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 film events, the Academy Award and BAFTA-qualifying Leeds International Film Festival primarily supports the work of new filmmakers from the UK and around the world. LIFF presents seven national and international competitions for short films with total cash prizes of over $6000.

See the highlights video from LIFF 2019:

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 Ammonite and 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

'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

LIFF programme sections:

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 2020:

Louis Le Prince International Short Film ($1300)
Winner: White Eye by Tomer Shushan (Israel)
Special Mentions: Benjamin, Benny, Ben by Paul Shkordoff (Canada) and
Good Night by Anthony Nti (Ghana)

World Animation Short Film ($1300)
Winner: Something to Remember by Niki Lindroth von Bahr (Sweden)
Special Mentions: Cosmonaut by Kaspar Jancis (Estonia) and
Empty Places by Geoffroy de Crécy (France)

British Short Film ($1300)
Winner: Our Sister (UK) by Rosie Westhoff
Special Mentions: Good Thanks You? (UK) by Molly Manning Walker and
Little Dog, Big Dog (UK) by Andrew Gillman and Natalie Ibu

Yorkshire Short Film ($660)
Winner: City Of Children (UK) by Arantxa Hernández Barthe
Special Mentions: Songs From Next Door (UK) by Phil Moody, Carolyn Edwards and Human Cockleshells (UK) by Tony O'Keeffe

Screendance Short Film ($660)
Winner: Zombies by Baloji (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Special Mention: Forest Floor by Robbie Synge (UK)

Leeds Queer Short Film Award ($660)
Winner: Bonde by Asaph Luccas (Brazil)
Special Mentions: Sylvie by Clem Hue (France) and
We Are Not Who They Say We Are by Manu Valcarce (UK)

International Music Video ($660)
Winner: Dansingas by Titas Sūdžius (Lithuania)
Special Mentions: Colors by Kristian Mercado (United States) and
Hand Solo by Sam Bailey (United Kingdom)

Fanomenon is the UK’s leading celebration of genre filmmaking with an extensive programme of new and archive features and shorts covering horror, sci-fi, fantasy, action, anime, and much more. Fanomenon includes many special events like film marathons and guest Q&As.

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 ($1300 winner prize)
• World Animation Competition ($1300 winner prize)
• British Short Film Competition ($1300 winner prize)
• Yorkshire Short Film Competition ($660 winner prize)
• Leeds International Screendance Competition ($660 winner prize)
• Leeds International Queer Short Film Competition ($660 winner prize)
• Leeds International Music Video Competition ($660 winner prize)
• Leeds Short Film Audience Award
• Leeds Audience Award for Best Fiction Feature
• Leeds Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature

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.

Due to the number of submissions, the LIFF team cannot offer feedback on individual films submitted.

Submission to LIFF is with the understanding that selection may be for any and all exhibition formats that constitute LIFF 2021, including in-cinema screenings, digital exhibition or both – subject to permission from the submitting filmmakers.

• All Films must be submitted to the Film Festival by 31st August 2021, and all submissions are final no refunds are available.

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

• 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 2020 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 20 minutes

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

Premiere Policy:

• For feature-length films, though we do not insist on a premiere.
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.

See our website for more FAQ's

Overall Rating
  • wonderful festival, with some great films.
    I feel very honoured to have had my short film shown and been part of this festival. thank you :)

    December 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Rich, it was a joy to screen Bench in the British Short Film Competition. We look forward to seeing your next film

  • carlo ballauri

    Unfortunately, the festival was only online this year, so we could not attend, but communication was great and the online platform worked very well. Thank you for having us and keep up the good work!

    December 2020
    Response from festival:

    We were very sad that Covid meant we couldn't be in the cinemas this year, but thank you so much for making our online edition so special. We hope we can welcome you to LIFF next year

  • LIFF is a fantastic festival. It was an honour to be selected for this year's Yorkshire Short Film Competition.

    December 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Vincent :) It was wonderful to include Media Intrusion in the competition.

  • Being part of Leeds Internationla Film Festival it is a fortune. To be selected in COVID times it works as a cure..)
    It was crystal clear that the Festival did its best to be present in these difficult circumstances. And it succeed in it.
    My real self didn't exactly find the way to cope with it. So, I sincerely hope that if there's a next time, i will meet you in person. Thank you for everything from the bottom of my heart.

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

    Hi Kirineos, we were delighted to include 'Take it and End It' in the International Competition, and we look forward to seeing your next film.

  • Fiona Hardingham

    We are very grateful to have been a part of LIFF 2020. With the ever changing terrain, due to the pandemic and lockdown's the festival juggled everything seamlessly with an amazing selection of films. Highly recommend this festival and of course big Thank You for picking 'Our Sister' as the winner of the British Short Film competition.

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Fiona, a huge congratulations from the LIFF Team for winning the British Short Film Competition.