil/Portugal - winner of Artist Film Aesthetica 2014

Supported by The Light Cinema Experience, Bolton Council, Bolton at Home, Holiday Inn, Bolton University and Bolton College

The festival will be competitive with awards presented on the night by sponsors and industry representatives from Media City and the North West.

Best International Short
Best UK Short
Best Made up North
Best Documentary
Best Comedy
Best Animation
Best Three Minute Quickie
Best LGBT short
Best VR/Immersive
Best Experimental
Best Sci-Fi
Best Women in Film
Best Horror
Best Dance Film
Best Fashion Film
Best Music Video
Best Animation (Student)
Best Student Post Graduate (M.A)
Best Student Under Graduate (B.A)
Best Community
Best Film For Change

Terms:

1.) Entries in foreign languages must come with English subtitles.

2.) All entries must have been completed between 10th June 2018 and 10th June 2020

3. Digital marketing materials should be made available to be used for our marketing purposes by 10th June 2020

4.) If you have entered your film previously please to BFF do not re-enter it.

5.) BFF has no premiere or exclusivity rule, we also consider work that is already online.

6.) Film-makers must include a brief synopsis of the film in no more than 150 words

7.) Provide at least one high resolution image (1920 x 1080 or higher) for the use of Bolton Film Festival promotional brochures or publicity. More images for print are recommended so we have a choice.

8.) All entries must obtain the appropriate copyright clearances (i.e. music, archive footage, images, etc). Failure to do so will result in the entry being disqualified from the competition.

9.) Shortlisted entries will be screened during the Festival programme.

10.) Winners will be presented with their awards during the BFF Awards Ceremony, which will take place at the festival on 29th Sept - 1st October 2020. There will be no prior notification of winners.

11.) If you are entering work that contains music into any category at Bolton Film Festival it is your responsibility to get clearance. By entering your short film to Bolton Film Festival you (or the artists who own the music and/or their representatives (such as PRS/MCPS) are waiving rights to claim royalties on the music from any monies generated by Bolton Film Festival.

12.) The selection and scheduling of all films screened at BFF is entirely at the discretion of the Festival Director and the programming team.

13.) The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

14.) The deadline for entries shall be midnight GMT 10th June 2020.

Conditions

To be considered for the "Made up North" categories the filmmaker should reside within the following county borders : Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire, Cumbria, Yorkshire.
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To be considered for the "Community Films" category the film-maker and/or the group submitting the film should be part of a registered community group, a registered community enterprise group, a non profit or a registered charity group. Evidence supporting this claim may be required on request.

I authorise Bolton Film Festival to exhibit my film if selected. I confirm that an exhibition copy will be made available in a required format for screening during the 2020 festival.

I certify that I hold all necessary rights for the submission of this film/video to Bolton Film Festival and that all rights and clearances have been made. This film is not subject to any litigation nor is threatened by any litigation.

By Agreeing to these Rules and Terms, I transfer to the Bolton Film Festival the right to use excerpts of the submitted film, its stills, and trailers, for the purposes of publicity and marketing of the film at the 2020 festival, and for other non-commercial uses related to the promotion of the 2020 festival.

I also acknowledges that the film submission fee does not guarantee acceptance and no refund will be provided if my film is not selected.

Upon acceptance, Bolton Film Festival will ask for my film:

1) DCP preferred
2) Pro Res preferred
3) Minimum 1920x1080 digital file Quicktime, MP4, AVI, H264

If the filmmaker does not comply with the deadline to receive the film, the film can be pulled from the festival lineup and replaced by another film and film-maker.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Garry Paton

    A fantastically inclusive, slick and high quality film festival. It feels like it's been running for years with a hugely supportive industry base, a great buzz and amazing quality films. Totally recommend submitting and attending Bolton Film Festival.

    October 2019
  • Andrew Muir

    You can see all the hard work that goes into every aspect of the Bolton Film Festival, from the fantastic range of talks and masterclasses, through to the high quality film screenings. The programme is packed full of choice, and you'll wish you could clone yourself so you could attend everything on offer! Well done to Adrian, Zoe and the whole team, bring on next year!

    October 2019
  • Dusan Kastelic

    Simply one of the Best Indie Film Festivals in the world! Great film selection, competent jury, great organisation and most importantly- big enthusiastic audience. I'm really honoured that my film was (finally) accepted to this festival (and even won an award!).

    October 2019
  • I only have good things to say about this festival, great and clear communication, friendly and generous staff, lots of fun events besides the screenings- winning the award for best comedy was icing on the cake!

    October 2019
  • Richard Naylor

    Fantastic festival. Highly recommend. Quality of films was also very high.

    October 2019