INTRODUCTION

View the LIFF 2022 audience highlights video:

We are delighted to be accepting submissions for the 37th Leeds International Film Festival, 2 to 16 November 2023.

The world's first moving images were filmed in Leeds in 1888 by Louis le Prince. Today Leeds is a major European centre for film production and exhibition, the home of Screen Yorkshire, and the new home for the UK's leading independent TV company Channel 4. In 2023, Leeds will celebrate the city's culture in a major year-long festival.

Founded in 1987 and now one of the UK's leading annual film events, the Academy Award and BAFTA-qualifying Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF) primarily supports the work of new filmmakers from the UK and across the world, with 78 countries represented in 2022. We present seven competitions for short films with total cash prizes of £6000 and the Leeds New Directors Competition for feature films.

QUOTES ABOUT LIFF FROM FILM INDUSTRY AND PRESS

'Leeds International Film Festival has been key in the support and promotion of international filmmakers, including myself, throughout its history. The quality of films and commitment to film makers has been paramount to the success of the festival' - Francis Lee, British filmmaker and writer/director of God's Own Country and Ammonite

'I had a great time in the jury at LIFF. The general standard of the films selected was exceptional and the screenings where well curated. The festival team was very organised and friendly and took great care of the guests at the festival. I would go back any day.' - Niclas Gillberg, Director of Uppsala International Short Film Festival

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

'I loved being on the jury for the International Short Film Competition, the quality of the films was sky high, we had such a blast discussing them!' – Caroline Hollick, Head of Drama Channel 4

'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 a habitual uncovering of hidden gems.' – Little White Lies

'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

'Every city should have a film festival like Leeds.' – Ken Loach, multi-award-winning British filmmaker

LIFF 2023 PROGRAMME SECTIONS

Official Selection 2023
Official Selection is the backbone of Leeds International Film Festival and the focal point for new fiction features from around the world. In 2022 we launched the Leeds New Directors Competition to celebrate new features by first and second-time filmmakers.

Leeds Short Film Awards 2023
We love short films at LIFF and we present an extensive selection every year, with 140 chosen for all programme sections in 2022. The main focus for short films at LIFF is the Leeds Short Film Awards which includes seven competitions with cash prizes totalling £6000.

Fanomenon 2023
Fanomenon is the UK’s leading celebration of ‘fantastic’ genre filmmaking with an extensive programme of new features and shorts covering horror, sci-fi, fantasy, action, comedy, animation, and much more.

Cinema Versa 2023
Cinema Versa is the home of outstanding documentary filmmaking at LIFF. Screenings take place both in cinemas and unconventional venues across the city, often featuring live performances, guest interviews and debates.

LIFF 2023 Spotlights
Every year we focus on particular filmmaking themes, and for LIFF 2023 these will be confirmed in April. The spotlights for LIFF 2022 were: Women Creators of the Future, a focus on new films by and about African women presented in partnership with the Films Femmes Afrique festival in Senegal; Disability Futures, a focus on disability and new technology in films; and One Love from Jamaica, a celebration of Jamaican film from the past and present.

FEATURE FILMS AT LIFF 2023

The Leeds New Directors Competition in the LIFF Official Selection celebrates the work of first and second-time filmmakers. The competition is judged by a jury and winning filmmaker receives the Golden Owl Award for Best Feature. LIFF also has audience awards for all features across its programme selection.

SHORT FILMS AT LIFF 2023

LIFF is a qualifying film festival for the Academy Awards, the BAFTAs, and the British Independent Film Awards. The winning shorts in the Leeds International Short Film Competition and World Animation Competition will be considered for nomination for the Academy’s Short Film Awards. British shorts selected for any programme at LIFF will be considered for nomination for the BAFTA Short Film Awards and the British Independent Film Awards.

The following cash prizes will be awarded to the short film competition winners:

Leeds International Short Film Competition - £2000
World Animation Competition - £1000
British Short Film Competition - £1000
Yorkshire Short Film Competition - £500
Leeds Screendance Competition - £500
Leeds Queer Short Film Competition - £500
Leeds Music Video Competition - £500

LIFF 2022 COMPETITION AND AUDIENCE AWARD WINNERS

New Directors Competition (for first or second narrative features): I Have Electric Dreams, directed by Valentina Maurel (Costa Rica, Belgium, France)
Leeds International Short Film Competition 2022: The Voice Actress, directed by Anna J. Takayama (Japan)
World Animation Competition 2022: Steakhouse, directed by Špela Čadež (Slovenia, France, Germany)
British Short Film Competition 2022: The Bayview, directed by Daniel Cook (UK)
Yorkshire Short Film Competition 2022: Robin, directed by Tristan Shepherd (UK)
Leeds Screendance Competition 2022: Fragility of Language, directed by Nefeli Kentoni (Cyprus, UK)
Leeds Queer Short Film Competition 2022: Punch Line, directed by Becky Cheatle (Ireland)
Leeds Music Video Competition 2022: JNKYRD. JNKYRD ft. Ohhyuk, directed by Gyuri Cloe Lee (South Korea)

Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature: The Blue Caftan, directed by Maryam Touzani (Morocco, France, Belgium, Denmark)
Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature: A Bunch of Amateurs, directed by Kim Hopkins (UK)

1) Please note, due to the volume of entries received, we regret we cannot give individual feedback on submissions.

2) All submissions are fairly considered by a broad team of programmers and the date of entry bears no relation to the selection decision.

ELIGIBILITY

3) All Films must be submitted to LIFF by midnight on 9 August 2023, and all submissions are final, no refunds are available.

4) Only films completed after 1st January 2022 will be considered for the competitive categories.

5) You only need to submit into one category: if your film is eligible for other categories then our programmers will consider it for those also.

6) Your film may be selected to a different category than the one you submit to, however we will contact you for permission before the final selection is made.

7) If you have more than one film to submit, you may be entitled to fee discounts for multiple entries - please email leeds.film@leeds.gov.uk for more details.

8) We don't have a student short film competition but if your film school would like to submit multiple films they may be eligible for a discounted submission rate. Please email leeds.film@leeds.gov.uk

9) Any genre and any length of film will be considered – anything under 45 minutes is classified as a short, anything 40 minutes or over is classified as a feature. The maximum film length for the Screendance and Queer Short Film Competitions is 20 minutes.

10) LIFF is only able to select music videos made with the permission of the music artist whose music is featured.

11) For all submissions not in the English language, we ideally require embedded English closed captions or otherwise subtitles.

12) Work in Progress: We can accept a submission where the final sound mix is not yet complete, for example, but we would need to see a fully completed version of the film by the final deadline date of 9 August 2023.

13) Family Films: We welcome films for all ages. However, if you would like to submit a film more catered towards families and children, please visit the Leeds Young Film Festival submission page instead: filmfreeway.com/leedsyoungfilmfestival

14) We do not offer discounts for local filmmakers.

PREMIERE POLICY

15) For feature films, we prefer a UK premiere where possible. Please contact us via leeds.film@leeds.gov.uk if you would like clarification if your film has already screened or is going to be screened in the UK before LIFF 2023.

16) For short films, we do not have a premiere policy.

SELECTED FILMS

17) Should your film be selected, you will be required to provide a DCP of your film. LIFF can help in the creation of a DCP which will be supplied to the filmmaker for a charge to cover the cost of making it.

18) All films will be required to provide a subtitle track or ideally captions for hard of hearing to ensure our ongoing commitment to accessibility, though the LIFF team will be able to assist and provide facilities to help on this.

19) LIFF does not pay screening fees for submitted and accepted films, both in and out of competition.

20) Submission to LIFF is with the understanding that selection may be for any and all exhibition formats that constitute LIFF 2023, including in-cinema screenings, digital exhibition or both – subject to permission from the submitting filmmakers.

21) Films selected for LIFF without a BBFC certificate are certified for ages 18 or over, even if the content does not require it. This is because it is not possible to secure an individual certificate for every film we select from the local licensing authority. We do apply for exceptions for certain films.

22) If the fee is paid and you have completed the submission, you can relax! Follow us on social media @leedsfilmfest and @leedsshortfilm for updates. You will receive notification if your film is selected or not on 6 September 2023.

If you have any questions, please contact us via leeds.film@leeds.gov.uk

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Leeds was a wonderful festival with an incredible selection of films that we were delighted to be a part off, will definitely be submitting again with my next film.

    November 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Hi Luigi! So glad you were able to make it, and good luck with Mantis in its other festival screenings. We certainly look forward to whatever you bring us for 2023!!

  • Alison Grasso

    I'd highly recommend LIFF to just about anyone. The team working the festival was super friendly and put on an amazing slate of events with so many quality films. I especially enjoyed the British Shorts programs which offered a great diversity of impressive shorts. It was great to connect with the filmmakers in the networking events that followed as well, they were marked by great energy and accessibility. While the sheer amount of films and programs meant I only got to attend a fraction of what appealed to me, the awards event was a great opportunity to catch up on some of the stuff I missed. Every work that was honored was a true delight.

    November 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Hey Alison, your comments mean so much to us, so thank you for taking the time to post this. We certainly know the feeling of wanting to see lots during LIFF! Hope you submit any new work to us for 2023 and beyond :)

  • Sarah Beardsall

    Really enjoyed our trip to this years festival, lovely venue and great turn out for the films. For the short screenings maybe the hosts could introduce the filmmakers of the shorts who are in the screening to allow for easier networking etc, but overall a great festival.

    November 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Hi Sarah, Thank you so much, and of course we appreciate the feedback - helps make us an even better experience for everyone. Glad you had a good time with us at LIFF :)

  • Maythem Ridha

    What a great festival and a wonderful programme of films. I am very honoured that my film ALI AND HIS MIRACLE SHEEP was selected for such a prestigious festival. The team was very communicative and the organisation was excellent. A massive thank you to Alice Duggan and Nick from Cinebox and the rest of the LIFF team for their wonderful help and support.

    January 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Thanks Maythem, we were delighted to screen the film at LIFF2022

  • Krissy Mahan

    What a thrill to be included in this prestigious festival. The communication was timely and professional. Additionally, I needed some tech support to send the very best version for screening, and the team really came though. It is so important and appreciated that Leeds International Film Festival includes non-mainstream artists, and gives us the support we need to be included. That's the kind of work that separates excellent festivals committed to the creative community from 'just a place to show films."

    January 2022
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for the kind words