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.

Founded in 1987 and one of the UK's leading film events, Leeds International Film Festival is renowned as a dynamic event with a reputation for challenging and innovative programming.

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.

See the highlights video from LIFF 2018:

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, Director of God's Own Country

'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, Festival Director, Uppsala International Short Film Festival

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

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

'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

'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

LIFF programme sections (full details of the LIFF 2018 film selection are 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 major platform for new and established short filmmakers to showcase their work. These are the LIFF short film competition winners from 2018:

• Louis le Prince International Short Film Competition – cash prize $1270: Schoolyard Blues by Maria Eriksson (Sweden)
• World Animation Competition – cash prize $1270: Raymonde or the vertical escape by Sarah van der Boom (France)
• British Short Film Competition – cash prize $1270: Night Out by Amelia Hashemi (UK)
• Yorkshire Short Film Competition – cash prize $640: Life in Miniature by Ellen Evans (UK)
• Leeds International Screendance Competition – cash prize $640: Afterword by Boris Seewald (Germany)
• Leeds International Queer Short Film Competition - cash prize $640: Something Said by Jay Bernard (UK)
• Leeds International Music Video Competition: Half a Million - The Shins by LAMAR + NIK (USA)
• Leeds Short Film Audience Award: Time Traveller by Steve Kenny (Ireland)

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 three short film competitions:

• The Dark Owls International Fantasy Short Film Competition
• Dead Shorts Audience Award
• Sci-Fi Shorts Audience Award

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.

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 ($1270 winner prize)
• World Animation Competition ($1270winner prize)
• British Short Film Competition ($640 winner prize)
• Yorkshire Short Film Competition ($640 winner prize)
• Leeds International Screendance Competition ($640 winner prize)
• Leeds International Queer Short Film Competition ($640 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

Please note 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. Choose the category that is most suitable for your film origin, type or genre.

• All Films must be submitted to the Film Festival by 9th August 2019.

• 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 2018 will be considered for the competitive sections.

• 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 and Queer Short Film Competitions 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.

Overall Rating
  • It was a really pleasure to be part of this festival!!!

    Even though I wasn´t able to attend to the festival, I´m very happy to have been part of the festival with my short film HAY ALGO EN LA OSCURIDAD (SOMETHING IN THE DARKNESS).

    Thanks a lot to the director and crew of the festival for their great attention and kindness, thank you so much!

    For me as a spanish filmmaker ist´s a great opportunity to show my work outside my country, thanks!

    I hope to have the opportunity again to be in the festival in the future. See you soon LEEDS!

    All my best wishes and greetings from Spain!
    Fran Casanova

    May 2019
    Response from festival:

    Hi Fran!

    Thank you so much for your kind words, we were really happy to show 'Something In The Darkness' at LIFF2018.

    All the best!

  • Michele Fiascaris

    One of the best UK festivals, with a extensive programme of great films.
    We had our short “Rain Catcher” selected here, screening was sold out - venue was a very cool cinema with sofas in the centre of Leeds.

    March 2019
    Response from festival:

    Hi Michele,

    So glad to hear you had a fab time during LIFF2018, and even better that you screening was sold out! The short film screenings were the most popular they've ever been.

    Thank you so much!

  • We're honored to have been an official selection once again for this year's festival! So sorry we couldn't attend - we were at the Roundhouse in London during the night of the music video screening, to see animation we created for projection as part of Pixies' 30th anniversary performance of "Come on Pilgrim/It's Surfer Rosa!"

    We hope to make it to Leeds eventually... We've had festival directors contact us, saying that Leeds IFF is one of the festivals they pay attention to, so once again, thank you for including our work!

    November 2018
  • Robert Hackett

    I can't recommend this festival highly enough. My film is 04:30 long, they treated me as they would a features director - great communication, hospitality and really look after you. Screenings were superb and the quality of work is truly international - very humbling to be among those selected. Thank you LIFF.

    November 2018
    Response from festival:

    Hi Robert, it was lovely to meet you during LIFF2018. It's wonderful to hear how well you were looked after by all the LIFF Team too.

    Hope to see you again at future LIFFs!

  • Great festival! It was very nice to see my music video there. Staff also very kind and devoted. Thanks for everything!

    November 2018