The world's first moving images were shot in Leeds in 1888 by Louis le Prince. Today Leeds is a major centre for film production and exhibition. Leeds International Film Festival is one of the UK's biggest film events.

LIFF is a portal for audiences to discover the real world of film that exists beyond regular film exhibition. LIFF primarily supports outstanding new talent and established talent that has not received deserved exposure in the UK. LIFF considers narrative, documentary and animated films, in feature-length and short formats, and in multiple genres and from all countries. The full programme for LIFF30 is online at

Founded in 1987 Leeds International Film Festival is renowned as a dynamic event with a reputation for challenging and innovative programming. Last year LIFF presented a huge variety of exceptional films at over 300 screenings and events at 30 venues over 15 days.

A qualifying event for both the Academy Awards and BAFTAs, LIFF presents nine national and international competitions for short films with total cash prizes of over $5000. The annual LIFF Audience Award for best feature film was awarded to Mindhorn (Sean Foley, UK)

Press quotes about LIFF:

‘Leeds International Film Festival is a glorious celebration of world cinema, which brings a stellar blend of old and new movies to an increasingly global city. It’s expertly run, brilliantly staffed and, above all, perfectly programmed. A fantastic fortnight.’ – Subtitled Online

'Rep regulars, arthouse addicts and genre junkies are well-served alike at this free-range festival, which follows London in the calendar, but not in class.' - The Independent

‘The programme continues to prove Leeds has one of the most diverse selections on offer at any British film festival.’ – Huffington Post

“There’s something for all tastes and budgets among this festival’s lineup. Even if you’re stone broke, don’t worry: there’s a special free cinema week, too.” – The Guardian

‘Some of my favourite ever moments in the cinema have come from visits to Leeds.’ – Twitch

‘Finding an obscure film at a festival is always enjoyable, yet the particular high standard of selection at Leeds Film Festival made the entire festival played out like an habitual uncovering of hidden gems.’ – Little White Lies

“Of all the film festivals in the north of England, Leeds has more than earned its place as one of the most diverse, respected, and well-liked amongst the critics who go to assess the new films on offer, and the film-going public who love a good time at the movies."– Pop Insomniacs

‘Every city should have a film festival like Leeds.’ – Ken Loach, leading UK filmmaker

LIFF programme sections (full details on

Official Selection is the backbone of the Film Festival and the focal point for new fiction features from around the world. Premieres of exciting new talents emerging in world cinema are presented alongside an extensive panorama of new work from established directors.

LIFF provides a platform for new and established short filmmakers to showcase their work. Shorts selected for LIFF competitions are all chosen from submissions and considered by juries of film professionals. These are the LIFF short film competition winners from 2016:

• Louis le Prince International Short Film Competition – cash prize £1,000: The Silence (Farnoosh Samadi & Ali Asgar, France, Italy)
• World Animation Competition – cash prize £1,000: The Bald Future (Paul Cabon, France)
• British Short Film Competition – cash prize £1,000: Jacked (Rene Pannevis, UK)
• Yorkshire Short Film Competition – cash prize £500: Blue Grey (Zoe Kinross, UK)
• Leeds International Screendance Competition – cash prize £500: Diving Into Your Absence (Concha Vidal, Spain)
• Leeds International Music Video Competition: Elliot Moss- Pattern Repeating (HochR, Norway)
• Leeds Short Film Audience Award: Spring Jam (Ned Wenlock, New Zealand)

Fanomenon is the UK’s leading celebration of fantastic film with an extensive international programme of new and archive horror, sci-fi, fantasy and action films, featuring many special guest appearances. Fanomenon has two short film competitions (listed with 2016 winners):

• The Dark Owls International Fantasy Short Film Competition: The Man Who Caught a Mermaid (Kaitlin Tinker, Australia)
• Dead Shorts Audience Award: Death Metal (Chris McInroy, USA, 2016)

Cinema Versa is the home of documentary filmmaking in LIFF with two leading themes: 'Music on Film' and 'Underground Voices'. Screenings take place both in cinemas and unconventional venues across the city, often featuring live performances, guest interviews and debates.

LIFF has long been dedicated to celebrating film history, unearthing rarely screened classics from the archive and importing rare film prints from around the world. In 2016 LIFF presented a Soundtrack Season.

Awards & Prizes

LIFF is a qualifying film festival for the Academy Awards and the BAFTAs. The winning shorts in LIFF's Louis Le Prince International Short Film Competition and World Animation Competition are eligible for the Academy’s Short Film Awards. British shorts selected for LIFF may be considered for nomination for the BAFTA Short Film Awards.

LIFF awards for shorts and features:
• Louis Le Prince International Short Film Competition (£1,000 winner prize)
• World Animation Competition (£1,000 winner prize)
• British Short Film Competition (£1,000 winner prize)
• Yorkshire Short Film Competition (£500 winner prize)
• Leeds International Screendance Competition (£500 winner prize)
• Leeds International Music Video Competition
• Leeds Short Film Audience Award
• Leeds Audience Award for Best Fiction Feature
• Leeds Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
• Dark Owl International Fantasy Short Film Audience Award
• Dead Short Audience Award

Rules & Terms

• All Films must be submitted to the Film Festival by 28th July 2017.
• If you have more than one film to submit, you may be entitled to fee discounts for multiple entries - please email for more details.
• Only films completed after 1st January 2016 will be considered for the competitive sections. LIFF also considers archive film programming and older films for non-competitive sections, which can be submitted in the same way as new ones.
• Any genre and any length of film will be considered – anything under 45 minutes is classified as a short, anything over 45 minutes is classified as a feature. Maximum film length for the Screendance Competition is 15 minutes

Premiere Policy:
• For feature-length films, though we do not insist on a premiere, we may not consider films that have some circulation in the UK already - for example, if they have toured other UK film festivals. Please contact the Film Festival office if you would like clarification on your film if it has already screened or is going to be screened in the UK.
• For short films, we do not have a premiere policy.

2 Reviews

Overall Rating
  • false
    Thomas Lallier

    A great festival run by true cinema lovers.

    January 2017
  • false
    Lu Pulici

    First class festival. Well done!

    November 2016