The West Lothian Film Festival was born from the dreams of its founder, Christopher McPhillips. Inspired by an impactful marketing module during his West Lothian College days, He harboured an unwavering passion to transform the fictional “Lodainn an Iar Film Festival” into a tangible reality as the “West Lothian Film Festival”. This festival embodies his commitment to bridging the gap between truly aspiring filmmakers and the enthusiastic audiences in West Lothian who are motivated and welcome a new cultural experience to look forward to on an annual basis.
Jonathan Nolan said "The secret to all drama, film, TV, or books - the thing that people respond to most, and the thing I find myself as a viewer feeling most interested in, is the idea of change."
This captures exactly what the West Lothian Film Festival is all about. We are a vibrant celebration of emerging film and TV talent rooted in the heart of West Lothian. We provide an engaging platform for up-and-coming filmmakers and creatives with a connection to not only West Lothian, but Midlothian, and East Lothian, as they embark on the early stages of their careers. And as such, change their respective futures.
The West Lothian Film Festival offers a cinematic experience to be remembered, bringing drama, creativity, and local connections together. It serves as a rallying point for filmmakers and residents alike, a celebration of the power that silver screen storytelling has to inspire and unite. Join us from July 19th to 21st in Bathgate and Livingston for a landmark event that will leave its mark on West Lothian's cultural landscape, not just in 2024, but for years to come.
Centred around the Drama genre in film and TV, this first-of-its-kind cinematic event is underpinned by two fundamental objectives:
- Filmmaker Engagement: The festival endeavours to attract filmmakers with affiliations to West Lothian, spanning the geographical expanse of West Lothian, Midlothian, and East Lothian.
- Audience Attraction: Primarily targeting residents of West Lothian (but would also welcome those who are keen to travel from further afield, the festival aims to resonate with individuals who share a passion for film and TV.
By its exclusive thematic focus on Drama, the film festival will serve as a pivotal platform for aspiring filmmakers to showcase their creative endeavours. Implicit in this initiative is the aspiration to cultivate a growing film community within the county. Moreover, the festival's emphasis on local affiliations will render it a homecoming for filmmakers while concurrently extending an open invitation to local residents, thereby encouraging them to partake in the film festival.
This festival and awards event stands as the first-ever film festival of its kind in West Lothian, marking a significant milestone in the region's culturally rich landscape. The festival's allure lies in its thematic focus on Drama and its diverse award categories, creating ample opportunities for filmmakers to exhibit their works.
Notably, the Reconnect Theatres Adaptation Award, an honour exclusively judged and presented by the Award-Winning Theatre Writer and Director Pete Sneddon, promises to add an extra layer of excitement. A further special recognition award, the Best of Festival Award coined the Matthew Farnham Award, will be exclusively judged and presented by the marketing lecturer Matthew Farnham of West Lothian College, who sparked the inspiration several years ago, elevating the festival's appeal.
3 Day Festival
Dates: 19-21 July 2024
Locations: Reconnect Regal Theatre, 24 - 34 North Bridge Street, Bathgate, West Lothian, EH48 4PS
Schedule/Programme: Friday 19th - 10am to 6pm, Saturday 20th - 10am to 6pm, Sunday - 10am to 3pm
The full programme is to be confirmed via our social media channels and the official website.
Award Ceremony 21 July 2024
Location: Howden Park Centre, Howden, Livingston, West Lothian, EH54 6AE
Dress Code: Strictly Black Tie
17:00 - 19:00 Red Carpet & Drinks Reception
19:00 - 20:00 Award Ceremony
20:00 - 20:30 Break (Food and Drink)
20:30 - 22:00 Award Ceremony continued
22:00 - 23:59 Red Carpet
*Times can change/be altered due to circumstances outwith our control
**Seats cannot be reserved at the Festival or the Awards ceremony
- Best Feature Film
- Best Short Film
- Best Student Film (short or feature)
- Best Documentary
- Best Animation
- Best TV Series Pilot or Concept
- Best Actor
- Best Actress
- Best Director
- Best First-Time Director
- Best Producer
- Best Cinematography
- Best Screenplay
- Best Soundtrack/Original Score
- Best Voiceover
- Best Makeup & Hairstyling
- Best Costume Design
- Best Gaelic Film & TV
- Special International Award of Merit
- ‘Reconnect Theatres’ Adaptation Award (Any motion picture format based on or adapted from a play)
- ‘Matthew Farnham’ Award - (Best of Festival)
1. The West Lothian Film Festival, one of the newest competitive film and TV festivals in Scotland. Championing Change through Cinema: Our mission is to unearth and showcase new, exceptional filmmaking talents while inviting audiences to embark on a transformative journey through the world of cinema.
2. The West Lothian Film Festival (WLFF) is a Scottish limited company (SC785352). WLFF's registered office is Summit House, 4 - 5 Mitchell Street, Edinburgh, EH6 7BD.
3. The 1st edition of WLFF takes place 19-21 July 2024 in West Lothian, Scotland, UK.
4. WLFF is not affiliated or partnered with any other film festival or awards.
5. With exception to the ‘Best Gaelic Film & TV’ and the ‘Special International Award of Merit’ all submissions must originate from one of the Lothians with a connection to West Lothian. This could be previously lived in the county, attended school or college, worked in West Lothian, or have a relative who lives in West Lothian. The person submitting must have five or fewer credits on IMDB and the primary genre of your submission must be Drama.
6. The primary contact completing the submission process must be authorised to submit the film* for consideration including permission from a distributor or sales agent representing the film and must have obtained necessary permissions for the inclusion of copyrighted music and/or images within the films. With this submission, the applicant confirms that they possess all rights necessary for the screening of the submitted film at this film festival.
7. All films must have been completed their post-production phase no later than after 09 October 2023. To align with IMDB, short film submissions are any film up to 60 minutes including credits and feature-length films are over 60 minutes including credits. TV Series Pilot should be no longer than 60 minutes including credits and TV Concept should be no more than 15 minutes including credits.
8. For future editions (2027 onwards), films previously submitted will be accepted for consideration for a maximum of 3 separate submissions. So if you submit a film in 2024, you can submit the exact same film in 2025 and 2026 with no major changes to the film. Should a fourth submission be sought after, please ensure that substantial structural changes have been made to the film since its third submission. If you have any questions please contact email@example.com to discuss your submission.
9. WLFF has no specific premiere status rule and accepts works that are available online.
10. Before you can submit your film you will be asked to register your contact and film details. These details will only be shared with WLFF. WLFF ensures this information will NEVER be used for anything other than direct contact with the festival or one of the festival’s submission partners and will NEVER be shared with anyone else.
11. There is a submission fee to enter your film. Films submitted by the Regular Deadline will benefit from the best value for money price, the closer to the "End Credits Deadline" date will equal a slight increase in the price.
12. The submission fee can be discounted for single entries if the applicant is a current student submitting from their registered student email address. For any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org
13. WLFF does not have the facility to apply refunds. Please ensure your film meets the eligibility criteria before submitting.
14. Should applicants invest in the time to upload multiple film projects to the FilmFreeway platform, they are eligible to submit multiple films to the WLFF. Please note that a separate entry, upload, and additional entry fee is required for each film submission.
15. For anyone wishing to submit multiple entries special discounted rates may apply but are not guaranteed. For a multiple-entry discount please contact email@example.com
16. Discounts for multiple submissions must be sought before the films have been submitted. Multiple discounts cannot be applied retrospectively after the films have already been submitted. For a multiple entry discount please contact firstname.lastname@example.org before you submit your entry.
17. WLFF accepts submissions exclusively via FilmFreeway. You can upload your film as a digital file via a secure link, once your registration details have been completed. WLFF guarantees that your film will never be used in any way other than that to which you agree and will not be available online to the public except under the restrictions outlined in paragraph 32.
18. Please ensure that your upload adheres to the specifications supplied by FilmFreeway.
19. Please submit your film digitally.
20. It is up to the applicant to ensure that the preview copy is in full working order.
21. For all enquiries please contact email@example.com.
22. With exception to the ‘Best Gaelic Film & TV’ all submissions must be in English and with exception to the ‘Best Gaelic Film & TV’ and the ‘Special International Award of Merit’ all submissions must originate from one of the Lothian’s with a connection to West Lothian. The person submitting must have five or fewer credits on IMDB (at the point of submission) and the primary genre of your submission must be Drama.
23. A film is considered eligible for the Best Gaelic Film & TV category if the original spoken language in the submission is Scots or Irish Gaelic. Dubbed or ADR Gaelic will not be considered and no refunds will be offered or granted. A film is considered eligible for the Special International Award of Merit if at least two of the following key positions - director, writer, producer - are filled by people who resident outside of the UK or Ireland. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the WLFF Director.
24. If a film is eligible for the Best Gaelic Film & TV or the Special International Award of Merit, it is the responsibility of the submitter to indicate and demonstrate this when submitting the film.
Films not in the English Language
25. With the exception of Best Gaelic Film & TV submissions and Special International Award of Merit submissions the original language must be English. If the original language of any dialogue or text featured in the film is not English, the preview and screening copy must be subtitled in English.
26. Submitted films are viewed by a non-disclosed panel. All programming selections are at the discretion of the WLFF Director, whose decision is final. Submissions that progress to Nominees will be done via a majority consensus of the judging panel. The WLFF Director at this point will have no influence over what submissions will be considered as potential winners. For clarity, the WLFF Director is not part of the judging panel.
27. WLFF will not provide comments on films prior to submission, nor reasons for rejection of a submitted film, however, we are happy to provide informal feedback on individual films 45 days after the festival has taken place. Please contact the festival on September 3rd, 2024 onwards, and no later than December 31st, 2024. Note that this is a non-binding commitment.
28. The festival will strive to confirm the receipt of submissions as they come in. All applicants will be notified via e-mail about the nominee status or rejection of their film no later than June 7th, 2024.
29. Films that are selected for festival viewings must be made available via a link that the festival or the venue staff have access to. Failure to preview an accessible link will result in a disappointed audience. It is presumed that that the links made available at the point of submission will be accessible and if the link no longer works when the submission is being considered for festival viewing and nominee for the category award this will result in the submission not being progressed. Therefore it is the responsibility of the submitter to ensure that the upload on the FilmFreeway platform works.
30. All films selected for festival viewing will be programmed at least once throughout July 19th, 20th and 21st. Films may be screened privately to the judging panel or accredited guests such as VIP’s or sponsors. Films may also be included in other public programmes, subject to the submitter’s permission.
31. There are no fees for participating in the festival competitions. Participants are not entitled to claim rental or other fees for the screenings of their films at the festival.
32. In the event of the live festival being unable to go ahead due to extreme circumstances such as the COVID-19 crisis or similar, WLFF 2024 will take place online. Films will be screened on a password-protected platform for a period of no more than 48 hours, geo-blocked to the UK for public access, but available for all accredited international industry attendees. Selected filmmakers will be informed in advance of this change, and will have the opportunity to withdraw their film from selection if they so wish. In the event of withdrawal, submission fees will not be refunded.
Video Library and Archive
33. All films selected for screening will be copied onto a local server and made accessible to accredited industry guests in our video library during the festival. The primary contact details given on the entry form will be made available to festival delegates and in the festival catalogue unless a distributor is identified.
34. WLFF may promote a range of new Scottish work submitted to the festival to international industry talent scouts, programmers, and buyers year-round via a private password-protected online hub.
35. All selected films may be stored in the festival archive and used for internal research purposes. WLFF will never publicly screen or publish online a film for which permission has not been granted.
Further Screenings - Out-of-Competition Selection and Touring Programmes
36. If selected for the festival and or as a Nominee, the submitter authorises WLFF to file their film in the festival archive, where it may be made available for further screenings or events promoted by the festival itself, solely for cultural and not for commercial purposes (unless otherwise specified on accepting an invitation to screen at the festival). The festival will always request permission and give reasonable notice before proceeding with any further screening, whether theatrical or online. The festival will never allow any third party access to the film without the submitter's permission.
37. WLFF may curate out-of-competition screenings or themed touring programmes from films that were submitted to the festival, including those that were not selected as Nominees. These programmes will be subject to a separate agreement between the festival and filmmaker. Where possible screening fees or other forms of financial reimbursement will be offered.
38. In addition to the reproduction of stills of selected films for all WLFF publications and press, selected films may also be screened as part of preview screenings to promote WLFF 2024.
39. At the point of payment on your submission you will be asked if you have read and agreed with the festival’s regulations. By agreeing to proceed with your submission you are agreeing to these regulations and your application can then be processed. Entry of a film is binding and implies acceptance of these regulations.
40. In the event of disagreement concerning the interpretation of the regulations, the interpretation of the festival will take precedence.
41. Failure to comply with these regulations may result in the submission being disqualified.
42. These regulations are subject to change without prior notice.
Delivery Instructions for Selected Films
43. Full delivery instructions will be provided on notification of selection.
44. WLFF will only cover one-way shipping costs for physical drives, which must be agreed upon prior to submission.
45. It is the responsibility of the submitter to inform the festival of any change to the onward delivery address, otherwise the festival reserves the right to return the screening copy to the contact address as specified during submission.
Attending the Festival
46. WLFF encourages all selected filmmakers to attend the festival especially if your submission progresses to an official nominee. WLFF will be open to offering filmmakers a discount to the awards on a discount basis or a two-for-one basis. The awards evening is Sunday 21st of July, 2024. Travel, accommodation, and all forms of sustenance will be the responsibility of the submitter/attendee.
* All mentions of Film may also mean, Film and TV.