Bolton Film Festival returns with over 100 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" and a Creative England CE50 our previous editions have included BAFTA and OSCAR winning short films, student films, community film-makers, crowd funded films, and BFI and Creative England short 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 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."

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

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

Our juror panel is :

Producer Colin Pons (33 Features and 2 x BAFTA winner)
Maggie Ellis (Producer / Film London (FLAMIN) / Jarman Award)
Olivier award winning Theatre / TV / Film director David Thacker
Alice Ramsey (Development Producer @ BBC Writers Room)
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 +)
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
Jason Simpson & Thaleia Kavaada - Directors/Curators at Neo Artist Gallery

Supported by The Light Cinema Experience, Bolton Council, Bolton at Home, Holiday Inn, Bolton University, Neo:Gallery X 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.

Audience Award
Best International Short
Best UK Short
Best Made up North
Best Documentary
Best Comedy
Best Animation
Best Three Minute Quickie
Best LGBT short
Best Experimental
Best Sci-Fi
Best Women in Film
Best Horror
Best Dance Film
Best Music Video
Best Animation (Student)
Best Student M.A
Best Student B.A
Best College
Best Community
Best Film For Change


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 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 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 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 4th July 2019.

Terms and 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.
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 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) 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.

Overall Rating
  • 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