Bolton Film Festival returns to the Light Cinema for three days of short film, industry talks, masterclasses, networking and after parties. Over 100+ short films in five venues across the town.

We're seeking out innovative and groundbreaking short films from independent film-makers. Whether it’s drama, documentary, animation, comedy 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.

OSCAR winning director Chris Overton of "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."

VOTED A "TOP 100" FESTIVAL IN 2017 & 2018

Our juror panel is :

Producer Colin Pons (33 Features and 2 x Short Film BAFTA winner)
Maggie Ellis (Producer / Film London (FLAMIN) / Jarman Award)
Olivier award winning Theatre / TV / Film director David Thacker
Mike Todd (Producer / Northern Docs / Riverhorse Films)
Rob Speranza (Producer / Manager @SYFN / Programmer @ASFFest)
D J Clark Multi Media Journalist (National Geographic, Asian News)
Chris Lunt 2 x BAFTA nominated writer ("PREY", BBC, ITV, Canal +)
BAFTA nominated screenwriter Anita Pandolfo
Liza Ryan Carter (Documentary Editor, "Of Time and the City")
Animator Bridget Appleby BAFTA winner (RTS Juror/Cosgrove Hall)
Animator David Brown (TT Games)
Animator Jon Turner (Kilogramme)
Animator Meryl Edge (Cosgrove Hall, Danger Mouse, Duckula, BFG)
Animator Sarah Anne Kennedy (UCLAN Course Leader in Animation)
Actor/Associate Producer Julie Foy (OSCAR Winner)
Actor Gerard Kearns (Shameless, Last Kingdom, Looking for Eric)
Actor Ian McKee ("Kingsman - The Golden Circle", "Car Share")
Actor George Newton (This is England)
Music video director Ben Thornley of Sitcom Soldiers
Music composers GAS Music (Umbro, BBC, Dock 10)
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, ProMotion Hire 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.

The award categories will be:

Grand Jury Prize
Best International Short
Best UK Short Feature
Best North West Short
Best Documentary
Best Comedy
Best Animation
Best LGBT
Best Experimental/Artist Moving Image
Best Horror
Best Dance
Best Music
Best Film For Change
Best Cinematography
Best Performance
Best Score
Best Animation (Student)
Best International Student (M.A /Post Graduate)
Best UK Student (B.A / Under Graduate)
Best UK Student (Sixth Form / College)
Best Community or Charity Short

Terms:

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

2.) All entries must have been completed between 3rd July 2017 and 3rd July 2019

3. Digital marketing materials should be made available to be used for our marketing purposes by 3rd July 2019

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 are interested in screening your work to the widest audience not keeping it just for ourselves. You can also enter work that is available online we regularly re-contextualise internet sensations by screening them in a festival setting (however we would suggest you get some mileage from your film before putting it online as many film festivals don't share our viewpoint).

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/demonstrated 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 1st - 3rd October 2019. There will be no prior notification of winners.

11.) If you are entering work that contains music into any category at Bolton Film Festival and you are represented by PRS / MCPS or any other similar royalties / licencing organisations then you must notify us. 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 Judging Panel.

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

14.) The deadline for entries shall be midnight GMT 4th July 2019.

Terms and Conditions

To be considered for the "North West" categories the filmmaker should reside within the following county borders : Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire, Cumbria.
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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.

To be considered for the "International" category film-makers must reside outside of the UK.

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 2019 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 2019 festival, and for other non-commercial uses related to the promotion of the 2019 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. Minimum 1920x1080 digital file (PAL) Quicktime, MP4, AVI, H264
2) Backup Blu-Ray ( preferred ) or DVD (if requested).

If the filmmaker does not comply with the deadline to receive the film, the film can be pulled from the festival lineup.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Aaron Dunleavy

    Absolute top class film festival up there with some of the best I’ve ever been to. The team go above and beyond to look after the filmmakers. Highly recommended, excellent programming and very friendly!

    October 2018
  • Tessa Hoffe

    Fantastic Festival, super supportive of filmmakers. Great communication and the first festival which has contributed to childcare costs so I could not only attend my screening on opening night but also so I could speak specifically about my film and my career as a part of their programme. I see this festival going from strength to strength each year.

    October 2018
  • We are always thrilled to see a young festival blossom so soon into something that is strong out of the starting blocks. We had several clients screen at the festival this year as well as being guest speakers ourselves (nice comfy sofas!). The quality is excellent as well as the welcome nature of the festival. Our clients behind the wonderfully zany OUIJA SEX won best comedy, and we'll leave them to say a few words...

    Leander Thom (Writer) // "Great selection of films, shown on top quality screens. The festival team REALLY look after Filmmakers & the social side of things is fantastic! I've only got 2 thumbs, but I'm giving Bolton 5 of them."

    Mondo Ghulam (Director) // "5 stars, and here’s why. Only in its second year, the festival is imbued with the passion and enthusiasm of its founders. These are people who love film, filmmakers and other film-goers and it showed in every screening. A great opportunity to meet other film-makers at all stages in the game and a wonderful experience if your film is screening there."

    October 2018
  • Judith Chan

    Great festival, good energy, great communication and Adrian is a lovely dude!! Fantastic selection of films that were well programmed. Get on down!!

    October 2018
  • Hansel Rodrigues

    Didn't get to go unfortunately due to work commitments but the communication and feedback were wonderful!

    October 2018